Hello darkness, my old friend. That was the tune of the night as the Bucks were unable to snag a well-needed victory and fell to the Miami Heat for the second time this week, 106-101.
The game tipped off in a similar fashion to Sunday’s matinee — a lack of offense, poor rebounding, and just overall disappointment. Despite all of that, the Bucks were able to keep the scoring close, wrapping up the opening period trailing by just five, 30-25. Things would eventually swing back in Milwaukee’s favor, thanks to them shoring up those issues and connecting on some threes. They would carry a 57-52 advantage into the locker room.
A quick Miami run would slice Milwaukee’s lead to just a single point heading into the final period. To begin things, the Bucks couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with their shots (they literally couldn’t even get off a shot). Unfortunately, that would continue as the quarter wore on. Nothing would fall Milwaukee’s way, and their offense being stuck in the mud never allowed them to overcome the deficit. It’d wind up being enough for Miami to leave town with a 106-101 victory.
For the Bucks, Khris Middleton had a higher scoring night than in recent games, notching a 25 point performance. Giannis Antetokounmpo fell next in line with 22 of his own.
Hassan Whiteside proved to be too much for Milwaukee to handle down low, recording a game-high 27 points. Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk each splashed in 15 points.
It’s time to stop using “we’re young” as an excuse.
Yet again, Jason Kidd summed last night’s disappointing performance by saying that “we’re a young team and have a lot to learn.” It really seems as if he spins a wheel prior to his postgame presser and spits out what it lands on. That prompted me to ask Khris Middleton the following question during his postgame availability:
Asked Khris Middleton if he feels as if the Bucks are a young team and how they can overcome that to become a threat on a nightly basis. Says that youth can't be used as an excuse: pic.twitter.com/Qwgk7t6FzI— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) January 18, 2018
Yeah. I don’t think you need me to explain this anymore. Tensions seem to be rising. Everyone involved is exhibiting frustration, and it’s not fun.
Milwaukee desperately needs a center.
It was another game of the Bucks being battered and beaten up in the land down under, with Hassan Whiteside proving to be a force on both ends of the court. It’s something we’ve grown accustomed to as of late. While John Henson has picked up his quality of play significantly this year, he still isn’t able to produce the rebounding capacity this team needs. We’re all too familiar with the struggles Thon is facing as of late too. Who knows, maybe exploring the option of bringing in DeAndre Jordan wouldn’t be as bad as we initially thought. You’re still going to pay one heck of a price though. Regardless, help is desperately needed.
That fourth quarter nearly made me puke.
Milwaukee’s offensive sets — wait, what offensive sets? They were non-existent in the final 12 minutes of play, as NOTHING could be developed. To start the fourth quarter, Jason Kidd threw out a lineup of Thon Maker/Matthew Dellavedova/Tony Snell/Khris Middleton/Sterling Brown. The shots were dormant. The offense was moving slower than molasses in January. It was also a major head scratcher that Tony Snell — who started the game off red-hot going 4-of-5 from deep — was nowhere to be found in the second half. In fact, he didn’t even get a single shot off. Just a despicable quarter all around.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Giannis came into last night following his massive 20/20 game against Washington. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t replicate that exact performance, as he only finished with 22 and 10. Nonetheless, he was just never able to be his usual self. It seemed as if he (along with the rest of the offense) never got into the necessary groove of productivity.
- Had Malcolm Brogdon notched double figures, it would’ve been his 10th consecutive game doing so, which would’ve been a career high. Unfortunately, he fell two points short. Let’s hope the reigning Rookie of the Year bounces back Saturday evening in Philadelphia.
- Another performance we were all hoping to see replicated was the 24 turnovers forced in Washington by the Bucks defense. Instead, we saw the Milwaukee crumble in relation to the transition defense. Miami was running all over the Bucks in that facet of the game.
- Unfortunately, the Heat didn’t wear their Miami Vice uniforms last night. But that’s not stopping me from appreciating them. My goodness. This tweet describes it pretty well:
Here's some to-be-released apparel to go along with the upcoming official release of the Heat's City Edition uniform. That short-sleeve tee is tempting me, and I'm not even a Heat fan or from Miami... pic.twitter.com/Bdv0ycLykz— Conrad Burry (@conradburry) January 10, 2018
- Alley oops galore! At times, it felt as if I was watching the All-Star game. Count me in. That’s when basketball the most thrilling (especially if the Bucks are doing it).
- It may not have seemed like it to the casual fan, but Giannis was getting a number of calls his way last night. It’s definitely nice to see the tide turn for the Bucks, as it’s been a long time since we could say we’ve had a player that can make that happen. Let’s hope that trend continues moving forward (UPDATE: I’m typing this during the fourth quarter. That Olynyk flop was ridiculous).