Following a disappointing loss to Miami at the end of Week 1, the Milwaukee Bucks were raising all sorts of uncertainty regarding the fate for rest of the season. However, with four games in Week 2, the Bucks showed that they are still the same team from last year and are a significant threat in the East.
This past Monday night, the Bucks looked to bounce back from their defeat against Miami with another home game at the Fiserv Forum. They were clear favorites over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been on a persistent expedition for success following LeBron’s second departure.
While it stayed close for the first quarter, the Bucks pulled away and dominated the rest of the game. While each starter had an average performance, it was the bench that shined in this victory. Pat Connaughton recorded 17 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds in just 20 minutes and George Hill scored 19 points with 8 rebounds in 19 minutes. The two of them, paired with Kyle Korver’s 3/3 shooting behind the arc, allowed the Bucks’ starters to rest a little this game and helped the team see this one out with ease.
Broadcasted on national television yet again, the Bucks traveled to Boston on Wednesday night to face the Celtics. With Kyrie Irving and Al Horford out and Kemba Walker in, the Celtics were a different team than the Bucks saw in the playoffs last year. The Bucks were hoping that they could catch the Celtics off-guard early in the season because of their search for team chemistry.
While Milwaukee had a commanding lead throughout the first half, a few threes from Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum allowed the Celtics to get right back into the game and take over. Despite a strong night from Khris Middleton, the 15 turnovers for the Bucks cost them the game. It was a disappointing loss yet again for the Bucks because they gave up a 19-point lead. Paralleling their breakdown against Miami, this loss caused questions to be asked about the consistency of this team.
After a day off, the Bucks flew down to Orlando for battle against the Magic. Both teams were 2-2 coming into the game, but there was no doubt that the Bucks were the better of the two teams. Milwaukee needed to get back on their winning ways because they have a tough road stretch in Week 3 and the start of Week 4.
With the Bucks falling behind by 13 early in the first quarter, it seemed as if it were going to be another one of those dreadful nights. However, the Bucks recollected themselves and by the end of the first quarter, they had a 4-point lead. For the rest of the game, the Bucks held onto their lead and never looked back, securing a 32-point victory. With 29 points from Giannis and another strong bench performance, the Bucks were looking promising yet again.
Saturday night was another crucial game for the Bucks, as they hopes to get revenge on their playoff roadblocks in the Toronto Raptors. This time, in front of a home crowd at the Fiserv Forum, the Bucks were not going to let the Raptors ruin their championship endeavors. If the Raptors were going to have any chance without Kawhi Leonard, they would need huge performances from Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam.
Right away, the Bucks put together a huge lead over the Raptors and it seemed as if they were going to cruise to victory. At one point, Milwaukee was up by 26 points with time being their only problem. Nevertheless, it was mainly Kyle Lowry who brought the Raptors back into the game, down by just 5 at the end of the third quarter. Despite the apparent comeback, the Bucks held strong and finished out the game outscoring the Raptors 20 to 15 in the fourth quarter. It was another strong night for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had a near triple-double with 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists. The victory was huge for the Bucks, who are now 4-2 on the season.
While there certainly should be applause for the dominant performance against Toronto, in order to be a championship contender, the Bucks need to close out games when they are up by more than 15. Boston is a dangerous team in the East, but consistency is what makes or breaks teams aspiring success. It is important that the Bucks learn from that game and the coaching staff recognize what needs to happen next time to prevent it from happening again.
The loss against Boston does not mean the entire week was below par, for the Bucks won all three of the other games. Although Giannis deserves praise for his continual success and Middleton is starting to find his rhythm, the performances by Milwaukee’s bench merit some acknowledgement. It was nice to see Donte DiVincenzo against Orlando and Toronto bringing the same intensity he brought last season in the limited amount of time before he got injured. Furthermore, others such as Pat Connaughton, Sterling Brown, and George Hill continue to shine in providing support for the starters.
In Week 2, aside from the loss in Boston, the Bucks showed that they will still be a significant threat in the East. This week, the Bucks will get to know their flight attendants because all three games are on the road. While Kawhi could escape Giannis’s eventual overthrow of power in the East by signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, he cannot escape the first of two regular season battles against the Bucks.
David’s Milwaukee Bucks Week 2 Grade: B
Week 3 Schedule (November 3 – November 9)
- Monday, November 4 at 7:00pm CT: @ Minnesota Timberwolves
- Wednesday, November 6 at 9:00pm CT: @ Los Angeles Clippers
- Friday, November 8 at 8:00pm CT: @ Utah Jazz