Midway through the first quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbled the ball at the top of the arc, eyes darting, looking for the best option to attack. That option became clear as Jusuf Nurkic backpeddled all the way below the free-throw line, daring the back-to-back MVP to shoot.
Walking into a practice jumper, Antetokounmpo swished the basket. To be truthful, the whole night felt that easy for the 26-year-old, who decimated the Blazers to finish with 47 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks on 18-for-21 from the field. The three misses all came from beyond the arc, leaving Antetokounmpo a simply absurd 18-for-18 from within the 3-point line, with a helpless Blazers defence unable to strike a blow.
Milwaukee ran away with a 127-109 win, improving to 2-1 on their six-game west coast road trip, closing to within 2.5 games of the Brooklyn Nets for the top seed in the East.
He's literally 6'11". pic.twitter.com/LqUGI72kGP- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 3, 2021
Dame vs. Jrue
The marquee matchup between Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday lived up to the billing, with the star guards going toe-to-toe in an enthralling battle on the perimeter.
Finishing with just 19 points on 2-for-7 from three last time they met, Lillard threatened to drag the Blazers to victory early in the second half, burying a series of high difficulty level triples. Overall, Lillard tallied 32 points, connecting on five of his ten attempts from long range.
Dancin' with DOLLA @GEICO | #RipCity pic.twitter.com/sOJ12zTrlY- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 3, 2021
Holiday finished with 22 points and 10 assists of his own, continuing a hot stretch for the Bucks prized offseason acqusition. Missing 10 games earlier in the season after contracting COVID-19, Holiday has hit top gear, averaging 21.8 points over his last seven games including 19-for-39 from beyond the arc (48.7 percent).
Jrueski stepback over Dame. pic.twitter.com/9yZ7GIuInA- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 3, 2021
Third quarter burst
When Lillard buried a triple at the 10:26 mark of the third quarter, the Blazers had closed the score to 63-61. By the end of the quarter Milwaukee had opened up a 97-73 lead.
Giannis blocked CJ and dunked on Nurkic....all in 10 SECONDS!! pic.twitter.com/epiaCP4YN5- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 3, 2021
When Antetokounmpo checked out of the game with 2:25 left in the quarter the Blazers must of sensed an opportunity to chip away at the deficit heading into the fourth. Instead, a 9-1 run led by four quick points to Holiday ensured the game was all but over.
Melo and the Bucks?
Carmelo Anthony has not enjoyed his time playing the Milwaukee Bucks this season.
Finishing with just six points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field, Anthony struggled to find his rhythm all night long. The performance followed up four points on 1-for-7 shooting against Milwaukee earlier in the season. Rough stuff.
Portis returns and Teague debuts
An important piece of the bench for Milwaukee this season, Bobby Portis missed the previous four games under the league's health and safety protocol. Returning to his usual role off the bench, Portis finished with six points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes.
Veteran point guard Jeff Teague was another addition to the lineup, making his Milwaukee debut after being bought out by the Orlando Magic. Starting the season in Boston, Teague was traded to the Magic at the deadline. Teague finished with two points, two assists and two blocks in 13 minutes.
Jeff Teague scores his first points as a Buck in his debut!! pic.twitter.com/D8ocdLm2Mw- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 3, 2021
The road trip continues for Milwaukee with a visit to Sacramento tomorrow, while Portland will also play a back-to-back when they host Oklahoma City.
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