Without their star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks had lost their previous game against the Los Angeles Lakers and were looking to piece together a couple of wins. The week would soon be shortened for the team after the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday afternoon, the short-handed Bucks were in Phoenix to battle the Suns, who despite having Devin Booker, have not had the greatest season so far. They are nearly eliminated from playoff contention and are likely in search for another promising draft pick.
The Bucks were of course without Giannis for this game, so Ersan Ilyasova took his place in the starting lineup. It was going to be up to Middleton and Bledsoe to carry this team; however, their contributions were not enough. The Suns led for the entirety of the game and were even up by 25 in the second quarter. This was in-part due to not only a monster 36-point night from Devin Booker and a triple double by Ricky Rubio, but also a 47-point first quarter from the Suns. Middleton did do all he could, scoring 39 points, and Bledsoe had 28 points. But they were not enough to stop the Suns from taking this one. The final score was 131-140 as Buddenholzer and the Bucks searched for ways to get a win without Giannis.
The second game of the week came against the Denver Nuggets and was also away from home. Given the sequence of recent events in losing two straight games, Buddenholzer took this game as an opportunity to rest most of his starters, as Brook Lopez, Middleton, and Bledsoe all did not play.
Given the Bucks were playing their reserves and bench mostly. not many would be surprised to hear that the Nuggets won this one. There was a small glimpse of hope early in the first quarter as the Bucks were in the lead but the Nuggets pulled away and held on to the lead relatively tight for most of the game. there was a small comeback from the Bucks near the end of the third quarter but it was unsuccessful in the end. The final score was 95-109, with the Nuggets giving the Bucks their third-straight loss. Kyle Korver was the leading scorer for the Bucks off the bench with 23 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Korver made 5/11 three-pointers, which will be useful later in the season.
As we already know, what came next this week is rather unprecedented territory. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the brink of spreading rapidly across the United States, the NBA has suspended the season and has not yet given a timetable on what to expect in the future. This came soon after the news broke out about Rudy Gobert contracting the virus and the Jazz vs Thunder game getting cancelled right before tip-off.
It is unfortunate that the only way to prevent the spread of the virus is to postpone all sporting events from the foreseeable future. However, it does allow for the Bucks to get healthy with rest, especially Giannis. Whether or not the season resumes, it is essential to remember how successful the Bucks were this season. As the best team in the league, the Bucks proved that they are building a dynasty that will rule in the Eastern Conference for many years to come. Hopefully, the Bucks have not played their last game of the season yet, as it did not end off like they wanted it to. Milwaukee had a significant chance at going to the NBA Finals this season, so hopefully they will get a chance to prove themselves once the coronavirus becomes more contained.
David’s Milwaukee Bucks Week 21 Grade: C
Milwaukee Bucks Week 22 Schedule (March 15 – March 21)
- No scheduled games.