Normally you’d boot up your device on a Monday morning at around 6 PM (Central) eagerly awaiting confirmation that I bothered to type the MMMR that week. That initial spark of joy when you see my name splashed across some of the most prime internet real estate expands into a small flame of happiness when I start waxing poetic about the mood of the week depending on the prior games.
I must admit: I haven’t really had a chance to watch much of Milwaukee’s whip-saw three games against the Orlando Magic. The culprit? Weird start times will be my excuse of choice. Weak explanation, you say? Observe:
- Game 1: 12:30 PM start, I’m ensconced in my work high-rise taking in vistas of Minneapolis while forced to painfully wait for ESPN’s ‘Gamecast’ to update the slaughter
- Game 2: 5 PM start, I get home after tip-off and have to traditionally walk the dog and cook up dinner. By the time I’m ready, the game is over
- Game 3: 12:00 PM start, we’re moving from Minneapolis to St. Paul and started with the first boxes of loose items and so it was ripping a radio stream on my phone to play in the car
Long story short, I’ve got no analysis here other than feeling like our post-game-1 hot takes were totally justified and that it is good that the Bucks got their act together. Let’s keep it that way for two more games, at minimum.
The Analytics Lookaround: To adjust or not to adjust for the Bucks and Lakers (The Athletic - Paywall)
This piece doesn’t feed off the same sense of urgency that was palpable after G1, but it does lodge some good points in the ever-important debate about adjustments. In particular, I thought Partnow’s point that, even if Bubble offenses have seen an uptick across the teams present, the downgrade in Milwaukee’s defensive rating would still leave them with the league’s best statistical defense.
That would seem to again shift the onus back over onto the offense and its stop-start motion in the Bubble. It shuddered back to life in G3 with Giannis leading the way and every starter shooting above 50% from the floor, so maybe that’s a sign of better things to come. Milwaukee’s machine should get them past Orlando still, but we’ll see how it fares against Miami and beyond.
10 Numbers From The Game 2 Win & How The Bucks Can Take The Next Step (Bucks.com)
Yes, I have no shame in taking two Alex Boeder’s pieces and plastering them up here. They’re helpful in their own ways, one to break down what numbers lie behind Milwaukee finally getting off the Bubble schnide in G2, the other to reiterate just how good the trio of Giannis-Khris-Eric can be when they’re on. In almost every way, when those guys play well they enable the team to play up to its highest level allowing the bench to pick up slack without the pressures of a starter-created deficit.
Now if we can just consistently get all three to play well on the same night...
Giannis Antetokounmpo finding ways to power Bucks through early starts (NBA.com)
It’s actually a miracle the Bucks didn’t drop G3 given the early start time. Hopefully their bodies don’t play too much hell on them once the second round — and the return of regular-ish start times — begins. For now, just let Giannis do the heavy lifting to get everyone in the right frame of mind, then profit.
The NBA’s Unluckiest Lottery Team Finally Got A Good Bounce (FiveThirtyEight)
“What’s this article about the Timberwolves doing here?” I hear you ask. Fair question, but I'd be remiss if I didn’t tip my cap towards the NBA Draft Lottery of last week that saw the Wolves bounce to the top pick.
Milwaukee has the 24th overall pick courtesy of Indiana, acquired as part of the exchange for Malcolm Brogdon. That slot isn’t... great, but surely someone of talent has been picked 24th overall before. Right? RIGHT????
Oh, and the data in the article about the “luckiest” and “unluckiest” teams in lotto history (i.e. those who overperformed their statistical lottery odds v. those who underperformed) is pretty interesting in its own right. Milwaukee is about league-average when it comes to luck in the lottery, but who needs luck when you’ve got a GM with a thing for Greek underdogs?
The Social Media Section
Lol, can’t believe I missed this a week ago
To be fair to Gery, this was essentially my take as well, and I like to think this sparked Khris’s G3 outburst
The Bucks aren't paying Khris Middleton a team-high $30.6M for performances like he had in Game 1 vs. Magic (14 points on just 4 of 12 shooting with four turnovers). Middleton has to show up EVERY game if the Bucks hope to go deep in the playoffs.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) August 20, 2020
Jeez, Karl just bodying dudes on Twitter
I heard @MarkJackson13 is taking shots at my defensive coaching during tonight’s broadcast.— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) August 21, 2020
Remind me, how many all-star teams did you coach, Mark? How many DPOYs? How many Finals appearances? How many of my teams became dynasties right after I left?
Giannis doing that leadership thing
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo defends Khris Middleton after Game 3 win over Magic: “[In Game 2], he had two points but he played an unbelievable game. Sometimes the game is not only about points, scoring & getting yours. He was making the right pass. That’s what a leader does.” pic.twitter.com/0ZgxQXxL6l— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 22, 2020
An annual tradition without parallel in our little corner of internet fandom
Bucks are better when they win and I can’t be convinced otherwise
George Hill is a Bayern München fan because why not
Riley’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 7-7
retiredjanitor’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 7-7
We’re in that weird zone where games that may need to be played lack any set tip-off time, but in theory games will happen tonight and Wednesday, and will be continued on Friday and Sunday if needed. Given the trends of G2 and G3, the Bucks should hang tough and finish this series in five games, but all it takes is one inexact outing on both ends of the floor and the heat gets turned right back up.
Play it safe with what we saw from wire-to-wire in G3: All signs point to this Bucks team being “back”, whatever that means in the Bubble. Get it done and get some time to re-evaluate lessons learned.