Are we sure the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets played Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series? Because it looked exactly like Game 1; bowling shoe ugly.
The Bucks shot 6-for-30 from three in Game 1. They followed that up with a scorching 8-for-28 in Game 2. Khris Middleton shot 6-for-23 in Game 1, then came alive in Game 2, going 7-for-20. Giannis took a giant step back from his 34 point, 11 rebound performance in Game 1, contributing 18 and 11. (Credit that, somewhat, to Brooklyn collapsing in the paint on defense.)
Milwaukee, once again, held advantages in paint points (52-38), and rebounds (44-42). Yet, once again, it lead to a crushing defeat. This time a 125-86 loss that the Bucks NEVER had a lead.
I was hoping to see more in-game adjustments from Mike Budenholzer, but, you guessed it, we didn’t and it’s being noticed by everyone. (Including the guys on TNT’s “Inside The NBA.”) This is an unfortunate theme throughout Bud’s tenure. (That Miami sweep won’t cool that hot seat, if the Bucks go down in flames in this series.)
This series has been disheartening to this point. Early in both games, it felt as if there was no life, no energy, coming from the Bucks. It felt as if they were just a couple of adjustments and made baskets away from getting right and securing at least one victory in Brooklyn. Then the Nets would squash any of those thoughts. They do what great teams do; put your foot on the gas and don’t even think about using the brake.
Must-win gets thrown around far too loosely, but Game 3 is a must-win. Bucks must protect home court and stave off an 0-3 death knell. Everyone from top to bottom must be better. Take the shovel you’ve used to dig your own hole and use it to start burying the series deficit.