I have been anticipating the start of the 2018-19 Milwaukee Bucks season, like no other. It’s the first time since the Big 3 days of Allen, Robinson, and Cassell, I could not wait for the season to start. (Don’t get it twisted, I am always excited for Bucks season. This is just something different. Something special.) All the time for talking and exhibitions were over. It was finally time to start the long NBA journey, last night against the Charlotte Hornets. (Love the court, love the unis. Not better than the Bucks though.)
The first half saw straight domination by the Bucks. This highly touted Mike Budenholzer offense, was flowing like water. Easy. Bucks slashers could get whatever they wanted at the basket. Why? The Bucks bombarded the Hornets with three point baskets… successfully. The Bucks put the Hornets in double jeopardy. Either you collapse your defense in the paint and let the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo kick it out to open shooters for three, or rotate on the perimeter and get slashed by cutters going to the basket. This method worked well in the first half, as the Bucks went into halftime with a 67-54 lead.
The second half wasn’t so smooth for the deer. Charlotte tightened up defensively under their rookie head coach, James Borrego. The Hornets began to switch everything and the Bucks fell for the trap. The crisp, free flowing, ball movement had ceased. The defense for the Bucks was already a work in progress, but even more so in the second half. Kemba Walker (41 points) got hot and couldn’t be stopped. With 21 seconds remaining, a one point lead, and the shot clock dark, the Bucks would have to dig in and stop the Hornets. Kemba drives to the basket with 9 seconds remaining. John Henson is there to alter his shot and Kemba misses. Instead grabbing the rebound, Henson knocks out to the perimeter and it ends up in the hands of Marvin Williams. Williams passes it to a wide open Nicolas Batum for three, and he misses it… badly. Bucks win and start the season 1-0.
This was a fun (yet heart palpitating) basketball game. The Bucks did some really good things offensively. There is room for improvement as Coach Bud said in his postgame presser. This is to be expected. It’s game 1 of 82 and some people are already declaring this the same ole’ Bucks. Stop it. There is so much to be unlearned from the last four seasons and so much to learn in these new offensive and defensive systems. That takes time, not four preseason and one regular season game. Bucks will be better. In the meantime,enjoy the team for what they are currently. I have a feeling they will morph in something special as the season moves along. Patience, folks.