Milwaukee Bucks Cruise Past Minnesota Timberwolves After Strong Third Quarter
Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks Cruise Past Minnesota Timberwolves After Strong Third Quarter

The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, 106-88, led by Khris Middleton's 17 points.

Mike Tews

The Milwaukee Bucks took care of the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-88, on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. Khris Middleton paced the Bucks with 17 points, while Michael Carter-Williams scored 16 points, hauled in seven rebounds, and dished out five assists.

Greg Monroe also made his presence felt as he put up 15 points and pulled down 12 boards in 26 minutes. Shabazz Muhammad led the way for the Timberwolves with 18 points, while Gorgui Dieng scored 15 and Andrew Wiggins contributed 14 points though he shot 3 for 11.

As a side note, rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns, who had six points and six rebounds, was jeered at the free-throw line as the crowd chanted "38-1," the Kentucky Wildcats' record after getting beaten by Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA Tournament national semifinals. Also, rookie point guard Tyus Jones, leader on the Duke team that beat Wisconsin for the national championship, was booed each time he touched the ball.

In the opening moments of the first quarter, it was close as Minnesota led 6-5 but Milwaukee’s Carter-Williams and O.J. Mayo both hit threes during a 13-6 run to make it an 18-12 Bucks lead. After a monstrous put-back dunk by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Minnesota mounted a mini comeback to get back to within three points, 23-20, but the Bucks pulled away due to their strong shooting en route to a 28-20 lead.

In the second quarter, Muhammad scored 11 consecutive points that got the Timberwolves back into the game with a 41-40 lead, but from then on, it went back and forth the rest of the way with Milwaukee nursing a 52-50 lead heading into halftime.

In all actuality, the T’wolves shouldn’t have been that close as they were held to 37 percent shooting and were out-rebounded, 27-15, but they thrived at the free-throw line, hitting 21 of 24 on 18 Bucks fouls in the first half. The Bucks, who have struggled from the line in the preseason, hitting just 71 percent, had trouble again as they were just 9 of 16 while also committing 15 unnecessary turnovers.

In the third quarter, Minnesota scored seven early points to inherit a 57-56 lead, but the Bucks went on a 7-0 run that gave them the lead for good. The T’wolves got within four, 67-63, but that’s the closest they got the rest of the way as Milwaukee outscored Minnesota 20-4 to close out the third with an 87-67 lead. Carter-Williams scored 11 of his 16 total points in the pivotal period.

With such a big lead, the final period was reserved for bench players to get some valuable experience, including Milwaukee native and former Badger, Marcus Landry. Landry scored five points much to the delight of the pro-Badger crowd, who had seen him play college basketball at the Kohl Center for several years as an undergraduate.

Both teams will conclude their preseason schedules with a rematch on Friday in Minneapolis at 8 p.m. EST.