It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The Bucks were staying ahead of the loaded Cleveland Cavaliers for most of the first half. They were getting contributions from really all of their starters, led by 11p/7r from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 10p/3a from Michael Carter-Williams en route to shooting nearly 61 percent as a team for the half.
In addition to shooting so well, the Bucks were able to force 10 first half turnovers that allowed them to get out and run, highlighted by this pretty fast break resulting in a Giannis dunk.
Perhaps Cleveland was a little sleepy. They shot 40.9 percent in the first half and 28.6 percent from three in addition to getting little from LeBron James (7p/4r). All they probably needed was a breather, a chance to collect themselves. Or perhaps a tweet from a Bucks blog manager to draw inspiration from.
Nice half for Bucks, though sleepy Cavalier D def helped. Bucks won't shoot 61% forever, will have to cut TOs and hope LBJ doesn't wake up.— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) March 22, 2015
Well I'll be...
In the second half, Cleveland turned on the jets. They shot 60 percent from the floor (up 20 percent from the first half), shot 52.9 percent from three (up 24 percent), and only turned the ball over only three times (down seven). Milwaukee came back down to earth, shooting 46.9 percent and a paltry 12.5 percent from three in the second half, in addition to committing 10 more turnovers for a grand total of 23.
Oh, and LeBron rose above the earth and had his way with the Bucks. It was vintage LeBron, doing everything and striking fear in those within vicinity of him. He had 21 of his 28 in the second half to go with 10 rebounds, six assists, and five steals.
JR Smith also caught fire in the second half, drilling three straight triples in the fourth that really stretched the Cavs lead to outside of striking distance. Smith finished with 23. Kyrie Irving chipped in with 20p/7a of his own.
MCW led the Bucks with 19p/5a/4s, but coughed the ball up six times. Giannis was the next highest scorer with 15p/9r/5a, but had three turnovers of his own. Neither was really able to make a similar impact on the game like they were in the first half, though.
The Cavs outscored the Bucks 64-37 in the second half and really shut them down from the 1:19 mark in the third quarter on. From there, Cleveland outscored Milwaukee 41-17.
-- Much has and will be made about the Bucks turnover problems, but an equally disappointing recurring problem has been the dismal play of the bench. Granted they are missing a few key contributors in O.J. Mayo and Jared Dudley, but the drop off from the starters shouldn't be this drastic.
"Our bench has to do a better job. Right now, our bench hasn't given us anything," Jason Kidd told the media after today's game. If it sounds harsh, that's because it should be. The bench mustered up only 18 of the team's 90 points today. That's just 20 percent. That's not good for a team that relies on it's depth.
-- This was the fourth home loss in the last five years when the Bucks have shot over 50 percent from the floor. They were 30-3 in those games until today, dropping the game while shooting 54.3 percent.
-- This is the Bucks six straight loss, dropping them to two games below .500 on the season, tying their low watermark for the year. The last time they were two games under was on November 7th.
-- The Bucks are now 4-13 since the All-Star break. After struggling through a mostly difficult schedule, their April should bring room for a tinge of optimism. After kicking off the month against the Bulls, the Bucks remaining schedule is as follows: at Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, at New York Knicks, Brooklyn, at Philadelphia, Boston. Translation: things should get a lot easier...I hope.
-- As it stands right now, the Bucks hold a 1.5 game lead over the Miami Heat for the sixth spot in the East. Those teams will meet in Milwaukee on Tuesday for a big(?) matchup. See you then.