Playing in Charlotte always seems to bring out the strangest play from the Milwaukee Bucks, and Monday night certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard as they fell 107-110 to the Hornets. This was quite the game of seesawing runs for both teams, but Milwaukee squandered opportunities at the end to try and prolong the game into overtime.
Giannis the Patient
Tonight, Giannis found himself flummoxed at the rim several times by Hornets defenders. It felt peculiar that this team, with its aged forwards and general lack of rim protection, could give him such problems. He also looked determined to facilitate, oftentimes chucking his passes in the midst of his divebomb towards the rim out to the perimeter. He nearly rallied a triple-double, and a willingness to facilitate assuredly helped them jack up their 46 3-point attempts, but I found it a bit more comforting that he felt a role within the offense rather than looking like someone trying to fit in.
What’s Up With Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon seems to have supplanted Eric Bledsoe as the new scapegoat for this Bucks team. His blinders on drives, a curious development given his Brogroe chemistry just a few seasons ago, led to too many off-kilter attempts at the rim or bumbling out of bounds. However, he is shooting his highest percentage of his career within 0-3 feet (64.8%) and increased his percentage of shots from that area (47.6%). The blinders are a real thing though. This team is built off its passing ethos, an unselfish quality that allows everyone a slice of the sweet scoring pie. Malcolm Brogdon is currently third on the team in terms of drives per game (9.3), but is only passing on 26.5% of those. Compare that to Eric Bledsoe, who drives 10.6 times per game but passes 34.6% of the time. Brogdon has a decent scoring percentage on his drives, but it’s easy to overlook some of that when he runs into a game like last night. No one cares if Giannis doesn’t pass out of a drive, they do when Brogdon doesn’t.
Anyone Else Missing The Play?
Under Jason Kidd, the Bucks had a common play they would run at the end of games that often resulted in a great look from the wing for Khris Middleton. After much success, it grew stale, and teams sniffed it out one-by-one. Tonight though, their final play consisted of some awkward back and forth DHO’s between Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton before Bledsoe was forced to toss up a contested 30-footer that kids practice in their high school gym. Bud is a far superior play-designer and offensive mind than Jason Kidd’s right toe will ever be, but I think the time left on the clock shot Milwaukee in the foot a bit. There’s too much time to rifle off a quick shot off a designed ATO play, but not enough to back it up to the top of the arc and run some sort of set. In this in-between land, the Bucks got caught themselves. They may’ve been better off just letting Bledsoe or Middleton iso at that point and try to stick a pull-up.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Kemba Walker’s 16 free throw attempts last night matched his career high for charity stripe attempts in a game, which he also did back in 2015-16.
- Donte DiVincenzo finally made his triumphant return to the court, replete with a white sleeve on his leg. He managed to nail both his triples, had an excellent volleyball contest at the rim and skied for an offensive board with a putback. He did seem noticeably slowed on the defensive end though, particularly on one play where he was isolated on Kemba Walker.
- With Ersan Ilyasova out and Thon Maker playing with all the effectiveness of a wavy tube man (-13 on the night), Bud opted to basically just run with either Lopez or Giannis at center tonight, to varying degrees of success. Giannis faced one of Charlotte’s spells where they were nailing everything, but still managed to finish +6 for the night. I’d venture to guess a good bit of that came with Lopez on the floor though.
- Matthew Dellavedova is getting minutes now I guess? It’s likely due to Donte’s injury, but here’s hoping his second half success can mean Delly gets re-rolled into a victory cigar.