This edition of the TO:SS Blog, is brought to you by the term: “lack of.” Why? Seems the Milwaukee Bucks suffered from a lack of many things, in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Let’s give credit to the Nets first. After losing James Harden to another hamstring injury, they knuckled up and got help from their role players. Blake Griffin tallied a double-double. (18 and 14) Mike James (Who?!) came up with 12 and 7. The Nets got help, the Bucks didn’t.
Lack of bench production, was a culprit. There was a time where Milwaukee’s bench only scored 6 points. Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis were the only reserves to have scored. Once the game was in hand for Brooklyn, Bud emptied the bench and the bench scoring went up to a robust 17 points. I’ve mentioned on TO:SS before: the Bucks MUST have consistent bench scoring, to get where they plan on going. This clearly didn’t happen in Game 1.
Lack of shooting, was a culprit. Milwaukee has had a shooting performance like this before, in these playoffs. In Game 1 of their first round series against the Miami Heat, the Bucks shot 5-of-31 from three. (Another game they didn’t get much production from the bench.) They adjusted, went to mid-range and paint touches, and pulled out the win. This isn’t the Heat they are facing. The Nets are a better team and it’s not close. Shooting 6-of-30 from three, against a team like this, choosing not to take advantage of an obvious advantage, is a recipe for disaster. Which takes us to the next thing lacking.
Lack of self-awareness, was a culprit. I understand Mike Budenholzer wants this team to let it fly from distance. At some point, you have to reign your squad in and coach them. If you see the 3-point shot isn’t dropping, you adjust. Brooklyn doesn’t have the size to match Milwaukee, you punish them for it. Yes, the Bucks did take it inside, outscoring the Nets 72-48 in the paint. But their stubbornness to ditch the three, bled over to their defensive effort, and doomed the Bucks in this contest. Coach Bud and every Bucks who played, have to own it.
Regardless of what negative Bucks Twitter tells you, this series is not over. It’s. One. Game. Stealing a playoff game on the road is difficult to accomplish in this league. Much of what happened in Game 1: Griffin double-double, lack of Bucks bench production, shooting 20 percent from three, won’t happen moving forward.
If you thought this was going to be another sweep, you played yourself. Anyone with sense knew this was going to be a slugfest. The Nets delivered the first blow. Bucks will get another opportunity to answer, Monday night.