Well, it was not meant to be for the Milwaukee Bucks in their 103-100 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night. The loss drops the Bucks to 6-3 on the season, but they have now lost 18 consecutive games in Utah...I am no mathematician, but that is not very good.
The Bucks were down by as many as 20-points, but clawed their way back in the second half, largely due to the performance of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Sterling Brown who made some huge plays in the fourth.
For the second consecutive game, Giannis Antetokounmpo got off to a horrible start but dominated in the second half. He started 0-of-7 from the floor and could not get anything going near the rim. In the second half, though, Giannis went to work and helped the Bucks claw their way back into a game where they had no business being in. He scored 30 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists in 36 minutes. He ended the contest making 10-of-22 shots from the floor, and did all he could in the final frame with the Bucks and Jazz trading leads. However, he ran out of gas at the end and fouled out. Granted, Utah’s players flopping like fish out of water certainly did not help his cause. Still, the Bucks would not have sniffed a comeback if it weren’t for him. On to the next one.
Oh, Khris Middleton. It was a frustrating night for him, but he still managed to amass 26 points and 11 rebounds. He did not have an assist, which is less than ideal, but the Bucks only had 14 dimes as a team. Overall, he made 5-of-8 shots from deep and needed 22 shots to get to 26 points. Khris, like many Bucks on Friday night, had multiple open looks that just did not fall. I did not really have an issue with his shot selection and do not blame him for Milwaukee’s final offensive possession that ended with a Middleton travel. I love the thought of getting Khris a look for the win. but not in a crowded corner with Brook Lopez dragging Rudy Gobert out to the corner with him. Now, Middleton did lose Bojan Bogdanovic defensively on his game-winner which was...not great. You probably won’t win many games if you let Bogdanovic drop 33 points, though.
Eric Bledsoe did not do the Bucks any favors in the fourth quarter. He did do a great job at collapsing the defense but opted to shoot contested floaters that had no chance of going in. I would have loved to see Eric kick it out to the perimeter when he collapses the defense as he did, but his court vision was not great in Friday’s loss. Overall, he dropped 22 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 32 minutes. He continues to struggle from deep, as he made only 1-of-6 tries and is now shooting 28.9% from beyond the arch in 2019.
- Sterling M’Fing Brown was awesome in the fourth. While his stats won’t jump off the screen (seven points and eight rebounds), he made countless hustle plays that helped the Bucks hold a late lead momentarily. He was aggressively crashing the offensive and defensive glass and gave the Bucks a handful of extra possessions. Would love to see more of that going forward.
- Brook Lopez continues to throw up bricks from deep. He’s down to 28.6% from three-point territory this year and the majority of his misses are wide-open. While I am confident that those shots will fall as the season goes along, it’s hard to see the Bucks being as successful down the road if he all of a sudden can’t make threes.
- Milwaukee’s shooting splits in the loss you ask? 35.8%/27.8%/73.3%/ insert barf emoji here.