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Milwaukee vs. Charlotte: Bucks Take Care of Buzz-ness

That’ll do

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The hollowed-out husk of the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Charlotte Hornets by the score of 105-96. Once again, hooray for the scheduling gods for smiling kindly on early tip-offs.

All told, despite the absence of the Big Three and then some, this was a comfortable win for the Bucks. Thanks to the efforts of Bobby Portis and Jordan Nwora on offense and Brook Lopez on defense, they held a high single-digit lead for pretty much the entire game. A Bucks win was never beyond doubt, but a Hornets victory was never really on the the table. Of course, the Bucks were aided by the Hornets’ barnstorming effort from 3, where they shot a putrid 20.8%. Floor general P.J. Washington only read the first half of his namesake’s biography and followed in his footsteps with the third scoreless appearance of his career (0-13).

Although the decision to sit basically everyone rankled some, it made a lot of sense for our aged squad. Moreover, we’re about to embark tomorrow on a stretch of 11 games (8 on the road) in 21 days (major yuck), ending with a string of the Warriors, Grizzlies, Jazz, Pelicans, Cavs, Nets, and Celtics (!); I’d like fresh stars for that stretch, thank you very much. Even if we lost, that’s a justifiable decision; and, as it happens, we didn’t.

Three Things

Jordan Nwora can score.

I hate Jordan Nwora; you hate Jordan Nwora; we all hate Jordan Nwora. But it is exactly games like last night that having a deep bench guy like Nwora is useful. He may be erratic at times, but at least he can put himself in the position to be erratic; he may only have eyes for the hoop, but at least he has eyes. Ultimately, he splashed in 17 points on 7-11 shooting at multiple levels, including 2-4 from deep, and he was a key part of the victory.

Bobby Buckets came to play.

Bobby was calm and controlled in the post, both pulling up for jumpers and weasling his way past defenders to the rim. His three-ball wasn’t falling, which has been a worrying trend as of late, but it didn’t need to be; he was 8-13 otherwise for a total of 20 points. Again, when the Bucks are missing their top offensive options, it’s nice to be able to spam the Bobby button.

Brook is a beast.

It was the stat that stood out in the rapid and it is the third thing here because everyone else’s performances were largely even-keeled. There aren’t many folks in the NBA who can couple six blocks (it seems like one of his blocks was scrubbed from the books) with a 3-5 performance from 3, and Brook is one of them. His deterrence inside was a welcome return to Bucks’ interior defense of yore, even if the Hornets still spent a lot of time in the paint due to their inability to shoot from literally anywhere else.

More impressively is the fact that Brook will again be donating $500 per block and up to $25,000 to Next Door to purchase books for kids in Milwaukee. Zora texted Brook’s mom during the broadcast to inquire whether Brook would continue to donate even though he has already reached the $25,000 limit; she confirmed that he would. That’s journalism!

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • The reverb on the Hornets’ PA announcer might, over the course of the entire game, be worse than the Reverse-Eating Cam.
  • Nothing like Thanasis and AJ Green minutes before Pat and George minutes.
  • Relatedly, congrats to Thanasis on his first points of the season and AJ Green on his first free throws of his career!
  • Speaking of AJ Green, his initial returns were less than impressive, committing a turnover on one end and a foul on the other end in mere seconds. (But he later drained both of his threes - woo!)
  • A fan had a sign that they came to see Giannis for their 10th birthday. Lisa and Marques kindly noted that they could still see Giannis - just not on the court.
  • In the first quarter, the Bucks’ bench was handed a delay of game penalty. Brook looked like a five-year-old who had been caught playing with his food and Giannis waved two thumbs down. We pay these men millions.
  • After the incident, Giannis went back to using his massage gun on his quads. Relatable.
  • Mason Plumlee’s jumper? Oof.
  • At one point in the second quarter, the ball bounced off four players in quick succession as it flew out of bounds. The ref toweled off the ball before the inbounds; I’m sure that was the problem.
  • After the play was ruled dead, Bobby jumped to block a Hornets’ three and ended up deflecting it in. He keeled over in genuine anguish. He also had a nice laugh with the Hornets bench during the game. Love that man.
  • Wes also took the night off.
  • I could not understand the Hornets’ court design. Is the triangle at the bottom supposed to be a stinger? Doesn’t the hornet itself already have a stinger? Questions, questions.
  • Perhaps in honor of the World Cup, there were quite a few balls dribbled off and between folks’ foots and legs. Maybe they would have been helpful against the Dutch.
  • This may be the lack bonus bit, but believe me when I say that this is the MOST IMPORTANT takeaway from this game. During the pregame broadcast and again during the fourth quarter, Lisa and Marques discussed a statistic that indicated that the Bucks have the highest winning percentage in the league after losses since 2018-19. (This doesn’t seem exactly right - I think it includes the Playoffs? - but it’s close enough.) They used this statistic as evidence that the Bucks are tough and always rebound after things go awry.

    That is a FALSE conclusion. I’ll give you a hint why: look at the other top teams in this statistic. Can you guess? Here’s the answer: these teams have been some of the most consistently successful teams in recent years. This statistic is a sample from the population of games from the last few regular seasons. Thus, it favors teams that have been successful during these seasons - regardless of whether they lost the previous game.

    Instead, let’s look at the difference between overall winning percentage and winning percentage after losses, which indicate which teams play better than usual following losses (apologies for the massive table):

A Better Statistic

Team Winning Percentage (Overall) Winning Percentage (After Losses) Difference
Team Winning Percentage (Overall) Winning Percentage (After Losses) Difference
Phoenix 0.462 0.553 0.091
Houston 0.333 0.423 0.09
Utah 0.547 0.626 0.079
Cleveland 0.31 0.367 0.057
Okla City 0.396 0.45 0.054
Orlando 0.318 0.369 0.051
Toronto 0.548 0.598 0.05
Brooklyn 0.509 0.548 0.039
Portland 0.472 0.508 0.036
Minnesota 0.388 0.418 0.03
Golden State 0.516 0.545 0.029
New York 0.36 0.388 0.028
Indiana 0.474 0.495 0.021
LA Lakers 0.506 0.527 0.021
Boston 0.591 0.61 0.019
Memphis 0.509 0.526 0.017
Charlotte 0.435 0.448 0.013
Denver 0.618 0.631 0.013
San Antonio 0.455 0.464 0.009
Sacramento 0.429 0.435 0.006
Philadelphia 0.617 0.62 0.003
Detroit 0.335 0.337 0.002
Chicago 0.402 0.402 0
Milwaukee 0.694 0.692 -0.002
Atlanta 0.452 0.448 -0.004
New Orleans 0.457 0.436 -0.021
Washington 0.441 0.414 -0.027
Miami 0.591 0.563 -0.028
LA Clippers 0.638 0.599 -0.039
Dallas 0.588 0.544 -0.044

Two interesting things emerge. First, a lot of teams have a positive difference. By Lisa and Marques’ logic, this suggests that teams are good at rebounding after losses. But wait: the population is all games by all teams over the past few seasons, which entails a winning percentage of .500, and we’re subtracting the initial losses! That means the average winning percentage after losses across the league should be greater than .500 - and indeed it is. Second, those Bucks that are incredible after losses? They’re actually seventh worst in the league, and one of only seven teams that are worse after losses than wins. Whoops! It’s tough to win at the same clip after losses when you win nearly 70% of your games. A message to the Bucks Stats Room, Lisa, Marques, and everyone else: statistics can lie!

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