Dairyland Madness continues with the third region in the first round of the 64-team tournament, the Milwaukee Bucks. Be sure to head to Twitter to vote for your top performances.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been mostly in the business of torturing their fanbase in the last 20 years with plenty of mediocre seasons and not much reason for excitement. However, early in the millennium was a great team with electrifying stars like Glenn Robinson along with a youthful Ray Allen and lately, there’s been plenty to cheer about with Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Those names will show up multiple times in this region of the bracket, but there were some bright spots in between too. In 20 years, even in the midst of mediocrity, there were bound to be a few great nights and I believe that these are the best 16 since the turn of the century.
So sit back, relax, reminisce on some great games, and don’t forget to vote for your favorites at the end of the article or on Twitter.
#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo 52 points, 16 rebounds 2019 vs. #16 Monta Ellis 27 points, 17 assists 2013
The number one seed performance came in a loss oddly enough. However, the loss was in no way Giannis’ fault. He had one of the greatest games in NBA history, stuffing the stat sheet with 52 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and a block while only turning the ball over once. On the list of highest game scores in NBA history, this game ranks 19th in NBA history with a game score of 50.40.
Monta Ellis was never known as a great passer, but on this night in 2013 against the Atlanta Hawks he dished out 17 dimes while also scoring 27 points in a near triple-double with eight rebounds. He also was crafty on the defensive side of the ball with five steals.
#8 Ray Allen 47 points 2002 vs #9 Sam Cassell 39 point triple-double 2002
Ray Allen’s finest game as a Buck came in 2002 when he played 44 minutes and filled it up with 47 points. He put on a shooting exposition, going 15-23 from the field and an insane 10-14 from behind the arc. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out four assists, and added three steals to this spectacular performance.
A triple-double is a rare feat, and scoring 39 points in the process makes it all the more impressive. Sam Cassell and the Milwaukee Bucks fought out a 140-133 double-overtime win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cassell played 50 minutes in the win and did the heavy lifting to get them to the finish line with the victory, including a team-leading nine points in the two overtime periods.
#4 Ray Allen 41 points 2001 playoffs vs. #13 Tim Thomas 39 points, 8 threes 2001
There aren’t many recent playoff performances to speak to of for the Milwaukee Bucks, but this may be the finest of the last 20 years. Facing elimination in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, Allen hit nine threes and poured in 41 points, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-100 victory of Allen Iverson’s 76ers.
In all-time great shooting games from Bucks’ players, this Tim Thomas game is right up there with the best of them. He was 8-10 from three-point range as he scored 39 points. 21 of those points came in the fourth quarter as he hit 4 threes in the period in an attempt to make a comeback that fell just short in a 115-119 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
#5 Giannis 44 points for his dad 2017 vs. #12 Larry Sanders triple-double
Giannis put his whole heart into this game in 2017 after his dad passed away. He scored 44 points on 17-23 shooting and was determined to get to the rim all night. He scored his final two points on a breakaway dunk to give the Bucks a 111-110 lead, but he wasn’t done. On the next Blazers’ possession he blocked a Jusuf Nurkic layup attempt with four seconds left on the clock, sealing the win for the Bucks.
Larry Sanders had an unconventional triple-double in a 2012 contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks in the game. If only he could have gotten nine more assists he would’ve had the ultra-rare quadruple-double. This is also the only game on the list from someone who came off the bench. He did play 32 minutes, but the starting big men that night were John Henson and Samuel Dalembert. The Bucks are still paying Larry Sanders, but maybe this one night makes it a little bit more worth it?
#3 Brandon Jennings 55 points 2009 vs. #14 Eric Bledsoe 39 points 2018
In the midst of mediocrity, there was a shining moment of hope. One night when the entire Milwaukee Bucks fanbase thought maybe it would all be ok. When we all thought that Brandon Jennings would be for us what Giannis is now. In his sixth career game, Brandon Jennings dropped 55 points in a wild comeback win against the Warriors as all 14,978 fans in the Bradley Center went wild. He was spectacular, going 7-8 from long-range and 21-34 from the field. This was a special game for a special Buck that will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Eric Bledsoe’s first season in Milwaukee was a release from his nightmare in Phoenix, but still, a team coached by Jason Kidd that was destined to fail. On this night, he led the Bucks to a 124-122 overtime win over the Lakers in a game where Tyler Zeller and Jason Terry both played over 28 minutes for the Bucks. Bledsoe came up clutch in overtime, scoring 11 of Milwaukee’s 12 points to give them the win.
#6 Michael Redd 52 points 2007 vs. #11 Glenn Robinson 45 points 2001
This Michael Redd performance holds a special sentimental place with me because it was the first Bucks game that I attended. It was a good old-fashioned duel with Ben Gordon dropping 48 points for the Bulls and Michael Redd scoring 52 for the Bucks. It was so good it needed overtime to decide a winner. In the end, the Bulls prevailed, but Redd did all he could, scoring from everywhere and hitting eight threes in the loss.
Glenn Robinson didn’t ever quite live up to the hype of a number one pick, but he could definitely put the ball in the hoop. This was his best night of doing just that. He put the ball through the rim a total of 25 times between field goals and free throws for a total of 45 points. He also added seven rebounds to his spectacular ball-in-hoop clinic.
#7 Khris Middleton 51 points 2020 vs. #10 Giannis 39 points 2019 playoffs
Khris Middleton has a habit of stepping up when Giannis isn’t in the lineup. Earlier this year, he scored 51 points to outduel Bradley Beal’s 47 points. The most memorable moment came when he drove down the line and punched in a very uncharacteristic thunderous dunk to get to 51 points. He was 7-10 from behind the arc and a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line while adding 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Hopefully, Giannis will have a ton more memorable playoff games, but for now, this dominant second-round game in Boston to take a 3-1 lead in the series is his best. Still motivated by Paul Pierce’s comments that the series was over after Boston won the first game, he dropped 39 points and 16 rebounds right on the Celtics heads, powering through countless forearms, body blows and hacks from their entire team.
#2 Michael Redd 57 points 2006 vs. #15 Earl Boykins 36 points, 9 assists 2007
This 57-point performance is the Milwaukee Bucks’ all-time record for points in a single game. That would be enough to warrant it being this high of a seed in this tournament, but it doesn’t stop there. It came as part of a comeback from down 19 at one point. With 6.9 seconds left, Redd hit a three to tie the game at 111. Unfortunately, as for most of Bucks’ history, there was no storybook ending as Matt Harpring made a layup to win the game on the other end and yet another great Michael Redd performance was in all for nothing. All for nothing, unless he wins this tournament, and then finally his greatness will have a championship run.
The fact that a 5’5″ player scored 36 points in an NBA game against guys that were almost all a foot taller than him is enough to warrant a spot in the bracket. The little man deserves some love. He played his heart out in this game, staying on the floor for 43 minutes while taking over the scoring department with Michael Redd and Mo Williams both inactive. He also dropped nine dimes and got three steals. The man even got two rebounds. That doesn’t sound impressive but he’s 5’5″. If you’re six feet tall, go find nine seven-footers and try to get a rebound. Good luck. But remember to go vote in the poll first.