This game was always going to be tough. Anytime you play the best team in the NBA, you know it's going to be a battle. That task was made nearly impossible for the already injury-depleted Blazers when it was announced prior to tipoff that Hassan Whiteside would not play.
Whiteside, who was dealing with an upper respiratory illness, joined Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, and Rodney Hood on the list of Blazers unable to suit up. With no true centers available, or any player over seven feet tall for that matter, the Blazers were forced to start 6'8' Anthony Tolliver at center. Undersized, the Blazers did there best to upset the Bucks.
Portland started quickly, hitting three straight three to start the game, but it all ground to halt shortly thereafter. Milwaukee turned on the jets, and behind an MVP type performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks took control.
Milwaukee ended the first quarter with the 32-24 lead, and the Blazers never led again. Portland was able to keep it within striking distance, but they just didn't have the manpower needed to pull off the upset.
FINAL SCORE: Bucks 122 - Blazers 101
Jaylen Hoard on getting significant minutes:
I felt like I'd mostly be playing in the G-League with the Texas Legends and just kind of work my way up… Just being able to play early like this it feels great. Even though we didn't get the win today, just being out there was a blessing
Damian Lillard on Jaylen Hoard:
Certain guys are playing positions that they weren't gonna play and have never played. Guys are playing more extended minutes than they have ever played or had to play. We got guys -- this is their first time consistently playing. That's tough. There's a learning curve. It's a physical battle for the people that haven't experienced it
Anthony Tolliver on the loss:
If we would have shot well, we would have been fine...Unfortunately, the ball didn't go in for us at the right times. We made a few shots, but not enough. That's today's NBA. It's a spread-out court and you depend on a lot of shooting.
BEST OF SOCIAL:
If all players are healthy, who wins...— Chris Burkhardt (@CBurkhardtNBCS) January 12, 2020
Tonight's Blazers starters or tonight's Blazers inactives?
Starters: Dame, CJ, Baze, Melo, Tolliver
Inactives: Hood, Skal, Collins, Nurk, Whiteside
Starters getting no easy buckets & no rebounds. Can Inactives defend the 3? 😂 #RipCity
Jaylen Hoard is not fearing the deer tonight— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) January 12, 2020
Giannis finished the evening with 32/17/6 in 28 minutes. Every bit of it done looking so unbelievably effortless.— Danny Marang (@DannyMarang) January 12, 2020
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