Bucks’ Jrue Holiday equalizing offense and defense after the Celtics game
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday talks about the stat he checks most after a game and what it takes to balance his offense and defense.
Cassidy Hill, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Milwaukee Bucks (40-17), winners of 11 straight games, play the Chicago Bulls (26-32) in their last game before the 2023 All-Star break Thursday at the United Center.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m
Follow below for updates tonight.
Giannis Antetokounmpo injures right wrist against Bulls
Early in the second quarter, the Bucks star tried to recover and challenge a drive from Bulls guard Coby White, and when White missed his altered layup attempt, the pair tumbled onto the court. White landed on the floor but Antetokounmpo’s momentum carried him into the post under the basket. He raised his right hand to avoid a full collision with the object, but his hand appeared to be caught in the padding around him. He immediately grabbed his hand in obvious pain but got up and stayed in play to end possession.
He bent his hand further and was substituted. He briefly met with senior athletic trainer Scott Faust on the Bucks bench and pointed to the brace before the pair headed to the locker room.
Antetokounmpo was ruled out of the game with a right wrist sprain with 3:10 left in the first half
Antetokounmpo left the game after nine minutes of action with two points on 1 of 4 shots. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.
Giannis Antetokounmpo breaks Bucks assist record
Jevon Carter filled Antetokounmpo’s right wing just under seven minutes from time in the first quarter and as the Bulls closed in he flicked the ball to his teammate – who spotted and drilled a three.
It was history again for Bucks superstar as he overtook Paul Pressey as the top playmaker in franchise history. Antetokounmpo finished the game with three assists, giving him 3,274 for his career so far.
It took Pressey eight seasons (1982-1990) and 580 games to equal his previous club record of 3,272 assists. Pressey averaged 5.6 assists per game during his tenure at Bucks.
Antetokounmpo played in his 703rd game for the Bucks on Thursday and is in his 10th season. He has a career average of 4.7 assists per game but has averaged 5.5 per game since progressing to an All-Star in 2016-17. And of course, the two-time league MVP was also one of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA during this time.
“I just think he’s an incredible winning player,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said of Antetokounmpo before the game. “He’s a winning player. He will do things that will affect the outcome of games. I think he probably understands that he sees a lot of crowds, he sees these walls and he understands the more I trust the pass, the more I fit in with these guys, the more shots that are made, the more things become for me open .
“I think he’s always shown a really, really good balance between himself and his teammates, but you just tell that winning is his top priority, so if you look at him he’s going to do whatever he is in that moment thinks it will affect the outcome of the game and I think he probably realized – as competitive as he is – that extra passing makes the game easier for his teammates and for himself when there are a lot of spectators.”
Pressey and Antetokounmpo are the only two players in Bucks history to have at least 3,000 assists.
Antetokounmpo now owns the following franchise records:
- minutes played
- free throws
- free throw attempts
- Defensive rebounds
- triple double
Antetokounmpo will break Junior Bridgeman’s record for most games played of 711 once he appears in nine more after the All-Star break.
Play of the Game is Giannis’ record-breaking assist to Jevon Carter
Story. Once again.
Video of the game shows Jrue Holiday applying All-Star pressure to Giannis
Before the game, the TNT studio crew quizzed Bucks guard Jrue Holiday about picking captain Giannis Antetokounmpo in the upcoming All-Star game… and Holiday let the world know how he thinks it should go…
But to be fair to Antetokounmpo – he talked about picking Holiday #1 overall (if he could) before Holiday was even named an All-Star!
Giannis Antetokounmpo plans to select Jrue Holiday for his all-star team
Giannis Antetokounmpo discusses his strategy as NBA All-Star Captain, which includes picking his teammate Jrue Holiday.
Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Buck’s injury report
Middleton unexpectedly falls out against Bulls
After playing almost 25 minutes against the Celtics on Tuesday – his heaviest workload since returning from a knee injury on January 23 – Middleton was ruled out against the Bulls on Thursday.
Before the game, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t say Middleton suffered a setback in the Boston game, but said it was unexpected the three-time All-Star would not be able to play against the Bulls.
“He can’t go tonight,” said Budenholzer. “I think we’re not worried overall but we’ll see how he does at the break, just keep working with him and make sure he’s in a good place when he plays.”
For his part, Middleton said he felt good after the Celtics game.
“I’m feeling good. I still feel like I have a long way to go, especially with; hopefully my minutes here will start to increase,” Middleton said afterwards. “Whenever they do, I know I have to get through that cycle too. At the moment I feel like I’m going in the right direction. I just have to keep pushing myself.”
Connaughton has not missed a game since November 25, which was in the early stages of his return from a 15-game absence to start a year after straining his calf.
“He played really well overall, he wasted a lot of minutes,” Budenholzer said of Connaughton, who appeared in Thursday’s injury report. “I think it’s in the background, I think it’s something that the medical group is aware of, we are aware of, but I would say it was mainly something that didn’t change or affect what we do have done, really, since he returned and achieved whatever his normal minutes and comfort level were.
Sandro Mamukelashvili played in G League Next Up game
The Bucks’ big man sophomore will play in a showcase in Salt Lake City as he was named an injury substitute for the G League’s Next Up Game, which highlights players in the NBA’s developmental league.
In four regular-season games with Wisconsin Herd — the Oshkosh offshoot of the Bucks’ G League — Mamukelashvili averaged 23.3 points and 13 rebounds. He also played 11 games for the Herd for their in-season tournament, the Showcase Cup, averaging 19.3 points and 9.1 rebounds. He has also appeared in 23 games with the Bucks.
Mamukelashvili plays for Team Luka Garza and faces Team Scoot Henderson at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City ahead of the NBA All-Star Game. The game will be broadcast live on NBA TV.
Who do the Bucks play next?
The All-Star break begins and the Bucks are off until they host Miami on February 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fiserv Forum.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday will play in the Utah All-Star game on Sunday night, while Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Alex Antetokounmpo will team up with their brother in the Skills Challenge on Saturday.
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