Most Memorable Bucks Games
These are the most memorable games (to me) from the most memorable season since I started making these lists in 2011, and since I started writing about the Bucks in 2008. Really, this was the most memorable Bucks season since 2001.
Honorable mentions to winning in Portland in late-March on the tail-end of the improbable 4-2 west coast trip to keep the playoff push alive, destroying the Bulls at home in the first night of a back-to-back home-and-home, scoring a thousand points against the Rockets (again) at home with big nights from Giannis and Jabari (again), and beating the Raptors (right after beating the Clippers) to kick off that crucial six-game win streak in March.
Cuts are getting harder to make on this list. This is good.
10. Bucks 109, Spurs 107 – January 10, 2017 – AT&T Center
- The weirdest and most unlikely win of the season. In other words, this was The Michael Beasley Game.
- After back-to-back home losses to the Knicks and Wizards, the Bucks went into San Antonio (which had won 12 of 14 and carried a 30-7 record into the game) and won behind Beasley, who dropped 28 points off the bench.
- Oh, and Giannis played a season-low nine minutes before leaving the game with illness. Just weird.
9. Bucks 95, Bulls 69 – December 16, 2016 – United Center
- One night after crushing the Bulls at home and clearly tipping the rivalry in their favor for the first time in a decade, the Bucks drove home that point by blitzing the Bulls 34-15 in the first quarter on the way to one of the most fun and dominant wins in recent memory.
- Giannis went for 22/11/7, JET was hitting threes (2-4), Mirza was hitting threes (3-8), Jabari was dunking, everything clicked.
- Meanwhile, the Bulls (who entered the night still up a half game on the Bucks) looked old and devoid of a future other than Jimmy Butler, who went just 3-for-14 from the field.
8. Bucks 123, Wizards 96 – December 23, 2016 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- This was the holiday game and everyone was full of cheer! (Except John Wall and the Wizards.)
- Giannis went for 39, and it must be said that Giannis also missed a free throw amid his first MVP chants with a chance to go for 40. But he went for 39, and the MVP chants weren’t even all that far out. He was already there, but this cemented his superstar status.
- Also: Malcolm Brogdon shot 7-for-7 from the field (and 3-for-3 on threes), JET hit both of his threes, Thon hit his three to the delight of the crowd, and this was one of the best Giannis/Jabari games to date (combined for 60 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, four steals, three blocks, two turnovers).
7. Bucks 97, Clippers 96 – March 15, 2016 – STAPLES Center
- Timing is important here. The Bucks had just won six of seven to get to within a couple games of .500 (32-34) and back in the playoff mix but faced the ever-daunting six-game west coast road trip. Stop two was Los Angeles, where they had dropped two games (in dispiriting fashion) during the trip the previous season.
- The Clippers (Paul, Griffin, Jordan, Redick) were healthy.
- No one on the Bucks stood out. No one scored more than 16 points. But no one played poorly either. The Bucks went up 97-91 on a Dellavedova three with 1:16 to play and the Bucks just held on from there, just barely held on from there, as Blake Griffin missed from a couple feet out in one of the tensest finishes (for those who stayed up late) of the season. The Bucks went on to win four out of six on the trip.
6. Bucks 103, Celtics 100 – March 29, 2017 – TD Garden
- The Celtics, who went 30-11 at home this season, were fighting for the top seed in the East. They wanted this game, badly.
- Malcolm Brogdon, well, he did too.
- Brogdon scored or assisted on the team’s final 10 points, capped by the game-sealing fade-away jumper in the face of Avery Bradley. This game had you feeling that not only would the Bucks make the playoffs, but they could be competitive once they got there.
5. Bucks 118, Cavaliers 101 – November 29, 2016 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- Cleveland started the game on a 27-13 run highlighted by a wicked LeBron throwdown. (Then the Bucks ended the game on a 105-74 run punctuated by a big Giannis fourth quarter jam.)
- Giannis went for 34/12/5 along with five blocks and two steals, leading people to rightfully wonder if Giannis could be the best player in the East after LeBron (someday!)stops being the best player in the East (which he has been for the past decade-plus and might still be for a few more).
- More on this mirth here.
4. Bucks 105, Knicks 104 – January 4, 2017 – Madison Square Garden
- Giannis hit a step-back, fade-away jumper.
- At the buzzer.
- At Madison Square Garden.
3. Bucks 97, Raptors 83 – April 15, 2017 – Air Canada Centre
- Game 1 was a Giannis game. (Gloriously so.)
- Giannis started the game with a dunk, ended it with a block, and carried the Bucks to a comprehensive come-from-behind win on the road in his first playoff game since being ejected in the Game 6 blowout, closeout, home loss to the Bulls in 2015. It was a grand pronouncement that he was a superstar and the best player in the series, and regardless of impending struggles (foreshadowed by his 2-for-5 performance at the stripe in an otherwise wonderful game), he was and was.
- Maker, Monroe and Snell also played well, while Middleton and Brogdon were a bit up-and-down, which also stayed true for most of the series.
2. Bucks 104, Raptors 77 – April 20, 2017 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- As soon as the Bucks won Game 1 in Toronto, this Game 3 ticket instantly became the most anticipated Bucks home game since Game 6 in 2010 when they had a chance to close out the Hawks (which they, um, did no). Raptors coach Dwane Casey went on to call this Bucks crowd “hot” and damn if it wasn’t. The crowd crushed, and the Bucks, too.
- Here are real, actual, not made-up scores from this game (Bucks listed first): 26-10, 34-12, 48-17 (!), 57-25, 78-44, 95-64.
- So yes, that 104-77 line was quite flattering to the Raptors. Because it was this type of night: Rashad Vaughn ended the game by hitting a 26-footer (shot clock was expiring, nothing to get worked up about).
1. Raptors 92, Bucks 89 – April 27, 2017 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- This is not to celebrate a loss. This is to say that Game 6 was unequivocally the most memorable (not necessarily the best or my favorite) game of the season for me (again, this is a personal list). Following two straight losses, the Bucks went home to face an elimination game against a team that appeared to have figured them out.
- After the Thunder blew another lead to the Rockets two nights prior, the game was pushed to 6:00 p.m. (rather than 7:00 p.m.) local time. Not ideal for a weekday (Thursday), and I am not clear on why the NBA schedules some of these games so early. The crowd was hyped, but inevitably more people were filing in at tip than would have for a 7:00 p.m. start time. You can break the game into three parts, and Part I saw the Bucks pick up the crowd, with Giannis scoring on the first possession and then Thon blocking DeMarre Carroll on the other end. Giannis scored the first eight for the Bucks (missing a free throw on an MVP chant not even two minutes into the game) while Maker racked up three blocks in roughly those first three minutes. Part II of the game began shortly thereafter, as Toronto took over, leading by four after one quarter, by 13 at halftime, and then by a count of 71-46 more than midway through the third quarter. At this point, my seat was still facing the court, which meant that I was blinking long blinks and glancing to this side and that side.
- From that point, in Part III, the Bucks went on an unimaginable 34-7 run to take an 80-78 lead on the arc of a fitting crest to the season – a JET three (his first of the playoffs, after starting 0-for-10). That came on the heels of the Bucks holding Toronto without a point for nearly six minutes, which happened to be exactly what they needed, for a chance. Toronto then did some customary NBA things – i.e. making it past half court without turning the ball over and making a couple shots – and the Bucks didn’t finish and so they were finished. In the end, a frustrating, confusing, thrilling, euphoric, not-quite night – a microcosm of the season.