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Monday, March 20, 2023

Bucks bring sizzling offense into matchup with Pelicans

Bucks bring sizzling offense into matchup with Pelicans


The Milwaukee Bucks are rolling on offense as they begin a four-game homestand with a game against the struggling New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.

The Bucks have averaged 132.7 points during their three-game winning streak. They have five wins in their past six games, and they put up at least 130 points in four of the five victories.

“I feel like we’ve got some good energy going,” Milwaukee guard Grayson Allen said. “We’re making shots, the ball is moving. We’re putting up crazy scoring numbers in some of these games because we just have that kind of good vibe of everyone hitting shots, everyone flowing in the right direction.”

Milwaukee’s most recent victory was a 141-131 triumph against the Indiana Pacers on Friday in Indianapolis.

“The ball is moving, people are knocking down shots,” said All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the Bucks with 41 points and 12 rebounds. “I feel like it was such a great energy. I don’t think there was a possession where anybody held the ball more than like two, three seconds (and) tried to go one-on-one.

“Guys (were) open, a lot of threes, we were able to attack downhill, get easy ones, and when you’re out there and there’s so many threats, it’s just hard (for the opposition). It’s hard. You gotta choose your poison.”

The Bucks opened a 33-point lead late in the first half before finishing with a season-high first-half total while taking an 85-56 halftime lead.

“We had a good rhythm and were able to just hang on in the second half,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “These road wins are pretty sweet and there were some real positive things, especially in the first half.”

Milwaukee is seeking a sweep of the two-game season series with the Pelicans after Antetokounmpo had 42 points and 10 rebounds during a 128-119 victory in New Orleans on Dec. 19.

At the time, that was New Orleans’ season-worst fourth consecutive loss. However, the Pelicans are in the midst of an even worse stretch, having dropped seven straight after a 113-103 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

The Pelicans will be without All-Star forward Zion Williamson (hamstring) for at least another two weeks. They have lost both games since second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram returned from a 29-game absence caused by an injured toe. Ingram has averaged 17.5 points but made just 12 of 40 shots (30 percent) since returning.

“Missed some shots,” Ingram said going 8-for-22 from the floor against the Wizards. “I came out aggressive in the first quarter and settled in a little bit. After that I felt like I was missing over and over again.

“I feel like myself when I am running up and down the floor. I feel confident in my movement and getting my rhythm back in the game.”

New Orleans has lost 10 of its last 12 games.

“You just have to be able to play with joy and confidence,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said, “and because of the string of losses, it’s kind of jolted us in a negative way. We’ll find it, we’ll get back to playing our style and playing with joy. Right now, like I told our team, nobody’s going to rescue you. We have to be a part of our own rescue.”

–Field Level Media


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