Another game yet the same old story with a different opponent. The Bucks were blown out in Orlando last night by the Magic, 114-90. It was the tenth time this season that the Bucks defense has allowed 100 or more points. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the game.
The defense needs to find itself – and fast
The ugliness that is the Bucks defense continued its new season tradition of allowing 100 or more points last night against the Magic. At this point, it seems to be routine and have became somewhat of a ritual. The Bucks are in dire need of breaking that folklore, as if they don’t accomplish it soon enough, their season will be even more difficult to resuscitate. The main problem seems to be that there isn’t enough movement. Everybody seems to be standing still like a statue in a park and letting the offense walk all over them like a group of pigeons. Constant action is what transplanted Milwaukee in the top ten-team defenses last season. Supplied with their length and wingspans, it’s a disaster of a recipe for opposing teams. However, when they are stagnant and tied down by cement blocks to their feet, its difficult to create the same suffocating style of defense they became so notorious for last season. We know they can make it happen, we saw it in the Detroit game a few days ago. It’s just a matter of finding that style of play on a consistent basis and bringing that effort game in and game out.
Michael Carter-Williams is struggling and it’s hurting this offense
When the Bucks acquired Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline last season, they had different visions of what he would turn out to be rather than what he is currently showing. It was another abysmal night on the court for MCW, tallying only three points and racking up five turnovers. Coming into this season, Carter-Williams seemed to have a good number of supporters. Many were hopeful that an entire offseason under the wings of one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game of basketball would benefit him greatly. Now, there have only been sixteen games played this season, so I’m not setting my opinion into stone. However, he has not met many of those expectations so far. The lack of scoring is not the only thing that is driving Bucks fans nuts. Instead, it’s his constant habit of turning the ball over. His turnovers always seem to come at the most inopportune times, usually resulting in a run by the opponent. We saw it last night. A platter of MCW turnovers resulted in a quick 7-0 run by Orlando and quickly took the Bucks out of the game. Looking at the stats, an intriguing and glaring stat pops out. Carter-Williams turns the ball over the most when he has had 3 plus days of rest, as he averages 4.5 turnovers under that scenario. To sum up, the Michael Carter-Williams experiment is beginning to crumble fast. We just hope that the Bucks and Jason Kidd can find some solid infrastructure to strengthen his play out on the floor.
The third quarter continues to be the Bucks’ arch-nemesis
Whatever the Bucks do, it seems as if they can never escape the wrath of the third quarter. In blowout losses, they always decay in that period. In fact, last night marked the fourth time this season that Milwaukee was outscored by at least ten points in the third quarter. To say that the third quarter hasn’t been kind to the Bucks is an understatement. It has been flat out diabolical to this team. All energy seems to be sucked out of this team once it comes out of the locker room. However, like many of their other issues, this is something that can be fixed over time. It just takes the proper work ethic and determination to dig them out of the hole. The Bucks cannot let the third quarter determine the entire outcome of the game. When they are outscored, it seems as if they just sleepwalk throughout the fourth quarter, not showing any fire or will to mount a comeback of any sorts. It’s this lethargic mentality and mindset that has been so deteriorating to Milwaukee. The Bucks need to reignite that flame of hustle and animation to win basketball games once again.
Plain and simple, this season has not gone the way many Bucks fans conceptualized. That’s the bad news. The team seems to lack the boldness and conviction that is so necessary to be victorious in the NBA. However, the good news is that we are only sixteen games into this season. 66 games remain for this young Bucks team to find their footing and regain upon lost ground.