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Preseason Recap: Milwaukee Bucks 97, Brooklyn Nets 107

Onto the regular season!

Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The good news about NBA preseason is that it truly doesn’t matter, and the Milwaukee Bucks will gladly move past their 0-5 record this year after falling 97-107 to the Brooklyn Nets. Box score

From the tip, there certainly felt like a bit more fire behind this preseason game with both team playing their near starters. Intensity turned into fouls and the Milwaukee Bucks maintaining a lead primarily behind some trick shots by Jrue Holiday around the basket and a hot-shooting streak behind the arc. Brooklyn countered with a transition game that seemed to take Milwaukee by surprise. And then...A.J. Green checked in with a minute left in the first. The high-stakes took a tumble for a spell after that, with Brooklyn pushing ahead to a 33-25 advantage after one. By half, there were two reasons the Bucks were down 59-51. The first is that Royce O’Neale hit a last second halfcourt heave to tack on three extra points for Brooklyn. The second is that the Bucks were shooting 40% compared to 59% for the Nets, who were feasting at the rim (10-11 in the first half) and continued to pummel the Bucks in transition.

Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the turnovers and made shots for the Nets continued to pile up in the third, resulting in a 75-92 disadvantage heading into the final period. The Bucks left their starters in late against Nets scrubs to help the score appear closer than it really was, but they wound up falling regardless. Giannis Antetokounmpo got extended run in this final tune-up too (32 minutes), struggling to finish around the rim but still piling up 24 points and 13 boards, albeit on 21 shots.

Milwaukee’s new defensive scheme is certainly off to a...questionable start from these preseason results. The theory of sticking to shooters outside makes plenty of theoretical sense to me though, and given the rapidly shifting personnel, I’m not taking anything away from this preseason 0-5 run. In this one, the bigger problems were really the Bucks inability to slow down the Nets at any point in transition thanks to their 22 turnovers on the night. Couple that with lots of makes on rolls to the rim (16-18 at the rim for BKN per Cleaning the Glass) and you’ve got the recipe for a blowout. It all gets erased now though, as the 0-0 Bucks prepare for their opening night tilt next Thursday, October 20 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Jevon Carter has apparently shot so well, he vaulted himself into the starting lineup for this one alongside Bud opting for the Jumbo Three lineup of Bobby, Brook and Giannis with Jrue at point. At this point, Carter has made it nigh impossible for Bud to leave him out of the regular season rotation. He’s walking into midrange pull-ups and nailing them like it’s practice on top of his three-ball staying true. He went for 15 points on 12 shots, including 3-6 from deep.
  • I can’t imagine Bud was all that thrilled with Nic Claxton getting two offensive rebounds in the first four minutes of this tilt against his supersized frontline.
  • You’re a F&%$*@ baby (The Sequel)
  • With Wes Matthews and Khris Middleton out, Bud opted to put Jrue Holiday on Kevin Durant to start, letting Carter and George Hill get the first crack at putting the lockdown on Kyrie Irving. While he certainly found ways to get free around off-ball screens, they did a decent job on-ball forcing him into the type of touch looks he’s still capable of hitting given his skill level.
  • I like to joke at A.J. Green’s expense, primarily because I don’t really think he has a future in the NBA, but credit to him for fronting Ben Simmons in the second period and getting a steal. That was a beautiful sight.
  • In MarJon Beauchamp watch, he hit his very first attempt at a triple from the corner off a feed from Jevon. Later, he made a baseline cut off a Carter drive, got the ball under the basket and made a leading pass to A.J. Green in the corner. That is a play that literally won’t show up anywhere in the box score, but felt like progress from how lost he looked within the offense during the first three tilts.
  • He also got some run alongside Hill, Lopez, Holiday and Giannis against a mishmosh of Nets starters and backups. Once again, to his credit, he was going up for rebounds and while Beauchamp should’ve shot upon an initial kickout late in the shot clock, he still had the wherewithal to ensure he got a shot up. Baby Beauchamp steps.
  • We got a great dichotomy between Beauchamp and Nwora though in the few minutes after that, when Jordan initially turned the ball over but then made a cross-court pass while driving baseline to an awaiting George Hill on the left arc. Several minutes later, he made a similarly daring one-handed cross-court dish to Hill in the corner. Beauchamp doesn’t have anywhere near that level of comfort on the offensive end at this point in his career. Weighing his upside defensively versus the problems Nwora has on that end of the floor will be an intriguing subplot of Bud’s coaching approach all year.
  • Nic Claxton was a fairly impressive deterrent for the Nets at the rim all game, so it was encouraging to see Holiday take him one-on-one off the dribble in the third and finish over his outstretched limbs.