It’s becoming all too common in Bucks losses. Given they are few and far between, the formula for beating Milwaukee is out. Make as many or more threes than you have all season while holding Milwaukee well below their season averages. The Denver Nuggets executed this plan to perfection to seal the win in Fiserv Forum, 127-115.
This had “easy win” written all over it for the Bucks. Most games appear easy for them without any added help, but the Nuggets finished their game against the Utah Jazz last night at 11:51 p.m. CT and weren’t scheduled to arrive at their hotel in Milwaukee until 3:30 a.m. Not only that, but they are missing two very important starters in Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap.
The Bucks were without George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo, but it still feels like no excuse given they haven’t played since Tuesday.
The first quarter went well for Milwaukee. Thanasis Antetokounmpo got the start for Brook Lopez, seeing as it was Greek night at Fiserv. They led 43-35 on 56% shooting and were clicking on all cylinders. Khris made his first four shots and Giannis was looking like he was going to coast to a triple-double.
The second quarter was a little more stagnant for both teams as Milwaukee scored 24 and the Nuggets 25. The only thing that changed in the second half was Denver finding their shot. The Bucks never did and it resulted in them scoring 24 points each of the last three quarters while Denver dropped 40 in the third.
Bad three-point defense from the Bucks combined with a lack of chemistry with the random lineups throughout the game didn’t allow Milwaukee to get rolling. The Nuggets pulled away and never looked back, led by their season-high 22 made threes on 46 attempts.
Nine Nuggets scored in double-digits. Only nine players saw the floor for Denver. Meanwhile, the Bucks made ten less threes on six less attempts. This has been a common theme in Bucks’ losses this season, of which there are only seven.
Giannis had an okay night for his standards with 31/16/9 on 11-27 from the floor. Khris continued to be a threat on offense, shooting 7-11 and 4-6 from deep for 24 points. What put this game out of reach for Milwaukee was who was missing shots.
Brook Lopez was 0-5 from deep, continuing his deep struggles this season. Kyle Korver missed his two attempts. Sterling Brown had the confidence to chuck for but only sunk one. Wesley Matthews, Eric Bledsoe, and Giannis each went 1-5 from three.
To have ten more threes rained on you while losing by twelve isn’t terrible. But the optics weren’t appealing which can be seen in the blocks portion of the box score, where the Nuggets led 10-5.
It’s still only the seventh loss of the season in 48 games for the Bucks and just their third at home. They will get back to a normal schedule after today with a single day between tonight’s game and the next.
Before the Super Bowl, the Bucks will take on the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Remember, the Suns were the only team to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks twice during the 2018-2019 regular season. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT.