Stop me if you have heard this before. The Bucks lost yet another game in which the defense struggled. That and some other issues were some of the reasons why Milwaukee fell in Charlotte in today’s matinee in North Carolina. Let’s take a closer look at the 87-82 loss and the things we learned.
The Bucks cannot afford to have lopsided quarters. This is what really buried the Bucks in today’s game. Going into the second period, Milwaukee seemed to be doing nearly everything right. They were winning the turnover battle, getting open shots and were knocking down those open shots. All of that went out the window when the second quarter came around. Going into the period, Milwaukee had a +4 differential on turnovers. That quickly evaporated as the Bucks ended up racking up five sudden turnovers, captivating a run by Charlotte. The turnovers would be one of the reasons the second quarter was such a nightmare for Milwaukee. Inconsistency on the offensive end translated into a scoring drought that saw the Bucks score only nine points in the period while Charlotte put up 23. The momentum that was built up in the first quarter was all for none, as the Hornets quickly erased any evidence of that lead, going into halftime with an eight point lead. Jason Kidd reflected on the poor played quarter in his postgame remarks, saying that consistency is key. He noted that the Bucks outscored Charlotte in every other quarter but just need to work on putting forth vigorous efforts in all four quarters. It has become an ugly habit for Milwaukee, but hopefully once the team gels as the season goes on, blowout quarters begin to shy away from being the norm.
Giannis needs to take more than five shots per game. Yes, you read that correctly. Giannis Antetokounmpo only attempted five shots in today’s game. That just simply cannot occur. The Greek Freak is being molded into the superstar of the future for Milwaukee. He already is the best player on the team and for him to take only five shots is mind-boggling. His scoring could have been used in the unappealing second quarter that saw the Bucks put forth a measly nine points. At this point in his career, Giannis needs to garner the confidence that he can score in all facets of the game, especially in the fourth quarter when it matters the most. He hit a clutch shot in the waning moments of the game by going off glass with his opposite hand to tie the game, but other than that, his offense was silent throughout the day. His game offers such a unique tangent that many other players cannot produce. When he only takes five shots a game, that talent is wasted and points are missed out on. His instinct of scoring also results in him being sent to the line. Plain and simple, the Bucks need Giannis shooting at least double-digit shots per game. Their offense seems to plummet into a black hole when he is absent on the offensive side of the ball. Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence from the Greek Freak. If that’s the case, he needs to overcome it. His scoring is what makes him so valuable for the Bucks and without it, the team sleepwalks and seems dazed and confused.
It’s tough to win when opponents knock down 15 three-pointers and 18 free throws. No need to rub your eyes in disbelief. Yes, the Charlotte Hornets connected on 15 three-pointers. In fact, Milwaukee shot a higher field goal percentage than Charlotte, yet the Hornets won the game by five points thanks to their magnificent three point shooting. How can the Bucks improve from this? Well, its generally highly unlikely that a team converts that many shots from downtown. However, when they do, it needs to be implemented into the game plan that that’s what the opponent is relying on. Once that is realized, they can work on contesting three-point attempts and casting a cold spell onto the opponent. The Bucks were inconsistent contesting threes today, as one can see by simply glancing at the box score. Smooth rotations while help aid the cause, as crisp and constant movement will enforce a hand being in the face of the shooter on a consistent basis. The Bucks were also heavily outnumbered at the free throw line. Milwaukee only got to the charity stripe 14 times, while Charlotte made it 22 times. Being a top-five free throw shooting team, the Bucks should make it a priority to get to the line and score from there. That has to be taken advantage of, and the Bucks cannot allow easy points to a team that is shooting so hot from deep. That digs the hole deeper and deeper, much like it did in today’s game.
The Bucks will have a sharp turnaround to improve on these misfortunes, as the go up against the Denver Nuggets tomorrow. Hopefully the Bucks can wrap up the month of November by correcting some of these negative tendencies and end the month by scoring a well-needed victory.