It’s been a while since the Milwaukee Bucks have lost a basketball game. Sure, we’re still in the first tenth of the regular season, and we have six months to go before we can even think about the playoffs, but being undefeated is a fun place to live in, so we’re going to live in it for as long as possible! Tonight’s opponent, the New York Knicks, seek to spoil our fun at Fiserv Forum, and I think we should simply not let them. Who’s with me?!
Where We’re At
The Bucks have started the season with a paper-thin wing rotation, as Khris Middleton, Pat Connaughton, and Joe Ingles all remain out with various injuries. Just about everyone else on the roster has stepped up in their absence – most notably Bucks big man Brook Lopez – to place Milwaukee atop the standings...and atop the defensive rankings.
Fun with teeny tiny samples:— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) October 27, 2022
- Opponents are shooting 43% at rim against Bucks w/Giannis+Brook on the floor. Overall 56.9% (3rd). Last year 65.7% (13th)
- Bucks allowing 13.7 wide open 3FGA/game (6th) and 18.3 spot-up 3FGA/game (3rd). Last year: 20.3 (last) and 29.5 (last)
Milwaukee is in the third game of a six-game home stand as they welcome the visiting Knickerbockers, who find themselves with some early success of their own. With a 3-1 record and a top-10 rating in both offensive and defensive efficiency (5th and 8th, respectively), things in the Big Apple are going...well! Better than they have in the past, at least. New Knick Jalen Brunson has led the charge, and although the team’s victories have been over teams with questionable aspirations for the season (Detroit, Orlando, and Charlotte), Tom Thibodeau’s squad is trending in the right direction. The biggest change? Julius Randle and his improved decision-making. From Posting and Toasting:
After being criticized as a shot-hunting ball hog who makes slow decisions, Randle has come into the season ready to run and willing to give up the ball. It’s still too early to fully proclaim that Randle is back to being the type of player that Knicks fans can fall in love with once again, but through the four-game preseason and three early regular-season games, he’s looked like a completely different player. Randle is currently averaging 21.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 3.3 APG while committing just 1.7 TPG, the fewest of his career. And to the delight of many, he’s doing all of this at an incredibly efficient clip. While his numbers will eventually come down to earth, he’s shooting 51.1% from the field and an unbelievable 62.1% from inside the arc.
Player To Watch
At the risk of moistening the blanket...Jrue Holiday has had a rough start to the year. His defensive reputation cuts him a ton of (deserved) slack around these parts, and his effort has been there, but on offense it has been rough goings. Through three games, Jrue is shooting 31.3% from the field on 16.0 attempts per game (his highest in Milwaukee), including a putrid 25.0% on threes. Admittedly, he has logged 7.3 assists per game compared to only 2.7 turnovers, so it’s not all dreary. Holiday’s shooting woes are, just like in the playoffs last year, most likely tied to his higher placement in the Bucks’ offensive pecking order. This is a problem that can only be solved by adding, I don’t know, an All Star caliber wing back into the lineup. Time will tell on that, but tonight it’s worth monitoring whether Jrue can shake out of his cold streak.
Game 4: Against New York, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)