Well, that certainly was not as much fun as last night! The Milwaukee Bucks controlled the majority of Wednesday’s affair against the Miami Heat, but things turned sour at the end of the third quarter en route to a 119-108 defeat.
Playing the Miami Heat is always frustrating, especially when you don’t knock down 29 three-pointers. The game got off to an UGLY start with both teams refusing to score and constantly trading misses. However, what kept Milwaukee’s head above water was their ability to create turnovers and hit three-pointers. In fact, the Bucks held a breif 14-point lead...and then Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic happened. The Heat shot a better percentage from the field throughout, but the Bucks kept draining threes...until the fourth quarter.
What Did We Learn?
Thanasis Antetokounmpo has gotten been the first man off the bench the last two games for the Bucks, seemingly replacing D.J. Wilson’s spot. Thanasis plays hard whenever he is on the court but 10 minutes feels like a lot for a player of his caliber. He moves well without the ball offensively, but when the ball is in his hand he is very apprehensive because he cannot create on his own. However, he is great at getting under opponents’ skin.
I thought the lineup to end the first and third quarters was atrocious. However, the lineup which head coach Mike Budenholzer trotted out at the end of the first that consisted of DiVincenzo, Forbes, Connaughton, Portis, and Thanasis took the cake.
I would feel better if Sam Merrill or Jordan Nwora got the burn, and I get it, they might not be the best defensive players but they have shown they can score in a small sample size. The Bucks could mask their lack of defensive presence by playing just one of them on the floor.
It was a mixed bag of results for Donte DiVincenzo in the loss. He started off the night shooting well and caused a few turnovers by playing the passing lanes. He is still far from polished and his finishing around the basket leaves a lot to be desired, much like last season. It looks nice when he gets there, but the finishing is...yikes. He does make some crafty passes when passing out of a potential layup in traffic, though. Additionally, he got lost multiple times defensively in the second half leaving Heat shooters open from all over the court. In all, he ended with 15 points, five rebounds, and three steals.
It was a great night of playmaking by Giannis Antetokounmpo, even though he continues to struggle on that end of the floor. Like everyone else, Giannis got off to a rocky start which included some turnovers and questionable shots. At this point, I would be more than fine if he ditched the baseline jumper and worked more on his footwork in the post. Even though he was not getting much to go offensively in the first half, he impacted the game the most as a distributor. I was a big fan of some of the pick and pop action the Bucks ran with Giannis as the ball handler that got Bryn Forbes and Pat Connaughton (who was actually knocking shots down) open. While it might not have been the prettiest performance, he still tallied 26 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals in 38 minutes. The salt in the wounds though, was him losing Kelly Olynyk defensively who knocked down a momentum-shifting three and getting out-hustled on an offensive rebound by Kelly. He also went to the foul line just four times...
Pat Connaughton provided the Bucks a nice spark offensively. The Bucks failed to get much going in the first half but Connaughton’s three-ball was falling on Wednesday night. The majority of his makes came from well behind the arch off assists from Antetokounmpo. His defensive performance was less pleasing, but much of that has to do with him not being put in the best positions to succeed. It has been a rough start to the season for Pat and the Bucks desperately need him to make shots in order to return value. When he is not making shots, what does he bring to the table?
- Well, Khris Middleton is human after all. He was hounded all night by Avery Bradley who did a great job on him defensively, holding Khris to eight points on 3-of-15 shooting. Middleton did miss his open shots, though, and most of them finished short. Fatigue? Anyways, Middleton did also contribute with nine assists in 37 minutes. Make no mistake, though, he was awful in the defeat.
- Jrue Holiday was hot and cold last night. He did make a handful of three-pointers from the parking lot and was looking for his jumper like in Tuesday’s contest. However, shots refused to fall for him in the second half. The most frustrating stretch was where he had multiple shots rim out in the fourth quarter with Miami pulling away. He added 13 points, four rebounds, and five assists.
- Brook Lopez was quiet in 26 minutes, scoring only seven points on 3-of-11 shooting.
- D.J. Augustin was bad...which might be putting it lightly. It is clear that he is still trying to figure things out as he was lost offensively multiple times yesterday.
- The Bucks made one more three than the Heat, but they shot 16 more free-throws than Milwaukee. I hate complaining about referees and flops/missed calls, I just hate how refs reward flopping, Maybe the Bucks should take acting lessons from a few teams...