Bucks

Bobby Buckets Scoring in Bunches When Bucks Need It Most

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The Milwaukee Bucks have had a topsy-turvy season. It’s been full of memorable highs, lows and ‘What the…’ moments.

Things looked bleak at times but there have been moments where the Bucks look like the contenders we thought they’d be, like last night.

Bobby Portis has been a fan-favorite since his arrival in Milwaukee, but a slow start had many fans saying he should be traded. Recently, though, Portis has been spectacular offensively and showing signs defensively as well.

Portis highlights Bucks ‘next man up mentality’

Now, in the Bucks’ critical moment of need and the playoffs on tap, Portis has been at his best.

Giannis injured his calf and the Bucks needed someone to step up. Sixth Man of the Year finalist and bench star Bobby Portis has been the guy. The 29-year-old said the Bucks are used to adversity and being ‘battle-tested’ after his 30-point performance against Orlando on April 10.

“We’ve been through it all this year. Been through a lot of adversity — coaching lineups, lineup changes — you name it, we’ve been through it. So, we’re a battle-tested team, especially over the years, so once a guy goes down, it’s next-man-up mentality. Part of our culture here that Giannis and Khris [Middleton] have helped build and other guys follow suit.”

Portis finished the regular season with season averages of 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 50.8% shooting, including 40.7% from 3. Portis had 30 points, nine rebounds and five steals on 14-of-18 shooting in a 117-99 win for the Bucks on April 10. The Deer didn’t have Giannis or Khris Middleton (ankle rest), but Portis stepped up as he has done so many times in his Milwaukee tenure.

Portis playing his best as playoffs start

Portis is playing his best ball at the best time.

The Arkansas product averaged 17.5 points (56% FG, 54% 3PT) and 8.9 rebounds per game with four double-doubles in eight regular-season games in April. He delivered in Game 1 Sunday night as well, notching his fifth double-double of the month with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

While many wanted Portis traded early in the season, he’s been steady since December. In fact, Portis is having his best season offensively by offensive rating in Milwaukee. He is enjoying that despite his highest usage rate.

In other words, Portis is as good as ever and remaining efficient despite being used more than ever.

With the injuries the Bucks have had, having a steady scoring presence off the bench like Portis has been pivotal. Giannis hasn’t missed much time, but Khris Middleton has missed more than 20 games. Dame Lillard has missed double-digit contests. With coaching changes and different rotations, Portis has been relied on and delivered consistent scoring, averaging 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game since January.

Here are his averages:

  • December: 15.2 ppg; 7.5 rpg; 57.1% FG; 44.4% 3p
  • February: 15.3 ppg; 7.4 rpg; 49.4% FG; 40.5 3p
  • March: 15.4 ppg; 8.6 rpg; 51.1% FG; 42.1 3p

In January, Portis only averaged 11.4 points but shot over 47% from the field and 39.6% from 3 in just 21 minutes per game with coaching changes going on and rotations in flux. He has been quite steady as the numbers show. Since Doc has taken over, Portis is back playing 26 minutes per game and scoring in bunches. He did not have a 20-point performance through November, but has had 12 since— six since Doc became head coach.

Portis’ offense critical for Bucks

Portis is one of the most productive players off the bench in the NBA and his importance to the Bucks is obvious. He finished second among bench players averaging 7.4 rebounds and leads all with 17 double-doubles and 1,052 points and played in all 82 games.

With Giannis nursing his calf, Milwaukee needs Portis’ scoring in the playoffs if they hope to make a deep playoff run. He’s been a reliant scorer ever since Doc took over and there’s no better time for Bobby Buckets.

About Mitchell Skurzewski

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