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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn Game Two: Bucks Quit, Show True Colors in Loss

Finished. Or, at least it feels that way.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

While there was a Game 2 in Brooklyn between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Nets, only one team showed up to the arena on Monday night. It was more of the same from the Bucks as in Game 1, as this game was out of hand relatively early and ended up with Brooklyn MURDERING Milwaukee, 125-86.

Three Observations

Giannis Antetokounmpo is his own worst enemy. I have never seen a player of his caliber struggle so mightily when it matters...and most of the errors feel like simple mental mistakes. Giannis barely showed up in the first half, tallying only six points. Seeing him afraid to drive at Blake Griffin was discouraging, and Griffin has had the upper hand for pretty much games one and two. Bruce Brown outmuscling him for an offensive rebound in the third was my boiling point because it looked like he didn’t care nor was he even trying out there. Giannis does not handle adversity well, and when the Bucks are in front, things are all fine and dandy. However, with the Bucks needing to play catch up, Antetokounmpo turns into an unrecognizable player. The number of idiotic three-pointers attempted by him in BOTH games drives me crazy. Please, it is time those start counting as turnovers. Oh, and he has absolutely ZERO chance at defending Kevin Durant one-on-one. There’s not much left for me to say about Giannis other than the critics might be right because he has been outplayed by the likes of Griffin, Bruce Brown, Mike James, Joe Harris, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. BIG YIKES.

Really enjoyed Mike Budenholzer’s game plan that included ZERO adjustments. What is so painful is that it is so glaringly obvious what the Bucks need to do in order to be successful against the Nets but Budenholzer trots out a 2-3 zone against one, if not the best offenses in NBA history. Just mid baffling stuff, to be honest. Things got off to a terrible start early with the Bucks being content to fire from anywhere on the floor except the paint where they have a humongous height advantage. In fact, the Bucks did not attempt a shot in the restricted area in the opening frame. The Bucks have gone away from what they did in their sweep of the Heat and have reverted back to her ball which is why they are facing an 0-2 hole. There was a lot of chatter about the Nets being an “iso team,” when in reality, that is who the Bucks have been through the first two games. 14 assists...are you kidding me? It is too late for adjustments now because Milwaukee is COOKED.

Khris Middleton has failed us. I love his game and there’s no doubt that he has helped elevate Milwaukee’s ceiling over the last few years but COME ON. The way he has played since the series has begun is inexcusable. He has been careless with the basketball when driving to the basket, turning the ball over multiple times. It seemed like the Bucks were trying to get him going early, but it didn’t matter. Middleton would often dribble into a tough jumper or attempt a wild left-handed layup over Nic Claxton. When he was open, he couldn’t buy a bucket. Now, he did finish with seven made field goals, but none of those came when it mattered and only dropped when this game was already decided. Nothing like showing up when the game is already over. Sigh. 17 points on 20 shots is certainly not a recipe for success!

Bonus Bits

  • Pat Connaughton is unplayable.
  • So much of all this “dog” talk about the Bucks. They are not “dogs.” They act like it when they are ahead, but simply fold when faced with adversity. That to me is no alpha or “dog” attitude.
  • Jrue Holiday continues to disappoint. I am not sure what happened to him but none of his good mojo has carried over into this second-round series. Quite disheartening, really.
  • Mike James has been better than the entire Bucks bench which is something that I would have NEVER thought I’d type.
  • Talent wins out 100% of the time and there’s no chance the Bucks win four games, let alone even one at this point.
  • Bobby Portis has had no impact on this series and has been a huge letdown for the Bucks who need all the offense they can get. Getting bullied by Brooklyn reserves is a tough scene.
  • Brooklyn made 21 threes compared to only eight for Milwaukee.