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MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks are 2-0 since acquiring Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns, and as many predicted, their offense has looked more fluid and explosive with him in the lineup.
“It’s only going to get better,” Bledsoe told AmicoHoops. “It’s only two games, bro. I can’t really go off two games. I haven’t played in two, three weeks. I’m still trying to get back into the flow of things. But as the season goes on, we’ll learn more about each other and our tendencies and where we like the ball.”
Bledsoe made his Bucks debut Friday against the San Antonio Spurs and the agile guard was impressive — considering it was his first NBA action since Oct. 21.
Finishing with 13 points, seven assists and four rebounds versus San Antonio, Bledsoe showed off his elite speed in transition, tenacious defense and playmaking skills — proving why he’s the perfect push-the-pace point guard the Bucks needed alongside superstar swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee was lacking a second half-court scorer who could break a defense down and either create his own shot or collapse the defense and free others for open looks. Bledsoe fits that bill, as he is one of the better slashers in the league and can finish in heavy traffic.
The Bucks followed up their road win over the Spurs by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night at home. Bledsoe didn’t play up to his standards, posting 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting and two assists.
The 27-year-old said his Bucks home debut didn’t go how he expected it to in terms of his individual performance, but wasn’t surprised by the end result.
“For me, it wasn’t how I expected,” Bledsoe said to reporters postgame. “But you know as far as the win, I expected that. As far as me performing the way I did, I thought I was gonna do better. I thought it was going to be easy [playing in a back-to-back after missing three weeks]. But every game has its challenges and we did a great job as a team closing this one out. Some games are going to be like this, where some guys don’t perform the way they usually do, it’s gonna take a team effort and we did that tonight.”
Bledsoe missed a lot of shots which he normally makes, and considering it was his second game in three weeks with no practice time either, it’s expected that he might be a little rusty.
Luckily for the Bucks, they have the reigning Rookie of the Year coming off their bench in guard Malcolm Brogdon, who provided a huge spark with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes.
Head coach Jason Kidd says he’s going to be playing Brogdon and Bledsoe together quite a bit, meaning both players will have to be effective off-ball contributors.
Bledsoe has experience with the role and will help Brogdon with the challenge of learning how to play off-the-ball while also being aggressive.
“Malcolm did a great job tonight, bringing in energy and doing what he’s supposed to do,” Bledsoe said. “I just tell Malcolm to stay aggressive because we’re going to need everybody, all the players. It’s challenging [playing off-the ball] but at the same time, you gotta find a way. Sometimes the ball isn’t always going to bounce your way, but you got to find a way to affect the game. That’s what I learned playing off-the-ball. Getting key stops on key plays and always being engaged.”
As for Bledsoe’s chemistry with Antetokounmpo, the two seem to be in sync already.
Bledsoe and The Greek Freak connected on a filthy alley-oop in the Spurs game and have been pushing the pace at every turn together, leading to easy baskets more often than not. Bledsoe told AmicoHoops his chemistry with Antetokounmpo is only going to get better as the season progresses.
More postgame highlights: