Just three games populated the Milwaukee Bucks’ finally week of December and half-week of January. With all teams under 0.500, and the team healthy again, the Bucks were hoping to continue their winning ways in hopefully another long winning streak.
The first game was on Monday night against the I-94 rivals in Chicago, finding themselves against a rather young Bulls side. Despite their ages, Chicago’s Zach LaVine has had an impressive season so far; hence his spot on the ballot for the 2020 Eastern Conference All-Star Team. Therefore, the Bucks needed to stay focused and suppress LaVine in this game.
As expected, the Bucks got off to a good start and led for the majority of the first half. Although they had a slight hiccup near the end of the first quarter, the Bucks held on and pulled away in the second half to secure their third straight victory. Middleton scored a game-high 25 points to combine with Giannis’s 23 points to overall allow the Bucks to have another relaxing victory.
The second game of the week, the first one of 2020, was also very winnable for the Bucks considering both Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins were ruled out. However, recollecting past losses for the Bucks, there is a tendency for the Bucks to lose against rather depleted, short-handed teams.
Things were not looking great for the Bucks early as they were trailing for the entirety of the first quarter and much of the first half. Nevertheless, Giannis brought the Bucks back into the game helped the Bucks take the lead in the second half and sustain it for the rest of the game. He finished with a huge 32-point 17-rebound night to carry the Bucks to their fourth straight victory. The win was quite sloppy, considering the Bucks had 17 turnovers, missed 9 free throws, and shot just 9/36 behind the arc; but it was enough for the victory.
The final game of the week was on Saturday night against the San Antonio Spurs yet again at Fiserv Forum. Just like the previous two matchups this week, this one was going to be expectedly straightforward because of the Spurs’ struggles this season. But there was always that slight chance San Antonio could bounce back and return to their previously exceptional form.
In the first half, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan were finding success as they combined for 31 points. But typical of the Bucks recently, they figured the Spurs out and managed to regain their composure in the second half to hold onto their lead. Giannis, Bledsoe, and Middleton finished with 32, 21, and 20 points respectively, paving the way for the Bucks’ 5th straight victory.
Free throws remain a problem for the Bucks as they continue to miss far too many of them. The previous two games, they have missed a total of 18 free throws, which is unacceptable for any NBA team.
Despite their free throw struggles, they have played well in the second half when it matters. Bledsoe has also been seemingly getting closer and closer to his previous form, scoring double-digit points in all three games this week. The Bucks will need him to continue to perform well if they want to push far in the playoffs.
Week 12 could be more challenging for the Bucks as they will be on the road for all four games. They play the Spurs again on Monday night, the Warriors on Wednesday night, the Kings on Friday night, and the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. The Trail Blazers may be the most difficult matchup considering they are full of talent.
David’s Milwaukee Bucks Week 11 Grade: A
Milwaukee Bucks Week 12 Schedule: (January 5 – January 11)
- Monday, January 6th at 7:30pm CT: @ San Antonio Spurs
- Wednesday, January 8th at 9:00pm CT: @ Golden State Warriors
- Friday, January 10th at 8:00pm CT: @ Sacramento Kings
- Saturday, January 11th at 9:00pm CT: @ Portland Trail Blazers