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Bucks vs. Heat: Schedule Loss Dooms the Bucks

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It was a nightmarish night of travel for the Milwaukee Bucks.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Miami Heat 94-87 on Saturday night...the Bucks looked like a team that got into Miami at 4 AM ET. Miami put the clamps down on the Bucks defensively, but Milwaukee hurt themselves by bricking and airmailing a ton of good looks. The Bucks looked gassed which is totally understandable, translating to shooting 37.3% overall and 20.9% from deep, which certainly will not win you many games. However, it was remarkable that the Milwaukee Bucks even had a chance to win this game.

Three Observations

Giannis Antetokounmpo put up a dud.

He had a superman effort last game in Boston, so to see him struggle tonight was not a real shocker. The Miami Heat have done a tremendous job at showing bodies defensively to wall-off Giannis and force him into committing a turnover or taking a heavily contested shot. The Greek Freak ended the game with 9 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 turnovers in 34 minutes. Like everyone on the Bucks, he was spent. He made only 3-of-12 shots and never really got into any rhythm whatsoever. Make no mistake, Antetokounmpo has struggled in his career against the Miami Heat. Thankfully, he’ll have a few days to rest before the Bucks Christmas Day showdown in New York against the Knicks.

Have you ever witnessed so many horrible misses?

I mean it was unfathomable how many bricked or airmailed shots the Bucks had throughout the night against the Heat on Saturday night. A lot of those were open looks as well, and it was a game where the Bucks couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn. Khris Middleton was 2-of-11 from three, Lopez was 1-for-7, Bledsoe was 0-of-4, Giannis was 0-for-2, and Tony Snell (3-of-8) was the only Buck to hit more than two three-pointers. Thon Maker had a few ugly misses that rocketed off the backboard, Giannis airmailed consecutive jumpers, and Brook Lopez had more shots than points. Oof.

The Bucks are a resilient basketball team.

It’s truly remarkable what a difference coaching makes in the NBA. This is a game that last year the Bucks would have totally packed it in after the first quarter. Even when the Miami Heat kept building their lead to 15-points, the Bucks would respond with little mini-runs that would just give them just enough life to live for another possession. A lot of things went wrong for the Bucks in Miami on Saturday night, but they stuck to their game plan throughout and did not lay down.

Bonus Bucks

  • Sterling Brown and George Hill both played well off the bench for the Bucks. Brown added 9 points and 4 rebounds while Hill chipped in 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. They combined to shoot 8-for-13 and provided the Bucks with much-needed offense off the bench. They were the only two Bucks to shoot above 50 percent from the field.
  • Malcolm Brogdon’s absence was felt. He was out resting his hamstring, and this was a game where the Bucks could’ve really used his outside shooting to help close the gap. Health is of the utmost importance.
  • D.J. Wilson did some things! His defense has been really stellar the last few games, and he’s very mobile on that end of the floor. He’s long and lanky but has above average footwork that allows him to keep up with opposing players. In 26 minutes, he scored 5 points to go with 8 rebounds and it’s hard not to be pleased with how well he’s played during his extended run. Excuse my cracked laptop screen and crappy film shooting!
  • Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points with 6 assists and really was not heard from much throughout the game. He did do a good job at creating contact and getting to the foul line where he made 9-of-11 free throws.