The Bucks' four-game winning streak came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, as the Celtics used a 16-0 third quarter blitz to blow open what had been a close game through two quarters. The Celtics nabbed seven of their 14 offensive rebounds in the period, Jae Crowder and Evan Turner combined for 12 points, and the Bucks went just 5-of-16 from the field, making the fourth quarter largely an academic exercise for both teams. Not good times.
For better or worse, the Bucks get an immediate chance to bounce back tonight in Denver, where they'll take on a young Nuggets team that's claimed a respectable 3-4 record thus far. And in case you're into history: the Nuggets have beaten the Bucks five straight times overall and five years in a row in Denver.
Besides a strong game from Greg Monroe (17 points and 14 rebounds), no other Bucks player really made an impact. Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited by first half foul trouble, Khris Middleton shot just 3-of-12, and the Bucks' bench was entirely absent, adding only 25 points (12 coming via Jerryd Bayless). On the flip side, the Celtics got 50 from their second unit to help offset a 6/24 shooting night from their starting backcourt.
The bench disparity was not surprisingly a talking point for Jason Kidd after the game, though he wasn't exactly playing favorites either. While the Bucks' reserves have yet to find their stride, the team has generally struggled to keep opponents off the glass and have yet to replicate the suffocating defense of last year with any consistency.
Unfortunately Kidd won't get any additional reinforcements tonight either. After playing his best basketball of the season yesterday, Jabari Parker has a scheduled rest day tonight, while O.J. Mayo (hamstring) and Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) have started doing some light work in practice but are both expected to be out yet again.
Nuggets Scouting Report
After a shocking opening night blowout win in Houston, Mike Malone's bunch has beaten the Lakers and Blazers while losing their other four games (to mostly good opponents) by an average of 17 points. Basically: they're young, inconsistent, and who knows what to expect from them tonight.
After the failure of the Brian Shaw experiment, the Nuggets signaled their intention to go young by dealing away a series of key veterans starting last season, with Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee among the not-so-dearly departed. Younger pieces Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried are still around, though much of the excitement in Denver these days centers on the dynamism of seventh overall pick-slash-starting point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
While he's (perhaps predictably) struggled to score efficiently, Mudiay's playmaking (5.6 apg) and physical gifts give him the look of a potential franchise point guard. Interestingly, the scouting report on Mudiay was that he'd struggle to shoot from deep, though that's actually been the one area where he's been effective thus far, hitting 37% from three but just 31% inside the arc. The other obvious downside for Mudiay has been in the turnover department, where he's averaging an obscene 4.9 turnovers per game. Keep an eye on that number tonight, as the Bucks will no doubt look to turn youthful indiscretion into fast break opportunities the other way.
Aside from Mudiay, Gallinari remains the Nuggets most dangerous scoring threat (16.9 ppg, 54.5% true shooting), and the starting big combo of Faried and the resurgent J.J. Hickson could give the Bucks major problems on the glass. The Bucks are still dead last in the league with a 67% defensive rebound rate, and while the Nuggets are average or worse in most phases of the game, they've been slightly above average on the offensive glass and in drawing fouls -- two major weaknesses of the Bucks to date.
On the injury front, the Nuggets won't feel too bad for the Bucks -- they'll be missing Wilson Chandler, Jusuf Nurkic and Miles Plumlee look-alike Joffrey Lauvergne tonight.
On the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs
|15/16 NBA Season|
|November 11, 2015|
|Pepsi Center | Denver|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Emmanuel Mudiay||PG||Tyler Ennis|
|Gary Harris||SG||Khris Middleton|
|Danilo Gallinari||SF||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Kenneth Faried||PF||Johnny O'Bryant|
|J.J. Hickson||C||Greg Monroe|
|15/16 Advanced Stats|
|97.9 (14th)||Pace||93.9 (29th)|
|101.0 (21st)||ORtg||103.4 (14th)|
|105.8 (21st)||DRtg||108.7 (26th)|