There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least that’s what the Bucks are currently telling themselves and are hoping for. Last week’s road trip did not go as was hoped, as the Bucks lost all three consecutive road games, including two horrific blowouts. However, Milwaukee will aim to brush that stretch off and rebound tonight at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against the Detroit Pistons.
If one word were chosen to chronicle the Bucks’ recent road trip, it would be defense. If one were to insert an adjective in front of that word, numerous routes could be taken. Words such as horrendous, poor and non-existent all perfectly portray the Bucks’ showing on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucks allowed at least 115 or more points in all three games of the road trip. The team now allows 105.2 points per game. Only six teams concede more.
An inconsistency on rebounding also remains a large area of concern for the Bucks. The team almost seems to be forgetting one of the quintessential rules of fundamental basketball 101 – boxing out. Now, this may be just due to overexcitement of being on offense, but countless times, players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams are running the floor in transition before a defensive rebound is even recorded. Since they are already assuming the ball is theirs, it leaves unmarked offensive men in the paint, allowing them to rebound. The Bucks currently rate dead last in the league in defensive rounding percentage at 68.1 percent – and a lack of box outs are the main reasons why. Rebounding is a main concern for tonight’s game against the Pistons, especially considering Andre Drummond is their starting center. The big man leads the entire league in rebounding at 17.8 rebounds per game and it’s not even close. The next closest is DeAndre Jordan with 13.0 boards per game.
Shooting is also an imperative for the Bucks to build on in tonight’s game. Milwaukee currently sits at 46.2 percent in the shooting category, which ranks in the bottom tier of the league. If the Bucks fall behind late, lack of production from the three-point arch raises challenges of building a comeback too. Milwaukee plays better with the lead than being inserted into an uncomfortable position and being forced to mount a comeback.
Former Buck Ersan Ilyasova returns to Milwaukee for his first regular season game in the 414 as a Detroit Piston. Ilyasova is averaging 10.2 points per game. Hopefully,
a nice ovation is in store for him, as he was a ten-year Buck. It will also be Greg Monroe’s first regular season game against his former team.