In the course of the universe there tends to be a strong trend line towards balance. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Stuff like that.
If getting apocryphally bopped on the head by an apple wouldn’t unlock this insight in your mind, you can certainly find proof of its validity in the Milwaukee Bucks’s season thus far. Their preseason record? Zero wins, five losses. Their regular season record? Five wins, zero losses.
More impressive than their applicability to validating of the law of universal gravitation, though, has been Milwaukee’s keen ability to grasp their way to victory in four out of the five games (Rockets game aside). The win over Philly was a slugfest that rewarded the team that could generate a basket or two more when it counted late. Brooklyn required a strong comeback, the Knicks game was an exercise in pacing before breaking out in the third quarter, and a speedy Hawks team could’ve been a real challenge to our slower centers if Mike Budenholzer hadn’t orchestrated the right mix of defensive guard play to staunch the bleeding before it ever really got going.
These are five games we can add to the ever-growing list of instances over the past three seasons where the Bucks have systematically gotten themselves over the finish line regardless of the opponent or game states. Much is powered by Giannis Antetokounmpo, yes, but since the arrival of Jrue Holiday in 2020, the number of ways the team has been able to eventually win out seems to have markedly increased. We are no longer the shatteringly dominant team that will routinely win by 15 or more most nights; instead, the Bucks continue to add experience after experience of games in the balance in which they apply just the right amount of pressure in the right spot before tipping the scale decidedly in their favor.
It isn’t always pretty and it is never stress-free for those of us at home, but its effective. That’s what counts now and will count next spring and summer.
Somehow, Jrue Holiday still feels underrated (SBNation)
This piece was featured on our site last week when it published at the mothership, but I figured it was worth including here because 1) We need to fill up the blank space somehow 2) It is worthwhile spotlighting when the Bucks get a little shine and 3) Vox Media solidarity.
The author must be in Philly given the number of quotes obtained in and around the season opener against the Sixers, but that’s OK. It does drive home how under-the-radar Jrue’s career has been and, arguably, continues to be even after he won a title with the Bucks. Such are the tribulations of defense-focused guards in a sport stacked with scorers at the 1 and 2 slots.
NBA Power Rankings: Bucks on top after first week (CBS Sports)
Power rankings: They mean nothing and are an exercise in hitting content quotas set by your overlord at whatever ramshackle media organization you happen to be scratching by with. It is rare I would include them on the MMMR, but it is rare that anyone cares enough about the Bucks to grant them top status in one of these exercises. So, hats off to you, CBS. And enjoy the clicks.
Milwaukee Bucks continue to seek naming rights sponsor for Deer District (Milwaukee Business Journal)
I said it months ago when the team announced they were looking for a gazillion dollars to name a city block of concrete: I believe we can gather up enough resources between the $5 a month Vox budgets for the site and helpful donations from the community to make a bid for the “Brew Hoop Deer District” come Fall 2023.
Or, as posters are wont to write it: Brewhoop (or BrewHoop) Deer District.
Anywho, I hope Woodman’s actually ponies up for the naming rights. ¡Ay, caramba!
It really is fascinating that Brook Lopez appears to have bested Father Time for even just a little while longer. Another year older, carrying a new back, asked to be even more active defensively than ever before as a Buck... and he’s paying off. Astounding, really, even if the sample is minuscule so far.
The Bigger They Are … the Harder the Fit (The Ringer)
Focuses on the duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert up here in the Twin Cities which is an experiment of interest to anyone who likes wacky roster ideas. But also drives home how special it is for the pairing of Lopez and Giannis to be as effective as it is since they are both (roughly) seven-footers. Their play styles differ significantly, but that’s still a lot of height and weight to manage around.
He’s back and interrogating the question that may be the key to just how far the Milwaukee Bucks can go this year. This week’s FPOTW winner is retired janitor with, “Does preventing 3’s, lead to better defensive 3pt%?”. There is some good data in there that we can tack on to the large (and ever-growing) literature trying to answer basketball’s equivalent of the chicken or the egg paradox.
If I were in coach Bud’s ear, my suggestion would be simple: Make all your threes and make sure every opponent misses every three. Then? Profit.
Know Your Enemy
- Detroit Pistons - Detroit Bad Boys - Starters dominate Golden State to notch second win of season
Mostly recent game coverage over at DBB, but the Pistons are heading into their two game mini-series against the Bucks with a little pep in their step after dispatching the Warriors. Klay Thompson wasn’t available for Golden State, but its still a nice victory for rebuilding Detroit.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - Canis Hoopus - Is it Time to Worry About the Timberwolves’ Third Quarter Performance?
Positively Bucks circa 2021-2022 season of the Timberwolves here. We know all about having an entire 12 minute frame where the team more or less decides to collectively forget what it is like to play basketball. That issue ended up not being a key backbreaker for Milwaukee, so its more than likely the Timberwolves will ride it out just the same.
- OKC Thunder - Welcome to Loud City - Saturday night takeaway
The Thunder have ripped off three straight wins against the Clippers (twice) and the Dallas Mavericks, thanks in large part to the play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. For the past few seasons its been a question of when, not if, SGA would take the next leap and drag the team with him. Is this the year he does it? And if so, is he doing so as a member of the Thunder after the trade deadline?
The Social Media Section
Purple jersey night was a resounding success
Bucks haven’t lost a meaningful game since MarJon entered the league. Stay woke.
Slangin’ egg cubes might be worse than slangin’ NFTs lol. Respect that hustle.
My mans going to try bringing Kyrie around over some mugs of office K-Cup coffee and Biscoff cookies lol
I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 29, 2022
The least Pat could do is have his design guys come up with something that doesn’t look as bleak and blasé as every other “luxury apartment complex” sprouting like weeds across this nation
I’ve seen the prequel to this movie
Kerr says DiVincenzo will not travel on the upcoming roadtrip. “Hamstrings are tricky,” Kerr stated.— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) October 28, 2022
Expect more Ty Jerome minutes, Kerr said. “That’s why he’s here.”
For the love of all things just and holy, Silver, move the Kings to Las Cruces yesterday
Bucks legend Jim Doyle
Former Gov Jim Doyle and several Milwaukee Bucks stars arrive alongside Alex Lasry, former Dem U.S. Senate candidate and Bucks executive pic.twitter.com/sixauJ7VFw— Matt Smith (@mattsmith_news) October 29, 2022
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 3-2
Milwaukee’s Actual 2022-2023 Record: 5-0
Quickly turning into yet another retired janitor Special where it always makes more sense to back the Bucks to win every single game than any other outcome. If I end up falling 30ish games short in predictions because Milwaukee just ran out the league’s first-ever 82-0 season, so be it. I’m willing to sacrifice a little pride for immortality (followed by our laughingly flaming out in the ECSF again or something).
Four games this week with the first pair against the Detroit Pistons rounding out the team’s long home stand to start the year. Detroit is on the menu tonight and will be again on Wednesday. Then, the team makes their annual pilgrimage to pay homage to me with an absurd 9 PM Central tip off time on Friday night — national TV games, folks! Finally, it’s back to Milwaukee to host the Thunder on Saturday.
I feel good about all four, actually. The Pistons are up and down, though exciting. Minnesota has basic fit questions to answer (even if they have firepower to overcome structural weaknesses). The Thunder have been on a tear, but started the year a comforting 0-3. Put me down for perfection and the Bucks keeping 82-0 going.