For a second straight night, the Bucks gave up some huge runs during the third and fourth quarter to give away their lead to their opponents, but, unlike last night, they actually fought back and made it a close game before ultimately falling to the Denver Nuggets 103-102.
The Bucks started out the night hot from the floor, shooting 70% in the first half. Their hot shooting was highlighted by three triples from Greivis Vasquez (15 first half points) and ten points from both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Despite the hot shooting, the Bucks led the Nuggets by just 11 points, 64-53.
Denver took over in the second half as they went outscored the Bucks 42 to 18 in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take a 95-82 lead with 8:52 remaining in the game. With such a bleak outlook, the Bucks folded against the Celtics, but fought back Wednesday night behind some hot shooting from Jerryd Bayless. Bayless scored 11 fourth quarter points to key a 16-3 Bucks run that tied the game at 98 with 1:54 left.
After Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay answered a Johnny O'Bryant jumper with three points off free throws to give the Nuggets a one point lead, the Bucks ran a side pick and roll with Vasquez and Greg Monroe that led to Vasquez delivering a scoop pass to Antetokounmpo, who had swooped in from the other side, to take a 102-101 lead over the Nuggets with 17 seconds left.
In their final possession, the Nuggets turned to Danilo Gallinari ( ) and he was smothered defensively by Khris Middleton. Gallinari eventually forced up a shot that missed the rim entirely, but the airball was tipped in by Kenneth Faried for another lead change.
On the game's final play, the Bucks turned to Khris Middleton, but he missed a contested jumper from the left baseline corner, which gave the Nuggets a 103-102 victory. Middleton's shot would have capped an impressive fourth quarter comeback from the Bucks, which was only possible because of their epic collapse, but it wasn't meant to be.
The Bucks will travel back to Milwaukee for a few days of practice before welcoming the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are off to a 7-1 start despite the injury of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Tipoff at the BMO Harris Bradley Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.
- Coming off his best performance of the season on Tuesday, Jabari Parker was held out tonight as a precautionary measure.
- Starters: Tyler Ennis, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Johnny O'Bryant, Greg Monroe
- Rashad Vaughn and John Henson were the first two off the bench for Monroe and Middleton with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Neither made any notable impact.
- Second quarter starters: Vasquez, Middleton, Giannis, Vaughn, Henson
- They've tried it a couple of times this year, but Vasquez was finally able to find Bayless for that backdoor baseline lob in the second quarter.
- Antetokounmpo and Monroe were able to get together for a pretty pick and roll in the third quarter.
- The Nuggets went on a big run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter. The same thing occurred last night. This is becoming a theme in Bucks games this season.
- After picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth, Antetokounmpo sat out late in the game to make room for Johnny O'Bryant, who eventually fouled out. It was strange.
- O'Bryant had a wonderful pass to find Monroe and cut Denver's lead to two, 97-95. The Bucks moved the ball around the perimeter perfectly waiting for the perfect opportunity to get the ball to Monroe, who had a mismatch.
- Four of the Bucks starters (Ennis excluded) managed to record double digit scoring nights.
- I'm not sure the bench was great tonight, but Vasquez and Bayless both played well. Vasquez was pretty great tonight with 15 points and nine assists. Bayless put up 22 points and four assists in his 28 minutes of action.
- In recent games, the Bucks have tried to feed Antetokounmpo the ball on the elbow. Antetokounmpo has been getting slightly better at establishing his position, but has been quite lackadaisical in collecting the passes from his point guards. At times, this has led to live ball turnovers, which have given layups to opponents. That needs to improve.
- Vasquez hasn't really played much with Monroe. They had a beautiful pick and roll early in the second quarter. Monroe hasn't really found much success in the pick and roll this year. I'm curious if there would be more pick and roll success if he would play more with Vasquez.
- Before the Celtics game, I asked Jason Kidd about the importance of pace in the game and he talked about both of their upcoming games, saying, "We've got to control the pace, control the turnovers, and make sure we don't have live ball turnovers where they are shooting layups and threes." The Bucks failed miserably controlling the pace and avoiding live ball turnovers in their last two games.
- Vasquez has received a lot of derision for his play this season and somewhat deservedly so. (I would likely argue it hasn't been all bad.) It is so unbelievably strange that he seems to move so slow, but yet still manages to either find his way into the lane or create a passing angle because of a leaning help defender.
- The Bucks have outrebounded only one opponent all season (they were +1 on the Nets in Brooklyn), and they've yet to grab more offensive rebounds than an opponent in any game.
- There are a lot of problems with the Bucks defense right now. I could (and probably will) end up breaking down many of these problems, but there is one major problem that is most significant at this point. The Bucks defense is doing the first and (sometimes) the second thing correctly and then thinking their work is done. It is not.