It doesn’t get much tougher to swallow than riding high atop the entire NBA to being brought right back to earth in a span of four hours.
Lamenting Milwaukee’s weekend defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors is well and good, though it should be mentioned that a single loss in early January a season does not make.
Still, to fall short in a spotlight game against an Eastern Conference darling in the Raps should be a disappointment. Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the team 43 points, 18 rebounds, and four assists (not to mention the rarest of 3-5 lines from three), yet the Bucks failed to capitalize.
A long season gets shorter with every passing day, and the halfway mark is right around the corner. That a relatively random loss in the first half of the season should cause so much consternation is a sign of how far this team has come, and equally how far the Bucks have to go in their rise to NBA contention.
But contention is not on the menu today. In fact, to drown our Monday miseries I was able to scrabble together a series of articles including The Rock, that “smoke”, DJ Wilson’s renaissance, and much more. Plus you’ll get a chance to meet the newest member of the Brew Hoop family, and who could ever stay mad with that in the offing?
The Rock to Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘You don’t want this smoke’ (Yahoo!) & Giannis Antetokounmpo Buried Jon Leuer With The Dunk Of The Year (Deadspin)
For those of you following along at home (or not), the latest development in the ongoing Bucks-The Rock feud features Giannis stating he’d “kill” the aforementioned The Rock if they met in the squared circle.
I don’t know much about the ways of wrestling, but I felt it necessary to include the Deadspin article so that Mr. The Rock understands what kind of smoke Giannis would bring to a grudge match. Come at a high-flying king, best hope getting turned into a poster is the worst that happens to you.
Oh no. Giannnis Antetokounmpo is shooting 3s (SB Nation)
Is there any feeling shown by Giannis more genuine than his excited outburst upon nailing a three? For a guy as undoubtedly competitive as him it must drive him somewhat insane to constantly be harangued for lacking the modern NBA skill.
In a way his chest-thumping and guttural roar mirror the reactions of us fans every time he opts for an in-rhythm three rather than hesitation. We know how valuable the three is, coach Budenholzer knows how valuable the three is, and Giannis knows how valuable the three is. Now, slowly but ever so surely, we’re edging towards the unlocking of limitless offensive possibilities with every made and every missed three.
Let ‘em fly, Giannis. Let ‘em fly.
George Hill is doing the little things and the Bucks are better for it (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
I’ll admit it, I was worried that the George Hill of his first games as a Buck was the George Hill we were getting the rest of the season. Since those initial appearances Hill has gradually rounded into form fitting himself nicely into the backup guard rotation in 13 games.
As Matt Velazquez of the MJS says, Hill’s game won’t wow you much, but 11 seasons of experience have allowed him to contribute beyond counting stats. For example, Hill has posted the best defensive rating on the floor of the team’s guards (and Milwaukee’s defense turns nigh-impenetrable when Hill and Thon Maker share the floor and generate a 86.0 DRTG).
That trend holding up heading forward could prove critical in keeping the Bucks afloat when starters are getting even a few minutes of rest. George Hill need not be perfect to help, and so far he’s proven up to the task.
D.J. Wilson Is Making Progress (Bucks.com)
This one is important because DJ Wilson has proven himself to be important over the past month or so. In Ersan Ilyasova absence he rose to the occasion and handled his newfound responsibilities with aplomb. He made threes, he rebounded the ball, he turned into a brick wall on defense, and he allowed us to dream of small-ball in the not-so-distant future.
I think one of the most notable upsides to DJ’s emergence is how the upgrade in athleticism opens up freedom of choice on both ends of the floor. I’ve noticed that Wilson often attempts to crash the offensive glass (quite apart from the Brooks of the roster), yet instead of getting caught far behind the play on defense, he can keep pace in transition and wreck havoc when manned up. That small wrinkle gives Milwaukee a decent shot at a possession reset without ceding a hole in the team defense.
How much higher his ceiling is anyone’s guess, but to be here at all is still a genuine(ly welcome) shock.
The Social Media Section
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Jason Smith’s career highlights:
Jason Smith amazement reaction to ladder chin guy pic.twitter.com/sA2mnodhXw— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) January 6, 2019
I love that this team loves one another:
When the teacher separates you and your best friend pic.twitter.com/51wr122NFh— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) January 5, 2019
What’s more offensive? That Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade may be All-Star starters in 2019, or that no other Buck got even 55,000 votes?
Happy New Year from Bleddy the Elf!
I seriously love every DJ Wilson insta post. Each one is equal parts ironic, confusing, and very much DJ:
Julian only knows a world where the Bucks are one of the NBA’s premier teams. Congrats to our Brew Hoop overlord Mitchell Maurer and his wife on their latest draft pick!
Riley’s 2018-2019 Weekly Prediction Record: 22-16
I love me a good long stay at home (especially when you pick up at least four wins in six games), but I’m ready for a road trip. The Bucks shall oblige this week with three of their four upcoming games on the road, but first they must finish their home-stand against the visiting Utah Jazz.
The two meet this evening in what is the first of two games in the season series. Utah has struggled through the first half of the year and find themselves just outside the playoff picture in the West. Having split last year at 1-1 it is anyone’s guess how this evening will go. Expect the Bucks to handle a three-point barrage and coast their way to a victory and 5-1 stretch in the Forum.
After that Milwaukee goes nationwide with visits in Houston, DC, and Atlanta on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday respectively. The Rockets are winners of 11 of their last 13 and appear to be rounding closer into last season’s form while the Wizards and Hawks are trending downwards either due to injury or deliberate desire to lose as many games as possible. I expect the Bucks will succumb to Harden-ball while dispatching some East cellar-dwellers.
So enjoy your day, rinse the bad taste of last Saturday’s loss out of your mouth, and pray no Raptors fans come at you with photoshops of Kawhi Leonard hunting deer in a blaze orange jacket.