Milwaukee staked a lead at the outset of the game, but it evened out as the period went along with the Bucks up 26-23. Bud’s team looked lackluster to start the second forcing a timeout as they fell behind double digits, but they pushed within 47-50 as halftime came. 18 third quarter points for Jrue Holiday were critical as Milwaukee stayed within spitting distance of the Cavaliers, but still trailed 81-86. The 4th quarter fared no better for Milwaukee, as Cleveland expanded their lead on the road and sent Milwaukee packing with an L after their three-day layoff.
Jrue Can Only do So Much. Holiday has been a savior the past two games with impressive scoring outputs, and even though he had 18 in the third, 28 points on 27 shots isn’t the perfect picture of efficiency. But on a night when only Bobby Portis also had it going on that end, I appreciated his commitment to trying to make things happen against the undersized Darius Garland. His 10 assists were critical to the team staying in this one, but his six assists were definitely killers too — most seemed like they ended with easy points on the other end for the Cavs.
Milwaukee didn’t control the paint. This has been a recurring theme this season in games without Giannis, where the Buck are regularly decimated in points in the paint. 66-44 isn’t nearly the horrific disadvantage as some contests like the Heat games, but it was still clear in the fourth quarter that the Bucks had no chance of stopping the Cavaliers on their short roll attack with Mobley bludgeoning the defense within the paint. I’m more than ready for Antetokounmpo to return as another shot blocker to terrify offensive players into potential misses.
It seemed like Bud wanted to win this one? I rarely feel this way after a game where the team is shorthanded, but there was precious little of bench players in the second half outside of Joe Ingles and George Hill. With a shorthanded team, it seemed like Bud really wanted to test his core players coming off three days of rest and give them a long leash — much longer than the normal in-game playing times he gives his players. I don’t feel any particular way about this either good or bad, but I did think it was something that stood out from what was otherwise a fairly ho-hum loss.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- We got a Pat Connaughton alley-oop to Brook Lopez in transition in the opening minutes of this game. That’s an impressive connection I wasn’t anticipating coming into this game.
- I have not minded the play of AJ Green this season, and I acknowledge Jordan Nwora has given an offensive lift in brief stints for these Pat few games, but I would significantly prefer to see MarJon Beauchamp on the floor sometime again soon please.
- We got a Lopez glacial drive tonight for a layup — a beautiful sight and one I can’t remember all that often this season between his more frequent pull-ups from two and post work.
- Joe Ingles quick pass to Pat Connaughton with a minute left in the second was exactly why I adore his game.
- I haven’t thought Joe Ingles looked all that rough defensively since he came back from his ACL injury, but him getting schooled on a crossover by Cedi Osman definitely signaled some issues he may face on that end as he continues getting back up to game shape.
- There was no Jrue, no Khris, no Giannis and no real reason the lineup of Ingles-Carter-Hill-Connaughton-Lopez should be as good as it was, but their ball movement and player movement to start the fourth quarter (alongside solid shotmaking) helped keep the team within the game while their star rested. Their defense was another story, especially on the short roll, but the offense was as springy and fun as one could hope.