Bledsoe, Antetokounmpo lead Bucks over Blazers

by Kevin Nesgoda

Tonight the Blazers rolled into Milwaukee to face the Giannis Antetokounmpo without Damian Lillard and Hassan Whitside tonight. At least the Blazers now have Carmelo Anthony to slow down the offense. Anthony Tolliver and Gary Trent Jr. are taking the spots in the starting lineup for the previously mentioned injured guys.

This isn’t exactly a lineup that you think will win a playoff game. This is a lineup that might lose to the Warriors.

Oh wait, a healthy Blazers team lost to the Warriors.

As a bonus for tonight’s torture, we get to listen to Marv Albert and Chris Webber botch the call tonight.

The Bucks wasted no time in jumping on the Blazers. They hit their first seven shots and leaped out to a 17-8 lead. All five Bucks starters scored in some extremely efficient offense. I’m getting a sense that this is going going to be a long, long night for the Blazers. Eric Bledsoe and Wesley Matthews were also playing some great defense. Brook Lopez dropped a killer dunk on Tolliver too.

Anthony and CJ McCollum knock down a few threes and the Blazers go on a 10-2 run and cut the lead down to a point. I’ve also been impressed with the energy from Trent. He knocked down a three early and has been a pest on defense.

CJ is not looking to pass at all tonight. He thinks he has to go full Lillard tonight. That is not his game. He needs to work on being a facilitator tonight and get the confidence up of his teammates. For example, drive, collapse the defense and find a guy like Nassir Little for an open three. Plays like that will get the confidence up of the guys around you.

Little needs to get the confidence going. If does he’s going to a total ball of energy. So far, he has been a ball of energy after coming into the game for Carmelo.

Checking out the stats and the Blazers are last in the league in assists. That is probably the number-two reason the Blazers are 5-10 so far in the early season. That and the complete lack of effort on defense. Maybe Pau Gasol can become the new defensive coach for the team. Though, he might not be able to help the Blazers figure out how to guard the three point line.

I still think it was a big mistake that the Blazers let Pat Connaughton go. He showed a lot of promise as a rookie. He was never going to be a star, but he was destined (and has become) a solid role player. He’s the Bucks second leading scorer at the half.

If it was not for Skal Labissiere the Blazers would be in a much bigger hole than they are. The big man has not been good the last few games, but he has 14 points, five boards, and three blocks in the first half so far. He probably should have gotten the start over Tolliver tonight. He matches up better against the Bucks bigs. Moses Brown should get some run tonight too (as long as he doesn’t shoot).

CJ has taken a lot of bad shots tonight. My god, at no point should anyone drive into four defenders and try a 17-foot floater. That is not good offense. There were literally four other open players on that possession.

The Blazers gave up 72 points at the half. That is not to be unexpected with how poor this team plays defense.

CJ and Carmelo got cooking a little bit in the third quarter. Carmelo had five points and played some decent defense against Giannis in the quarter. I was in the shower this morning and thought that Stotts might try Carmelo on Giannis during some points tonight. Blazers have held Giannis to only 16 points through three quarters, he also has a triple-double, but he only has 16 points.

Connaughton was all over the place tonight. He’s such a bull shark out there.

The Blazers cut the lead to six points. CJ has 14 points in the quarter. He’s finally taking some solid shots tonight that are in the flow of the game.

Man, Nassir Little is all over the place tonight. That kid is for sure earning more and more minutes. He might be the starter at small forward next year. Sorry, Rodney Hood. That rebound he ripped away from Giannis was symbolic of him eventually ripping away that starting spot. Plus that was just a fantastic play.

Blazers bench is coming up big tonight. They keep making lots of hustle plays and then CJ comes back in hits a couple of threes and the Blazers are only down two now. I did not see this coming from the Blazers tonight. That momentum did not last long. Brook Lopez knocks down two threes from Logo Lillard land, Wesley Matthews adds another three and the lead is back to eight points. After a couple bad possessions the lead is back to 12.

Stotts brings Tolliver back into the game for some reason and then he jump passes to no one and Bledsoe gets an easy layup. Tolliver should be the next one to be waived. He gives absolutely nothing to this team.

CJ had 37 points and 10 assists, Skal 22, 12, and five blocks off the bench tonight. Carmelo added 18, Trent had 13, and Hood added 11. Giannis had 24, 15, and 19 for the Bucks, Bledsoe was their leading scorer with 30. Connaughton had 18 off the bench.

Random Thoughts

It might not be a bad idea to play Whiteside and Skal together. It’d be hard for the other time to rebound on them.

Next Up

Blazers travel to Cleveland on Saturday night to take on the Cavs. The game is at 5:00 PM.

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