The Bucks had a lid over their rim in the first half, shooting only 39.5% from the field and a paltry 3/19 from behind the arc. The second quarter was particularly ugly, highlight dunks from Giannis Antetokounmpo notwithstanding.
The FIRST MEAN MUG of the season!! pic.twitter.com/BW1sHbFgzo— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 28, 2020
The second half was more of the same, with the Knicks reinforcing their lead and the Bucks struggling to make enough shots to claw their way back. It was extremely unpleasant to watch, but the fact of the matter is that the Knicks spent most of the game shooting the lights out while the Bucks simultaneously needed to look up what a “basket” was.
Every team is going to have about 8 or 10 games when they can’t throw it in the issue and 8 or 10 games when the opponent can’t miss. The best teams can overcome one or the other at a decent rate, but if you get both in the same game, teams win in the low single digit %s https://t.co/vNE0LljrbI— Anchorage Man (@SethPartnow) December 28, 2020
Stat That Stood Out
Do I even need to say it? The Knicks ended the game at 16/27 while the Bucks finished at 7/38, but the real story was written before the fourth quarter even began, where New York was shooting 59.5% from three while Milwaukee was at 14.6%. I don’t care who you are or what league you’re in, it is virtually impossible to keep a game close when the three-point disparity is that drastic. The Bucks figured out that they could get into the paint whenever they wanted to, but they converted poorly there too (by their standards) and simply couldn’t generate enough points to keep up.
For all of the Bucks doomsayers out there, please note that this was not the same kind of game that exposes Milwaukee’s weaknesses. While there are more than enough reasons to criticize Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks’ defensive strategy, outlier shooting performances (in both directions) are enough to erase any margin of error that a fine-tuned scheme can provide. Tonight’s game was not a case of a certain type of play resulting in wide-open threes that were hit at expected rates; tonight’s game was the worst case scenario coming to life, and against the Knicks of all teams. Annoyance is the main takeaway here, not despair, at least when it’s the third game of the regular season.