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Bucks vs. Mavs Final Score: Milwaukee’s offense crashes and burns in Dallas, 86-75

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

So much for the Bucks’ unstoppable offense, eh?

After run-and-gunning their way to 120 points per game during a three-game winning streak, the Bucks could only manage to shoot themselves in the feet on Sunday against the winless Mavericks in Dallas, as Jason Kidd’s club committed 27 turnovers (!) and hit just 37% from the field, including an ugly 6/29 from deep. Dallas wasn’t much better offensively — lots of contested long jumpers contributed to their 37% shooting — but they at least showed some discipline with the ball (15 turnovers) and finished the game on a 24-7 run, including 12-1 in OT.

Among those crashing back down to earth were Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, though it’s tough to argue anyone other than Greg Monroe (14 pts, 12 rebs, three steals, five turnovers) had even an average game for the Bucks. Harrison Barnes (34 points) got the better of Jabari (16 points, just two after half time) and even a foul-plagued Giannis Antetokounmpo, who played just five first half minutes and finished with an inefficient 11 points (4/12 fg), seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, three steals and five turnovers. With Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams out, J.J. Barea pestered his way to 21 points and five assists, while Andrew Bogut grabbed 16 boards.

Two quick fouls on Giannis got things off to an uncomfortable start for the Bucks, but Jabari Parker (10 points on 5/7 shooting) and (gulp) Michael Beasley kept the Bucks on track as Milwaukee raced to a 22-9 early lead. Still, the Mavs slowed the Bucks down in the second quarter, with Giannis picking up yet another quick foul to limit his first half involvement to just five scoreless minutes. Harrison Barnes cooked Parker and every other Bucks defender to the tune of 21 first half points, sparking a 24-6 run that also saw the Bucks struggling to contain Barea (9 pts, 3 ast). Fourteen straight points had the Mavs up 47-39 at intermission, the first time in four games the Bucks were held to fewer than 61 points in a first half.

Antetokounmpo opened the second half with a three as the Bucks tried to get back on track, but their turnover problems continued — eight third quarter turnovers added to 11 in the first half, as Milwaukee struggled to play with any pace. The defense was more promising, though, limiting Dallas in transition as the Mavs time and again settled for contested jumpers.

After the Bucks had clawed to within 59-56 after three, Jason Terry picked out Teletovic for back-to-back threes to spark an 8-0 run to start the fourth. The Bucks reserved did fairly well to get the Bucks the lead, but Kidd left them in for most of the first eight minutes as Dallas kept it close. But the Bucks scuffled their way down the stretch, as Parker was invisible and Kidd inexplicably played Terry -- who missed all six of his shots — the entirety of the fourth quarter. I get that Kidd wanted to give his buddy some run against his old team, but in this case it might have cost him a win.

Either way, the Bucks still had a chance to clinch it after Giannis’ dunk off a broken play gave them a 74-72 lead inside the final minute, but Barnes answered with another midrange jumper and Giannis settled for a poor step-back jumper at the buzzer. In the OT it was then all Mavericks, as the Bucks turned on the Benny Hill music with a slew of turnovers and bad misses.

- Frank Madden

Tidbits

  • Giannis picked up two early fouls and was replaced by Michael Beasley less than two minutes into the game. He got another after being subbed in to start the second quarter. He only played five minutes in the first half.
  • Michael Beasley hit a three in the first quarter. That’s the first three pointer he’s made in the regular season and is now 1 for 6 on the season.
  • The Mavericks ended the second quarter on a 14-0 run as the Bucks went scoreless for the final five minutes of the half.
  • As Frank mentioned, Giannis hit a three to open the second half. It was his fourth of the season, and Giannis is now 4-20 on the season (20%).
  • Dallas drew four charges on the aggressive Bucks by the end of the third quarter. That’s not a coincidence, Milwaukee’s penchant for driving into the lane played right into Dallas’ strengths.
  • Milwaukee scored only 28 points in the paint tonight, bested by the Mavericks who had 36. The Bucks’ previous low for points in the paint was 46 against the Pistons.
  • Milwaukee also had its lowest free throw total of the season with only 12 attempts on the night.
  • Deron Williams didn’t play for the Mavs after being questionable with a left calf strain.
  • Harrison Barnes’ 36 points was a career high.

Thoughts

  • With Giannis in early foul trouble, Jabari put on his chef coat and started cooking. Merrily splashing jumpers from all over the floor, Jabari looked like the type of confident, “feed me the ball” scorer fans have wanted to see out of him since he came to the Bucks. Alas, his performance started to spiral as the game went on, and he ended 8/16 on the night with some dispiriting defensive possessions against Harrison Barnes.
  • Jason Terry checked into the game near the end of the first, the same slot Rashad Vaughn filled the night before against the Kings. Terry got a DNP-coach’s decision and Vaughn got a DNP tonight. It seemed possible Terry may end up taking Vaughn’s minutes this year, but we’ll see how Kidd handles that rotation the rest of the year.
  • Moose looked real frisky in the post early on, taking Bogut to task with an up-fake and reverse spin in the first. He got Salah Mejri several minutes later with a snappy spin move and finish at the basket for an and-one.
  • The Mavericks offense looked putrid in the first quarter, a byproduct of shooting only 38% from the field including 2-11 from deep. Harrison Barnes jump-started the offense in the second, scoring off drives and nailing jumpers in Parker’s mug. He out muscled Parker on a put-back attempt and got fouled. That was pretty indicative of how the second quarter went for the Bucks.
  • Here’s a news flash: Giannis makes games exponentially more fun. Immediately upon starting the second half he pushed the pace, made a three, got a steal, drove to the basket and got to the free throw line. It may not have lasted, but in a slugfest like this one has to really appreciate the small stuff.
  • Snell showed off a little of his creation skills in the third, driving to the basket and kicking to Plumlee for an easy dunk. Although earlier he did receive a charge call after barreling into a Maverick defender on a fast break Baby steps.
  • Boy is Wesley Matthews in a shooting slump. He may have hit a big three in overtime, but he missed two wide open 3-pointers tonight and finished tonight only 3-14 from behind the arc.
  • Giannis and Jabari sat on the bench for the final 30 seconds of the third quarter until 4:12 in the fourth. Although the backup brigade kept the game close, it took a Teletovic baseline, post-up turnaround jumper to convince Kidd that maybe it would be prudent to have his best players in for the end of the game.
  • Speaking of keeping players in, Jason Terry played the final 16 minutes of regulation. Even if he didn’t play last night, it’s certainly peculiar that a 39 year old could warrant such run when your 21 year old studs need rest before three days off. Kidd’s lineup decisions near the end of the game certainly left something to be desired.
  • The Bucks had little answer for Harrison Barnes all night. He roasted Parker continuously, and even though they switched Giannis onto him at the end of the game, Barnes beat Giannis on a crossover and scored easily at the rim to tie the game at 74.
  • Milwaukee set up Giannis in isolation for the last possession of regulation and he clanked a stepback jumper. It would’ve been nice to see what Jabari could’ve done in that situation, particularly given his success early in the game.
  • The Bucks looked like a team on the end of a back-to-back in OT. Lots of careless turnovers, long shots and poor play let the Mavericks take this one.
  • Here’s a Giannis highlight to cheer you up.

- Adam Paris