Cleat Geeks

Bucks Use Clutch Three and Defense To Defeat Portland

The Milwaukee Bucks earned a gutty hard fought win over the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night at the Bradley Center as the Bucks made several clutch plays in the final minute of the game to secure the 90-88 victory. This win marked the first time the Bucks have won back to back games in a month.mason-plumlee-greg-monroe-nba-portland-trail-blazers-milwaukee-bucks1-850x560

OJ Mayo delivered a critical three pointer with under 20 seconds remaining to cut a four point Bucks deficit to one. The Bucks ran a nice play to get Mayo a pass from Kris Middleton who was inside. Mayo was able to get open enough to get the three pointer off and down with 16 seconds left.

Following a Portland time-out, the Bucks were able to use the sideline and half court line as two additional defenders plus a solid double team put on by Giannis Antetokounmpo forced a trap resulting in a jump ball call.

Michael Carter Williams won the subsequent jump ball and he ran a pick and roll play with Greg Monroe. Monroe got the ball in the paint and powered through a defenders contact to score and put the Bucks ahead by one point with 5.1 seconds remaining.

Following yet another Portland time-out, Portland attempted to dump the ball into the low post however John Henson made possibly the biggest block of his career rejecting the ball to corner. The Bucks got to the loose ball and were fouled with under a second remaining. Carter Williams hit one free throw before initially missing the second to force the clock to run and allow time to expire.John-Henson-Bucks

This is clearly the Bucks best win of the season to this point. They were down six points with a little under a minute remaining and down four with under 30 seconds remaining but they found ways to extend the game, get an extra few possessions and ultimately allow their defense and Mayo to come through for them and get the win.

While this is a satisfying win for the Bucks it was far from clean or perfect. The Bucks wasted a nine point half time with another rough third quarter. The Bucks only made four field goals in the third quarter and had a lot of turnovers in the period as well. The Trailblazers hit one of 15 three point attempts in the first half but they were able to hit seven three pointers in the second half and it played a big role in the Blazers come back. The Bucks did not hit a three pointers until the middle of the fourth quarter.

BucksFreeThrowsThe Bucks did a good job of converting their free throws in a tight game. They had a significant edge over the Blazers in free throw attempts as well as made free throws. The Bucks hit 26 of 33 free throws compared to the Blazers hitting 14 of 18. Foul and free throw differential has been a big problem area for the Bucks this season but on Monday night that differential provided the Bucks enough opportunity to come back and defeat the Blazers.

This win is a big win for the Bucks who will face a difficult schedule the remainder of the month. The Bucks will host the Clippers on Wednesday, then travel to Toronto on Friday before returning home on Saturday to face the defending NBA champion and currently undefeated Golden State Warriors. Then next week the Bucks will hit the West Coast for the first time this year. Winning back to back home games and especially winning in the fashion they did tonight should provide the young Bucks confidence that they can close out tight games.

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