In what has unfortunately become a rinse and repeat process, the Bucks fell again on the road last night to the Detroit Pistons. They now head back home and take on a .500 New York Knicks team that is motored by the duo of Carmelo Anthony and rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis. Milwaukee’s playoff hopes are beginning to look bleaker and bleaker as each game goes by, especially given their tough schedule in the month of December.
In their 102-95 defeat in Detroit, the Bucks committed 33 fouls compared to the Pistons’ 11. That differential of 22 is the largest in any game across the entire NBA this season. With a superstar player such as Carmelo Anthony on the court tonight, it can be assumed that his stardom will be awarded with a few blows of the whistle on questionable calls. The Bucks will need to lay off being too aggressive, especially if they aren’t getting any opportunities on the offensive end themselves, exclusively the three-point shot. Milwaukee went an abysmal 4-of-18 from the perimeter in last night’s loss. In their last five games, the Bucks are only shooting at a 28.2 percent clip from deep. Adding in the factor that Jerryd Bayless, one of their top threats from downtown is out for tonight’s game with an ankle injury does not help the cause either.
Another uncertainty is whether or not the Bucks defense will show up tonight. We all remember the torching Milwaukee suffered on Opening Night, and its unfortunate to say that that style of play from the defense has not really changed too much. The Knicks offense has been motoring lately, as they had a 42-point first quarter in their 108-91 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. In their last three games, New York is averaging 102.7 points per game while shooting an amazing 48.2 percent overall. The Bucks will need to shy away from the lackadaisical defense that has defined them at many points throughout this season. However, as we hinted at earlier, they cannot play too aggressive; as they cannot afford to have key players such as Giannis sit do to racking up early fouls.
Perhaps the energy that will be in the arena for Star Wars Night will transfer to the floor and with the Bucks players. At this point, Obi Wan Kenobi may be the Bucks’ only hope.