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NBA Summer League: Bucks Blasted by Timberwolves, 91-64

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Shooting sub-30% doesn’t make for the best day

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Minnesota Timberwolves v Milwaukee Bucks

If you took the under on 30% shooting for the Milwaukee Bucks in this one, let’s hope you’re cashing out big in what was a rather ugly 91-64 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

ESPN Box Score

Milwaukee went fully on-brand for the Bucks in this one, spending nearly 4.5 minutes of the initial period without a single point...unsurprisingly, they trailed 26-18. The Bucks went down deeper at 53-32 following just 21.1% shooting for the team. It felt like Milwaukee Summer League teams of old, ah the nostalgia. Despite a sizable free throw advantage, the Bucks still were down 67-52 as a byproduct of their horrific shooting. They couldn’t pull out from the nosedive in time to secure a win, and they’ll play on Sunday at 3:00 pm against the Washington Wizards. Jordan Nwora had a rough outing with just 2-13 shooting and 11 points.

One other observation: using the “too good for Summer League” barometer for this game, the only player I thought fit that criteria was Jaden McDaniels.

And on the Bucks appearance train today, both Giannis Antetokounmpo and the recently signed Thanasis watched from the first row.

Players That Stood Out

Sandro Mamukelashvili - I always enjoy how unselfish Mamu is, but he will have to work on his long-range shot. I think he’s maybe missed short on all his triple attempts in Vegas, but he did attempt a stepback in this one! He ended just 1-8 though with four points. He also had a few gambles defensively and in transition that probably aren’t worth it given he’s done a better than I thought he would job in one-on-one defensive possessions. I would not have guessed that the most reliable Bucks SL possession though was Mamu driving out of the mid-post and kicking to the weakside shooter in the corner. He got the Timberwolves multiple times with that. Also, his hook pass around 4:00 in the 3rd period to Enoch that wasn’t paid off was real nifty.

Georgios Kalaitzakas - It’s interesting Milwaukee has had him in such a primary ball handler role, and he rewarded the coaching staff by pushing in transition early before dealing to Nwora for a triple. A solid read for the recent arrival. Defensively, I’m curious how his size can translate against both taller and smaller players. His feet didn’t look all that quick against smaller dudes, but he stifled Jaden McDaniels on at least one first period possession. This steal and slam was a nice sequence.

Jordan Nwora - I thought one of his better possessions was getting the ball on the right wing, immediately ripping through past Jaden McDaniels and driving to draw free throws. That felt a bit more translatable than what he’s been doing through the first few contests. Defensively, it’s still a mixed bag. One possession that bugged me, with around 2:20 in the second, the Bucks made a ton of decent defensive rotations and scrambled all around to force an eventual contested shot...only to have Nwora fail to fully box out his man. Thankfully, Mamadi came in to snag the ball before they could get up another shot. Yes it’s Vegas, yes it’s one teeny, tiny possession and he’s shouldering a lot on offense, I get it, but it feels like the exact kind of thing he would want to work on to merit any minutes in Bud’s rotation.

Mamadi Diakite - The Cavalier rebounded from his ejection in Game Two to play a bit more within himself in this one. His jumper wasn’t falling, but he had a few decent defensive plays and finishes down low. It was good to see him more than willing to shoot though in pick-and-pop situations — even if he went 3-8 for nine points and ten boards.

If only that block wasn’t followed a few minutes later by this poster...phew.