Bucks

Early Adversity a Good Thing for the Bucks

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Last week, the Milwaukee Bucks faced off against two teams that are potentially between them and an NBA championship. Even though the Bucks lost both, fans learned much about the three combatants. Taking the Brooklyn Nets down to the final seconds in a 125-123 loss showcased what could be an epic ECF matchup.

The trade that sent former MVP James Harden to Brooklyn brought plenty of excitement and questions. How will Harden fit in with his new team? His second game with them showed he has not missed a step. Against the Bucks, Harden and Durant combined for 64 points. As much as it helps to have two MVPs on one team, there is a weakness in their setup.

The Buck It List Ep. 10: Bump in the Bucks’ Road

Crucial Positives In Negative Outcome

Although Milwaukee did not win, they showed they are a superior defensive team while demonstrating that the Nets’ bench depth is a significant issue. Monday night Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points while collecting 12 rebounds and seven assists. Middleton and Jrue Holiday also provided 25 and 22, respectively, to keep the game close. Coming down to a last-second shot against a powerful duo sets up a potential playoff series for the ages.

Defending Champs Take Game One

Thursday night on national TV once again — a black screen for some —  the Bucks hosted the Los Angeles Lakers in what numerous fans like to call a Finals preview. Milwaukee hung in there, but ultimately never had control, with the Lakers ultimately winning 113-106. With LeBron James contributing 34 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hitting 7-10 beyond the arc, it was a little too much to overcome. The Lakers demonstrated a vital LA shortcoming. They executed the only thing rival teams have had success in slowing Giannis down– drawing charges.

The aforementioned LeBron and KCP show allowed Anthony Davis to post a meager 18 points (8/18 FG, 0/1 3PT, 2/5 FT), nine rebounds and six assists in just south of 38 minutes. Despite his off night, crucial plays found the Bucks revert to their over-helping defense, allowing Davis to find the open shooter. In a game where AD was not himself, the Deer failed to capitalize.

A weakness for Milwaukee, though, is their bench needs to produce consistently. That hopefully comes in due time, as Thursday’s loss didn’t see a whole lot of bench involvement let alone production. A combined 16 points (7/17 FG, 0/3 3PT) from five bench Bucks leaves much to be desired. This isn’t necessarily their fault, as season-lows in shot attempts from Bryn Forbes (2) and Pat Connaughton (3) — coupled with a subpar production allotment to supposed sixth-man Bobby Portis (2/6 FG in 16 minutes) — indicates the bench just wasn’t in the cards for a productive night.

Adaptability is critical in the NBA, and the Bucks have work to do. This is contrary to previous years, where they were expected to win most if not all games. Despite fans signaling for DEFCON-1, early adversity might actually be a good thing. If Thursday night proves anything, it is that Milwaukee can still be the best competition for the Lakers, even when it seemed like they were never in control. A potential seven-game series could go back and forth, and whichever team has the best player on the court will win it all.

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About Melissa Colton

Melissa was born and raised in West Allis, WI, but currently resides in Milwaukee. She is a veteran of the United States Army and has a Bachelors Degree in Sport Management. She has worked in both the sports and music industry. Anything from Wisconsin, sports, food, and beer is her happy place.

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