After the Bucks’ 105-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton were a combined 10-for-34 from the field, and three turnovers, while Connaughton came off the bench despite missing the game due to his suspension for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
I don’t really know what to make of this season. The Bucks have been a disappointment since the All-Star Break, and now Giannis Antetokounmpo has been sidelined all season with an injury. Khris Middleton has been injured as well. It has been a frustrating season for the team. But it has also been a productive season for Pat Connaughton.
Today, the Milwaukee Bucks are taking aim at a title. They’re the best team in the Eastern Conference, and they have a two-time NBA All Star leading them. However, two years ago, this was not exactly the case. In December 2015, the Bucks were in a complete state of disarray. Giannis Antetokounmpo was on the trade block, and the team was beset by injuries to its core players. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Pat Connaughton stepped up and became the starting center. Now, Connaughton’s role has come to define the Bucks, as they fight to stay atop the Eastern Conference.. Read more about bucks giannis and let us know what you think.
Chris Middleton scored 40 points and Giannis Antitokounmpo was just two assists away from a triple-double in his fourth game. But without Pat Connaughton, the Milwaukee Bucks face an away game Saturday in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Middleton and Antetokounmpo got most of the praise they deserved, but Connaughton showed that the Bucks were more than just this dynamic duo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 and Pat Connaughton #24 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate their victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on 14. July 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
He never makes headlines, but the Bucs wouldn’t be where they are today without Connaughton, Notre Dame’s 6-foot shooter. He comes into the game without much fuss, but does all the little things that go unnoticed. Connaughton has no problem defending against much taller players or diving for the loose ball.
The little things may go unnoticed by the average fan, but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer knows what he has on his sixth man.
He helps us in different ways, and sometimes it’s three-pointers or two three-pointers, or shots to the basket, or rebounds and assists, Budenholzer said of Connagton for Game 4, as reported by AZCentral.com. And sometimes he just does things that his teammates appreciate, coaches that aren’t there, so he’s important.
Connaughton is averaging 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.3 steals per game in this series.
Connaughton is certainly not the Bucks’ most important player. It might not even make the top five. But without him, Milwaukee can start Game 5 with a 3-1 lead.
Although the Bucks lost the series 1-2, they were also down by nine points in the fourth quarter of Game 4. Connaughton hit a powerful 3-pointer with 3:08 remaining in the game to give the Bucks the lead.
He scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. He also grabbed nine rebounds and didn’t steal the ball once. Connaughton was Milwaukee’s best player in the lineup with plus-minus 21.
Besides the points and rebounds, Connaughton did the little things that help win games. He came to defend a hot-tempered Devin Booker. With the score tied, Booker tries to hold on to a defender after a tie. Connaughton didn’t bite. Booker missed the shot and Jrue Holiday grabbed the rebound. Middleton scored to give the Bucks a two-point lead.
He’s not exactly a Greek monster, but Connaughton’s athletic ability is exceptional. In the 2015 NBA Draft, he posted a 44-inch vertical jump, missing the all-time record by 1.5 inches.
On St. John’s Day St. John’s High School was a great place to start. At St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts, he was a star in three sports. He looked like he could continue his career in professional baseball because he was a dominant pitcher. He received numerous offers from universities before choosing Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame, Connaughton played both basketball and baseball. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, but he preferred to continue his career with the Irish. As senior captain of the basketball team, he led the Irish to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
He may not be the most important man on campus anymore, but without Connaughton, the Bucks wouldn’t be where they are today.
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