The Portland Trail Blazers returned home from a long road trip Friday night only to get trampled by the Milwaukee Bucks 127-109. Portland had an existential crisis trying to come up with an answer for how to deal with the seemingly Winter Soldier serum-infused, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time reigning MVP proved to be an unsolvable equation on the way to 47 points on an absurd 18-21 shooting.
Damian Lillard led the way for Portland with 32 points and 5 assists, but didn’t get nearly enough help to make the game competitive.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak.
The “Greek Freak” labored through warmups but showed no signs of degradation come tip-off, as he was near unstoppable out of the gate, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. The sheer overwhelming size of the Bucks gave shooting fits to just about everyone not named Lillard, and Milwaukee wasted few chances to dominate Portland in transition. Dame’s 13 points kept the Bucks from running away with it, but Portland had an uphill battle ahead of them trailing 34-21 after one.
More Blazers started to get involved in the offense, but still struggled to gain any sort of offensive rhythm. Portland was working the ball where they wanted it to go, shots just weren’t falling. CJ McCollum and Norman Powell had 8 points apiece in the quarter, but neither could seem to string buckets together. Meanwhile, the Antetokounmpo train chugged ahead at full speed, dropping in another 13 points. A late surge by Lillard along with a couple treys from Robert Covington cut the deficit to single digits, but it still felt as though the Blazers had a mountain to climb heading into the break trailing 60-53.
Portland didn’t stay close for long as Antetokounmpo continued to play Godzilla to their Tuff Shed, decimating any resistance that stood between him and the basket. Best case scenario, he would score without drawing an and-one, which he did on multiple occasions on his way to an (at this point tiresome) 14 points in the quarter. Lillard made a good faith attempt to shoulder an improbable comeback, hero-balling 13 more points himself, but got little help from his teammates. Milwaukee’s lead quickly ballooned to double-digits and eventually as high as 24 points. The game hadn’t just slipped away, it was rolling downhill on fire. Bucks took a commanding 97-73 lead into the final frame.
Portland didn’t exactly wave the white flag, but they might as well have.
The Blazer bench struggled especially hard in this one, going 0-15 from the field through the first three quarters. Carmelo Anthony, who passed Patrick Ewing into 16th place on the NBA’s all-time field goals list, had the roughest night at 2-12.
The Blazers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Pacific.