It’s only game four of eight-two, but folks in and around Milwaukee are already starting to panic after the Bucks traveled to Boston and got manhandled down the stretch by the Celtics, losing 116-105.
It started out as your average Bucks game that we saw last year. The shooting wasn’t great but it was enough because the defense was lock-down in the first half, allowing only 42 first half points for the Celtics on 34%/30% shooting splits. The only real issue Milwaukee faced in the first half was a pair of consecutively air-balled free throws from Giannis Antetokounmpo, much to the delight of the TD Garden crowd.
Going into the third quarter, you had to be feeling great as a Milwaukee fan. Coach Bud was notoriously known for third quarter outbursts last season while the Celtics were known for the complete opposite. However, it’s a brand new season and teams will have new identities. Hopefully what we saw from the Bucks in the second half in this one and the game against Houston isn’t going to become their new identity.
The Milwaukee Bucks scored a grand total 47 points in the second half and a measly 18 in the third quarter. The boys couldn’t buy a bucket because the Celtics were stealing them first. Boston became red hot, raining threes from Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward. Once they found a rhythm, Milwaukee stood no chance. The Celtics put up 38 and 36 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, and gave the Bucks little hope of making a comeback.
I mentioned that Bucks’ fans are already starting to panic, and this game gave them all the fuel they need. Through the first four games of the season, the Bucks just kind of look… off. Their offensive system seems a little predictable and their defense has had less energy than the opponent nearly every game, hence the deficit on the offensive glass which results in extra possessions that Milwaukee can’t afford to give up.
This panic will be amplified all year by one thing, Giannis’ upcoming offseason decision. He has publicly stated that if the Bucks don’t have a contending team put together that it will be a much harder decision for him to stay in Wisconsin. Giannis certainly wasn’t the problem tonight, finish with 22/14/5 with a couple of blocks in a season-high 35 minutes on the floor.
The rest of the team, besides Khris Middleton and Kyle Korver, had games to forget. Luckily we are just under 5% through the season and Milwaukee has plenty of time to adjust, but some things have been concerning. We all know the Bucks heavily rely on threes as have a lot of teams recently. Well, when that’s your identity, you can’t shoot 41% from deep in the first half and then stoop down to 31% to end the game. That can’t happen, yet it did on a team that we thought added more outside shooting than last season. Meanwhile, Malcolm Brogdon has had a couple good games for Indiana which doesn’t help the panicking.
The Bucks have three games left this week and if they win them all, I’d say were back on track regardless of how it looks because winning is winning and getting to the playoffs healthy and with momentum is all that matters.
Milwaukee will play the Orlando Magic at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night.