Lacking their three starters due to injury—Giannis Antetokounmpo was a late scratch with knee soreness—and illness, the Milwaukee Bucks started 2023 with a thud, getting blown out by a healthier Washington Wizards squad 11-9. Never recovering from a first-quarter deficit, Bobby Portis paced Milwaukee with 19. Rui Hachimura led all scorers with 26 off Washington’s bench.
I’ve covered the last three games in person, and I’m a bit tired of typing this, but I must inform you that the Bucks again struggled to shoot the ball in the first half. They were 6/23 from the field and 3/14 from three in the first quarter, numbers which only improved to 12/29 and 4/15 in the second. Meanwhile, the Wizards thrived in the paint even while being hacked quite often by Buck defenders, leading 34-17 after twelve minutes. They extended that lead to 26 until the closing minutes of the second when Milwaukee found a modest offensive rhythm, closing it to 68-50 through two.
Both teams struggled to score out of half, with the Wizards only mustering 20 in the third after 34 in each of the first two quarters. Unfortunately, the Bucks could only match them with 20 of their own. Down 88-70 entering the fourth, Milwaukee got it no closer than 15 and emptied their bench in the closing six minutes
Stat That Stood Out
For a final score this lopsided, many of the typical difference-making metrics were surprisingly even... except for shooting. The Bucks finished a putrid 35.4% from the field, including 26.5% on 49 three-point attempts. One day the shots will fall again, I assure you.