Bucks’ bench duo thriving off of each other, providing intensity, toughness and more

For the first several months of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks had significant problems with their bench brigade.

Among them was a lack of energy, intensity and urgency. Whenever the starters left the floor, things typically went downhill fast. There were several games where Milwaukee’s bench was outdueled by the other bench tenfold. This team needed a sparkplug very badly to uplift this second unit and help them play quality basketball.

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

In years past, Bobby Portis would bring this spark. While he did here and there, it was nowhere near as consistent as it had been previously. In fact, it was so bad that many were clamoring for him to be dealt before the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline. Instead, they opted to bring in a player who is not only an energizer himself but also a player who has helped reignite Bobby Portis’ fire as well.

Bucks’ bench duo thriving off of each other, providing intensity, toughness and more

When the Bucks traded for Patrick Beverley, it was easy to justify. Not only did this team need more perimeter defenders, but they also simply needed players who could give the rest of the roster a jolt of energy with his presence. Beverley has indeed given the Bucks both, but sticking with the latter, perhaps no player has benefitted more from Beverley’s presence than Bobby Portis.

Portis and Beverley share a lot of similarities. Above all else, neither is afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve and let all of their emotions be known. Though Portis was not providing the same spark he had in the past early in the season, it seems like Beverley has helped bring it out, as the two just feed off of each other’s energy and intensity.

Watch the clip below. These guys were about ready to run through a brick wall together.

In addition to looking more like the Portis of old from an energy standpoint, Portis’ play stat-wise has also improved mightily lately. In 15 contests following the NBA All-Star break, the big man has played excellent basketball, averaging 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and a steal per game while knocking down 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He’s been a new player compared to his early season self.

Perhaps the best example thus far of the impact these two can have together came in Milwaukee’s most recent win over the OKC Thunder.

In 27 and a half minutes off the bench, Portis clocked in 15 points, six rebounds and and two assists. In addition to that, he played great defense, holding OKC players to 4-of-14 shooting (28.6 percent), forcing four turnovers and tallying two steals, per NBA.com. It was a matchup that perfectly captured Portis’ ability to do a little bit of everything when he is locked in.

In that same matchup, Beverley held Thunder players to 0-of-5 shooting, had two blocked shots and forced a turnover. Though he scored just one point in the game, the point guard’s impact was clear for all to see. His reputation as a defensive pest has shown itself in Milwaukee, and it’s given this team an immeasurable boost since the NBA Trade Deadline.

Patrick Beverley undoubtedly isn’t fully responsible for Portis’ turnaround, but he hasn’t hurt it either. It’s like going to work and seeing that your coworker who likes a lot of the same things you do is also there. That type of situation can bring out the best in you, and it’s seemingly helped Portis out a ton. These are two guys who were simply made to play alongside one another.

If these two can keep bringing this type of presence off of the bench, it would be huge for Milwaukee in their quest for another NBA championship.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.

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