Cold-shooting Milwaukee Bucks lose MACC Fund Game to Bulls


85. 89. 91. 24. Final

It was one of the most-discussed story lines in the NBA this summer and we got our first look at it Saturday night at the HMO Harris Bradley Center—6-foot-11 second-year man Giannis Antetokounmpo manned the point guard spot for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo, the 19-year-old Greek who the Bucks took in the first round in last year’s draft, tried to lead the Bucks to a comeback against the Chicago Bulls in the annual MACC Fund Game, but Milwaukee fell short in a 91-85 loss.

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  • The move was as much out of necessity as it was by design—starting point guard Brandon Knight was out with a minor leg injury and Kendall Marshall had played most of the third quarter at the point.

    Antetokounmpo scored nine points to go with two rebounds, two blocked shots and a turnover and did not record an assist.

    But the Bucks outpaced the Bulls 24-17 in the quarter and after trailing by 12, 74-62, opening the period, got as close as four points on three separate occasions. But Milwaukee (1-2) couldn’t quite get over the hump in dropping its second straight preseason game.

    The Bucks got to within 96-82 with 1:13 to go when John Henson tipped in a missed layup by Ersan Ilyasova, but Pau Gasol hit four free throws in the final minute to help Chicago secure the win.

    Coach Jason Kidd told reporters he was pretty happy with what he saw from Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter.

    "“I thought Giannis did a great job for us running the point, finding guys and also finding his shot,” Kidd said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We kind of well into it with B. Knight being hurt and I didn’t want to run up Kendall’s minutes. This was a perfect situation against a talented team to give him a chance to see what he could do at the point with Jabari (Parker) out there.”"

    Antetokounmpo had his requisite highlight reel sequence, blocking a shot at one end before finishing at the other.

    The Bulls (1-2) only played 10 players, giving their starters extended minutes. Jimmy Butler played 36 minutes, Doug McDermott logged 31, Gasol played 30, Joakim Noah was in for 24 and Derrick Rose logged 22.

    For the Bucks, Ilyasova logged his first playing time after missing the first two preseason game with the flu, but his shot may have still been afflicted. He was just 4-for-20 in 29 minutes but did have nine rebounds.

    Chicago led 24-20 after one quarter and was up 51-41 at the half.

    The Bucks shot just 35.3 percent for the game (30-for-85) and made only 4-of-16 from deep.

    Another game meant another starting lineup for Milwaukee—on Saturday, it was rookie Jabari Parker and Ilyasova at forward, with Larry Sanders in the middle and Jared Dudley and Knight in the backcourt.

    Knight was hurt when he collided with Parker and was held out as a precaution.

    Oct 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders (8) grabs a rebound against Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol (16), center Joakim Noah (13) and guard Jimmy Butler (21) in the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Sanders scored 14 points to lead the Bucks, hitting 5-of-9 from the floor before fouling out. Zaza Pachulia had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Parker scored 11 points on 5-of-14 from the floor, Antetokounmpo also finished with 11 points and had a pair of blocks and Ilyasova scored an extraordinarily inefficient 10. Marshall had six assists in 18 minutes and Henson blocked two shots and scored nine points in 23 minutes.

    Dudley logged a team-high 33 minutes. Parker played 32, Sanders notched 25 and Knight played 17. Off the bench, Antetokounmpo played 27 minutes, Henson logged 23, Pachulia notched 19 and O.J. Mayo was on the court for 16.

    Jerryd Bayless, Michael Eric, Damien Inglis, Khris Middleton, Elijah Millsap and Nate Wolters did not play.

    Gasol led the Bulls with 20 points, 11 rebounds and had three blocked shots. Butler tossed in 18 points and had four assists and three steals, Rose dropped in 16 points to go with four helpers, Taj Gibson scored 11 points off the bench and Noah had 10 points. Rookie Nikola Mirotic blocked three shots.

    Chicago was 30-for-71 from the floor (42.3 percent) and 5-for-16 from deep.

    Kidd is still excited by his teenage tandem.

    "“Giannis and Jabari at 19 years old, they have to go through different situations so we can understand how teams are playing them.“Then we can get them in the post and get it to Jabari or Giannis and then it’s just patience. Right now, at 19, everything is going so fast and we are trying to get them to slow down.”"

    Antetokounmpo isn’t happy with just coming close.

    "“We don’t have to be satisfied because the game was close today,” Antetokounmpo said. “We have to keep working at our craft and our game and try to correct one mistake.“We showed some good things. We are a very young team. If everybody corrects not even two, just one thing, we’re going to take it to another level.”"

    After playing three games in four nights, the Bucks will get a couple of days off. Their next game is Thursday against LeBron James and the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for a 6 p.m. Central tipoff.