With the All-Star break just a couple days away and without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks had a game to play against the division rival Indiana Pacers for their last game before a week-long intermission. After going 5-0 in the previous games without Giannis, who was out due to personal reasons with his newborn son, Milwaukee couldn’t put enough consistent offense together to find a way to win. An up and down game resulted in the loss, 118-111.
The first half was arguably the worst half of basketball the Bucks have played all season. No one took care of the ball and the transition defense was nowhere to be found, giving up 27 first half points off turnovers. On top of that, the Pacers were outshooting the Bucks by a wide margin, 62%-36%.
The deficit was 23 at half. Coach Budenholzer showed little intensity in the closing seconds of the first half after two late timeouts didn’t fire up his team. Something was off about his team and it wasn’t just missing shots.
The third quarter was a much different game. The whole roster stepped up and cut the deficit to eleven by the start of the fourth. In a game that seemed all but over most of the way, there was some life to hang onto for the final twelve minutes.
Milwaukee had a final push in them. Sterling Brown found a rhythm for the first time in the game and aided in the comeback that saw the Bucks down as little as four.
That was as close as it would get. Indiana simply had a better night in nearly every facet and it effectively put the Bucks away. In a game without Giannis, it’s hard to be too upset. But the unforced turnovers and frequent lack of effort on transition defense was too much to overcome.
Donte DiVincenzo led the scoring for Milwaukee with 19 points on 8-14 from the field followed by Khris Middleton with 17 on 6-17. Khris needed to be a number one scorer to get the team on track and he couldn’t put it together tonight.
Marvin Williams made his Bucks debut and was a team-high +20 in his minutes with 9 points on 3-4 shooting.
Indiana has finally become mostly healthy with Victor Oladipo being added back to the starting lineup. Domantas Sabonis is an All-Star and Malcolm Brogdon just missed the cut. But it was T.J. Warren who torched Milwaukee from the tip. He put up 35 points on an incredible 16-19 shooting. To lose by seven points and let one guy who isn’t a top three player on their own team single handedly take you down isn’t the way you want to go into the break.
Most of the Bucks’ players will have the next few days off. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be participating (probably) in the All-Star game, Khris Middleton will join the Greek Freak as well as participate in the skills challenge, and Pat Connaughton will represent in the dunk contest.
The Bucks next game will be next Thursday in Detroit against the Pistons. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. CT.