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Bucks dazzle in preseason opener, debut of Fiserv Forum

October 5, 2018
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Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks over Chicago Bulls' Robin Lopez during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks sported a new home, a new coach and some new pieces to their playmaking puzzle in their preseason unveiling Wednesday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and the Bucks routed the Chicago Bulls 116-82 in the first game — albeit unofficial — at the downtown Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks had the look of contenders under new coach Mike Budenholzer, scoring 63 points in the first half and leading by as much as 34.

Their new arena opened in August and the Bucks looked right at home there against the Bulls, overwhelming them on the backboards with a 64-43 rebound advantage.

“You could see how he wants us to play, how to use our length in our coverages and he changes it up during the game, which is different for us,” said Bucks’ Khris Middleton, who had 15 points, including a 3-for-4 effort from 3-point range. “I think guys are learning and taking a grasp of it.”

The Bucks also had an air of confidence and an air attack to go with it.

Fifteen players attempted 3-pointers during a 45-shot long-range blitz. Milwaukee hit on 15.

“We did a great job moving the ball, finding the open man, shooting open threes. We had fun,” Antetokounmpo said.

Pat Connaughton (4-for-6) and Eric Bledsoe (3-for-6) led the way — though rookie Donte DiVincenzo went 0-for-5 from long distance in his first game.

The Bucks’ top mark for 3-pointers last season was 36.

Antetokounmpo said he’s looking to extend his range this season.

“I’ve been working on the shot a lot this summer. If I’m open and I can take a step back and I’m open, I’m going to shoot it,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’m not going to hesitate.”

The Bulls, on the other hand, hit on just 7 of 41 from long distance.

Jabari Parker, making his return to Milwaukee after leaving in free agency, scored the game’s first basket, then missed 11 attempts in 18½ minutes, finishing 1-for-12 from the field with two points.

Bledsoe put up 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Bucks.

Connaughton hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 12 points. John Henson added 10 points off the bench.

Bobby Portis led Chicago with 17 points and Kris Dunn added 10.

D.J. Wilson (right hamstring), Sterling Brown (left hamstring), Trevon Duval (eye) and Matthew Dellavedova (coach’s decision) did not play for the Bucks.

Milwaukee plays next at Minnesota at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday.

Chicago 25 18 14 25 — 82

Milwaukee 32 31 27 26 — 116

CHICAGO — Holiday 2-10 0-0 5, Parker 1-12 0-0 2, R.Lopez 1-5 0-0 2, Dunn 3-6 3-3 10, LaVine 3-10 2-3 8, Sampson 1-4 0-1 2, Hutchison 1-9 0-0 3, Felicio 1-1 2-2 4, Portis 7-15 2-3 17, Carter Jr. 4-8 0-0 9, Payne 0-3 0-0 0, Walton Jr. 3-5 0-0 7, Arcidiacono 2-2 0-0 5, Alkins 0-1 0-0 0, Blakeney 4-11 0-0 8. Totals 33-102 9-12 82.

MILWAUKEE — Middleton 5-8 2-2 15, Antetokounmpo 7-10 4-10 19, B.Lopez 3-8 0-0 6, Bledsoe 6-9 1-2 16, Brogdon 3-8 0-0 7, Wood 1-2 0-4 2, Ilyasova 3-5 2-2 9, Zeller 2-5 0-0 4, Henson 4-5 2-2 10, Maker 1-4 0-0 3, Frazier 1-1 0-0 3, DiVincenzo 1-9 0-0 2, Morris 1-2 0-0 2, Muhammad 2-3 2-2 6, Connaughton 4-6 0-0 12, Snell 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 44-89 13-24 116.

3-point goals — C 7-41 (Dunn 1-1, Arcidiacono 1-1, Carter Jr. 1-2, Walton Jr. 1-3, Hutchison 1-6, Portis 1-7, Holiday 1-8, Sampson 0-1, R.Lopez 0-1, Alkins 0-1, LaVine 0-2, Payne 0-2, Parker 0-3, Blakeney 0-3), Mil 15-45 (Connaughton 4-6, Middleton 3-4, Bledsoe 3-6, Frazier 1-1, Ilyasova 1-1, Antetokounmpo 1-2, Maker 1-4, Brogdon 1-6, Wood 0-1, Morris 0-1, Zeller 0-1, Henson 0-1, B.Lopez 0-3, Snell 0-3, DiVincenzo 0-5). Rebounds — C 43 (Blakeney 8), Mil 64 (Antetokounmpo 13). Assists — C 23 (Blakeney 6), Mil 28 (DiVincenzo, Bledsoe, Frazier 6). Total fouls — C 19, Mil 12. Technicals — Mil coach Bucks (Defensive three second). Att. — 15,107.

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