I’m sure Dallas is a fine city, but I’m quite glad Milwaukee won’t have to return there for another year as the Milwaukee Bucks fell 111-79 to the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas staked an early nine-point lead after one quarter, winning with easy passing and horrendous offense by the Bucks. The horror continued into the second with Milwaukee drawing fouls repeatedly, but failing to convert at the line at just 11-22 heading into halftime. With a 12-point deficit, 56-44, the Bucks looked lost in all facets of the first half. The tears didn’t dry in the third quarter, with another depressing period spiraling the Bucks to trail by 21 after three. Nothing got better in the fourth. In fact, it got worse, as the Bucks took the L tonight in a 32-point loss.
Milwaukee squandered a considerable amount of team momentum they had built up since Eric Bledsoe’s arrival. The swarming defense that seemed potent in his first two games, but waned against Memphis, headed down a spiral again tonight. There are plenty of questions still to be answered with this team and Bledsoe was never going to be the solution to all of them. Tonight was a fitting reminder that the Bucks have plenty of work still to do if they hope to become a consistent threat in the East. Dallas shot particularly well, but much of that was due to faulty defense on Milwaukee’s part.
Giannis Antetokounmpo put forth a barreling effort, striking at the rim like a stampeding buffalo whenever possible. His 7-20 shooting night wasn’t pretty, but he still ended with 24 points and 17 rebounds. You could tell he was ticked off tonight and didn’t plan on being denied.
His supporting cast was disappointing, with Khris Middleton as really the only guy showing up to provide some assistance. Middleton continued a strong stretch of games with 23 points, but Eric Bledsoe had another woeful shooting night (2-10) ending at just six points.
Dallas was led by Wesley Matthews, who went 6-8 from three for 22 points and eight assists for the game. Harrison Barnes added 18 points while J.J. Barea chipped in 20 points and seven assists of his own.
Stat that Stood Out
Whoo boy, where to start with this one. We could start with the Mavericks’ 38 3-point attempts, a season-high for an opponent this year. We could also go with the 19 that Dallas made tonight, another season-high for a Bucks opponent. However, I think the assist numbers may be the most relevant, with Dallas finishing at a 71.1% assist percentage compared to Milwaukee’s 46.4%. Dallas came into the night ranked just 15th in that category (56.6%) while Milwaukee was ranked fifth (61.2%). The complete reversal of those stats was indicative of the Bucks ineffective iso-heavy approach to offense and their inability to prevent Dallas from making pinpoint passes for simple shots.