Well that was emphatic.
The Milwaukee Bucks did their title defense in style and blew up the Brooklyn Nets on a night of celebration in Milwaukee.
The Bucks led most of the night in the 127-104 win, reminding the league that it won’t be all one-way traffic for the Nets in the Eastern Conference.
For Milwaukee, the night began with the ring and banner ceremony.
The long wait is over for Milwaukee
50 years is a long time.
Of course we know the Bucks are champions, but there is something final about players and staff receiving their championship rings.
Milwaukee players and staff were presented with their championship rings prior to the tip. They look … expensive !!
Championship ring 2021.
– Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 19, 2021
Smiles filled the Fiserv Forum as the presentation celebrated the franchise’s first championship since 1971.
No rust for Giannis
The move from the ring ceremony to game mode has left some teams on the line over the past few seasons, with Antetokounmpo admitting it was a challenge.
“It’s kind of difficult to balance it out. You go from this excitement, this emotional state, to prepare for a game,” Antetokounmpo said in a post-game interview.
When it was difficult it was hard to tell as Antetokounmpo crammed the pit score from the start.
The Greek freak picked up right where he left off.
32 PTS | 14 REB | 7 AST | 2 BLK | 1 STL pic.twitter.com/0xhTxmTN7E
– Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 20, 2021
The finals MVP scored 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in just 31 minutes. He knocked out a threesome and some mid-range jumpers while finishing his new streamlined routine on the 7-on-9 streak from the free throw line.
The Nets made a big splash with their starting line-up, using Nic Claxton and moving away from their tactic of starting Blake Griffin in the middle of the playoffs. Whoever they threw at Giannis in this case, it didn’t matter, because the 26-year-old looked hotter than ever in the beginning.
Injuries are on the rise in Milwaukee
It wasn’t a perfect night for Milwaukee, with Star Guard Jrue Holiday at risk of injury.
Holiday seemed to get sore on a trip to the basket in the second quarter. He would stay on the ground for a few possessions before leaving the game for good before half time.
The team announced the injury was a bruised heel, despite head coach Mike Budenholzer confirming that the post-game media availability scans had returned flawlessly.
Holiday joined Bobby Portis (thigh), Semi Ojeleye (calf), Rodney Hood (foot) and Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) on the sidelines for the opener. The depth of the bucks was tested, with 2-way players Sandro Mamukelashvili and Justin Robinson both watching game time on the opening night.
The Bucks hope Holiday can recover quickly as they leave for a meeting with Miami in two nights.
Patty sizzles in Net’s debut
The Nets may have gone under, but Patty Mills wasn’t to blame.
The Australian guard was considered one of the off-season’s most sought-after recruits, with the sharp-firing guard intended to reinforce an already terrifying offense.
Mills continuously kept Brooklyn within striking distance, finishing with 21 points in an incredible 7v7 shooting from a distance.
Hot shooting aside, Mills gave the Brooklyn offense a difference as his ability to pick up the pace and ask questions of the Milwaukee defense in transition was a nice addition.
Patty tried 7 threesomes.
Patty did 7 threesomes.
For most, that equates to setting the NBA record on a debut with a new team. pic.twitter.com/z3LjQm93EC
– Brooklyn Networks (@BrooklynNets) October 20, 2021
Networks lack help
Mills’ contributions were urgently needed in this case, with Kevin Durant and James Harden otherwise shouldering the burden of shooting on goal.
Durant finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds while Harden added 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The trio contributed 73 of Brooklyn’s 104 points. Outside of Mills, the Nets only managed four points off the bench.
The lack of help was compounded by the Bucks, with Pat Connaughton (20 points), Jordan Nwora (15) and Grayson Allen (12) contributing to Antetokounmpo’s performance.
Despite their significant injury list, the Bucks looked like the lower list that night.
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