For the second consecutive game, it was a heartbreaking loss for the Milwaukee Bucks. We just can’t escape it as Bucks fans. They fell to the visiting Washington Wizards by a score of 107-104.
Lol. What a first quarter. I don’t even know how to put it in words, but at one point, the Bucks were down by 21. In the first quarter. When the buzzer had sounded and Milwaukee’s quarter from hell had ended, the Wizards boasted a 40-22 lead.
...And, it wouldn’t get much better in the second. Numerous second-chance points, struggles in the paint, and a RED-HOT shooting Wizards team (through two quarters: 54.3 percent from the floor and 6-of-10 from deep) ensured that the Bucks would stay behind. Heading into halftime, Washington led 64-50.
Rejuvenation! The Bucks finally came to life to begin the third, quickly cutting the Washington lead to single digits. They’d eventually work all the way to slash it to just 84-81. The fourth quarter prominently featured Washington maintaining the lead by intervals of four, as the Bucks just could not snag the lead for the life of them. Milwaukee would have a bajillion chances to leap in front, but were ultimately unable to put anything together. The Wizards would end up with the W, 107-104.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading point getter for the Bucks, tallying 23 points on the night. Next in line was Jabari Parker, who put forth a season-high 19 points, one better than his previous season high which was achieved on Sunday. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe were next in line with 17 points apiece.
The scoring from Washington was pretty spread out. Bradley Beal was the lead man with 21 points. Otto Porter, Jr. featured 17 points and Markieff Morris mixed in 14 of his own.
So. Many. Missed. Opportunities.
Bucks more or less getting what they deserve tonight. 753 chances to tie or take the lead and they've bungled every one of them.— Frank (@fmaddenNBA) February 28, 2018
Frank pretty much sums it up with this tweet. I’m seriously unsure just how many chances the Bucks had at overtaking the Washington lead (it really did seem like 753). It seemed as if every other possession, they were handed it on a silver platter. But every possession down the stretch either resulted in a poor shot selection, running to the rim to have it swatted away and look at the ref in disbelief of a no-call, fumbling possession away, or some other wacky occurrence that made every fan scream at their TV. Is it a bit alarming? For sure. You always want your team to win, especially games like this.
Giannis gave 110 percent (like always).
Despite the loss, it was fun watching the Greek Freak do his normal thing. When it was all said and done, he strung together a 23/13/8 performance, and nearly obtained the first 5x5 game of his career (he was just two steals short). Whenever he typically has this sort of performance, you always hope it bleeds over to other players in the lineup. It did in some instances, but just not enough. As for the last shot which was taken by Antetokounmpo, I’ll take that any day of the week. Sure, at first it may not have looked like the best option, but what Joe Prunty said in the postgame presser made some sense. He said they’ll take that every day of the week — getting it to their best player within seven feet. Can’t blame him much there. Looking ahead, it’s interesting to remember what Frank noted on LockedOn Bucks a couple days ago in regards to Giannis. He’s oddly quite consistent on back-to-backs. For the Bucks sake, let’s hope that trend continues.
It’s comforting to see the Bucks not roll over.
So many times, we’ve seen the Bucks get in a similar situation (down big early) and just roll over and die. I know that might sound like a lot, but I still think its a small moral win. They really did vamp up the defense in the second half and string things together. I asked Eric Bledsoe after the game if there’s any added pressure knowing who’s on the schedule and just how close things are in the East. He said there isn’t because the team knows what they need to do -- just combine the two halves they had in the last two games into one game. In the second half of last night’s game, the Bucks really did redeem themselves. Otto Porter Jr., who had 17 points in the first half, was held scoreless the rest of the game. It’s just a matter of putting forth the same intensity that garners positive results the whole way through.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- In the last meeting with Washington, Kelly Oubre was the problem being caused. He made a little less of an impact in this game, scoring just 13 points off the bench. However, some of those points were scored in crucial times. However, I’ll give the Bucks credit in limiting the damage inflicted, especially with what he did last time out.
- In the three previous meetings this season, the Bucks had beaten the Wizards in fast-break points. However, this was a different Washington team. Coming into last night’s matchup, the Wizards boasted a top-five transition defense in the last 12 games. The Bucks were unable to get any advantage in that department last night. Instead, both teams were all knotted up at 14 points apiece in the transition game. Kudos to Scott Brooks and the Washington staff for shoring up a glaring issue that affected previous games.
- Coming into last night, Eric Bledsoe had scored 20+ points three games in a row, which was a season high. Unfortunately, that pattern would come to an end, as he fell three points short. However, there were times where he chucked up some very questionable shots. Shots that just obstructed the flow on the possession or that were heaved up before any flow could be achieved. It was just one of the 10,000 occurrences that left fans angrily pulling their hair out.
- Like I said earlier, it’s pretty incredible that Porter was held to zero points in the second half. Coming into tonight, it seemed as if he was a candidate to go off. So far this season, he’d never had a particularly strong game against Milwaukee and it looked like he was well on his way to achieving one. But nonetheless, Prunty and the Bucks did a good job of enforcing a gameplan that limited his capabilities on the offensive end. That was pretty nice to see.
- In past games against Milwaukee, it always has seemed as if Marcin Gortat has tortured the Bucks in rebounding. Somehow, he only had seven last night. It still matched a team high for Washington, but it was a little odd not seeing double digits in that column for him.