Well, all good things have to come to an end — and unfortunately for the Milwaukee Bucks, that was their 18 game winning streak. The Dallas Mavericks ended up being the team that broke down the Deer, grinding out a 120-116 victory at Fiserv Forum.
You could tell things were a little off for the Bucks to begin this one. Add in the fact that the Mavericks were blazing hot to start off and it wasn’t a good combination. Dallas would end up sinking seven threes in the opening 12 minutes, providing them a double-digit lead at the end of the quarter. Going into the second period of play, the visitors constructed a 36-22 advantage.
Milwaukee was in dire need of a jump start, and Giannis Antetokounmpo helped provide that. Aided by some hefty contributions from Kyle Korver off the bench, the Bucks were able to chip things down to just three points moving into halftime. Heading into the locker room, the Mavericks lead had been sliced to just 59-56.
Early on in the third quarter, the Bucks would find their first lead since the opening minutes of game. However, it’d be short-lived, as Dallas quickly turned things around and took the carpet out from underneath Milwaukee’s feet. A 9-0 run for the Mavs helped them regain control and stop the bleeding, as they headed into the fourth with a double-digit lead at 86-74.
From that point forward, it was clear that the streak was in its final moments. Milwaukee couldn’t get anything going. It just seemed like an off-night in every facet of the game, and despite one valiant comeback effort down the stretch, it became truly evident that the streak was done for when Kristaps Porzingis buried a deep pair of threes.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with a game-high 48 points on 18-of-31 shooting. His 14 rebounds provided him with his second 40-point/10-rebound game of the season. He’s now one of only three players in the NBA this season to have multiple 40/10 games. Kyle Korver made a season-high five 3-pointers and finished the night with a season-high 17 points.
For the Mavericks, Seth Curry and Kristaps Porzingis each notched 26 points. This was Curry’s second game of the season scoring 20+ points and Porzingis’ 10th. Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Delon Wright all finished in double-digits for Dallas.
It was fantastic to see Kyle Korver make such an impact.
This was a long time coming. For so long, Bucks fans have been waiting for the game where Kyle Korver finally began to click — and last night was the night. Unfortunately, it didn’t pave the way for a Bucks win, but nonetheless, it was appreciated. Korver himself was especially happy about it, as he discussed getting his groove back to us:
“I’m feeling more comfortable. I haven’t been in a groove for like the past month. It’s very frustrating. You know I was trying to come up with something in this game. It was good to not just make shots but feel like a basketball player. Getting along with the defense, you want to make passes, you want to set screens. I like the whole game. I like shooting, don’t get me wrong, but I like basketball. So I feel like I was involved in small plays and a couple of extra situations. It was good.”
Coming into the season, we all knew the vital role that Korver was going to play. Unfortunately, he hasn’t come to fruition yet, but this could be the game that sets him back on track. We all know the spark he can provide when he knocks a three down to get not just the team going, but the atmosphere within the stadium going. Look for him to keep putting up his shots moving forward (and possibly getting more blocks!).
You could tell that there was some second-guessing from Bud in regards to the final moments of game.
When the Bucks were making their valiant comeback effort down the stretch, they had an opportunity slip out of their hands. Following a Giannis miss at the free throw line, Sterling Brown hauled in the offensive rebound, only to be swatted away by Kristaps Porzingis. Should he had kicked it back out for a three and a chance to tie the ballgame? Should the Bucks had called a timeout? All of those things were running through Bud’s head:
(On Sterling Brown’s last second offensive rebound and the decision he made to try and score...)
“It’s human nature. I thought he was going to score it. Credit to Dallas and credit to [Kristaps] Porzingis. He made a nice block, was right at the rim. If he makes it and we foul again, they still have to make two free throws. If they miss, it’s a two-point game. In hindsight, if he kicked it out for a three, that would [have been] great. That’s one where either the players have to call it out, or now we’re at the other end of the court. I loved Sterling’s aggressiveness [and] his rebounds. The things he did don’t show up in the box score. He went and got a rebound and tried to score it. I’ll live with that. It just didn’t work out.”
The Bucks defense was definitely off.
That’s something we’re not used to seeing. Unfortunately, the one night it was off was the time the top-offensive team in the league was in town. Dallas exposed the Bucks and took advantage of the porous defense, despite Luka Doncic being out. The pair of Seth Curry and Kristaps Porzingis really frustrated Milwaukee all night, with both of them totaling 26 points each. Budenhozler discussed that in his postgame presser:
“Not our best night. Certainly, credit Dallas. I think they’re the number one offense in the league. We talked about that a little bit. They proved it tonight. They are well coached, they execute, and they shot it well in the first quarter. I think they had 36 [points]. We have to do a little bit better job of keeping the ball in front of us. I thought [Seth] Curry, between his shooting, which always stands out, his dribble-drive floater game, he made enough of those where it felt like those were killers. He’s such a great shooter. You feel like you have to get him off of the [three-point] line and crowd him a little bit. Now he’s developed enough to make that floater.”
All the Bucks can do at this point is cleanse their hands, watch some film, and prepare for Thursday. We all know the offensive firepower that the Lakers possess, and if the Bucks play anything like they did last night on the defensive end, it’ll be a long night.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- The streak lives! Well, not the winning streak, but the 100+ point game! Though it was in jeopardy late down the stretch, the Bucks ultimately scratched back and climbed over the 100 point plateau. That’s now 52 consecutive games of scoring at least 100 points.
- Though the Bucks lost, we got this gem of a line from Jim Paschke:
"He's driving down Wisconsin Avenue at 3 in the morning. There's nobody on it!" - @Paschketball pic.twitter.com/V6512KdJEz— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2019
- Brook Lopez continues to be ice cold from 3-point land. Did any of you ever play Backyard Basketball growing up? Remember that power-up where you could make your opponent have the icy blue trail on their shot and no matter what, the ball wouldn’t go in? Well, it seems like Brook has that permanently. He shot 1-of-8 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from deep. If there’s somebody who needs to find his shot on this team, it’s him.
- I don’t have the highlight, but Giannis scored another wild and-1 last night. I’m still in disbelief at how he did it. He seemed completely suffocated, yet, somehow, he was able to get the shot off before hitting the ground and all while absorbing the contact. Truly impressive.
- Despite the loss, Milwaukee’s 24-4 record is still tied for the best start in franchise history through the first 28 games of a season (1971-72, 1973-74).
- It was a career night for Donte DiVincenzo! His 10 rebounds and nine assists were both a career high.