Following a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, the Milwaukee Bucks traveled to Charlotte to battle the Hornets. In the final game of the road trip, Milwaukee looked to bounce back and prevent losing back to back games. The game remained relatively close throughout, but the Hornets blew the game open at the end of the fourth quarter. What went wrong? Let’s take a look at our Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets recap.
Bucks Live and Die By the Three Ball
The Bucks have a serious issue in their defensive scheme, and it has not changed throughout the first 19 games of the season. They simply can not defend the three. The Hornets made 21 three-pointers in this matchup, shooting them at 48%. In losses this season, the Bucks are giving up 18.7 threes. Opponents on average are shooting 47% from three in losses. The Bucks are unable to guard the three, and it is becoming a serious issue. The coaching is the obvious issue here, as there have been no adjustments made to counter the biggest issue in the defense. Milwaukee was able to hit just 18 out of 45 of their three-point attempts, and that will only lose you basketball games. The Bucks need to make adjustments now because, at this point in the season, teams have figured them out.
Hot Start for the Bucks, Hornets Respond
At the beginning of the game, the Bucks jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead with 8 of those points coming from Jrue Holiday. Giannis and Jrue Holiday combined for the first 15 points in the game. However, the Hornets quickly responded to go on a run and eventually score 39 points to end the first quarter while the Bucks only scored 31. At the end of the first quarter, the Hornets already hit 8 three-pointers.
Hornets Go on a Run, Bucks Go on a Run
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Hornets went on a 12-0 run to lead 51-31. However, the Bucks responded with a run of their own, going on a 17-3 run to bring it within striking distance. Giannis Antetokounmpo earned a double-double with 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter. While the Bucks outscored the Hornets in the second quarter, Charlotte was able to tack on 5 more three-pointers to make it 13 three-pointers made before halftime. The Bucks closed in on the Hornets, going into the break down only four by a score of 68-64.
“DPOY because of plays like that.” pic.twitter.com/VRC22Pjgtu
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 31, 2021
Three-Point Defense Slips Even More
The third quarter was highlighted by a poster block on Gordon Hayward by Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bucks continued to struggle on their perimeter defense. Despite their difficulties defending the three, the Bucks were able to keep it relatively close. Khris Middleton came alive in the third, hitting 3 of his 4 three-pointers. At the end of the third quarter, the Bucks were down only 3 points heading to the fourth.
Hornets Slip Away at the End
In the fourth quarter, both teams shot the three-ball well, but the Hornets were able to upend the Bucks in the end. After the Bucks took the lead, the Hornets quickly took it back. It came down to a turnover that led to a 10 point run for the Hornets that took the Bucks out of the game late. In a frustrating end to a close quarter, Charlotte went up 12 and eventually was able to win by 12.
Coaching Questions Once Again
The refusal to change the defensive scheme is becoming very frustrating for Bucks fans. Milwaukee will consistently lose games if nothing is changed. The lack of perimeter defense is concerning and the fact that it shows no signs of improving is scary. Coach Bud in the postgame interview says he recognizes the issue, so we can only hope for a better result on Monday. As mentioned before, opponents are shooting 47% from behind the arc in losses. This will only get worse unless there is a complete overhaul of the defensive scheme.
The Buck’s inability to defend the perimeter was ultimately the downfall of the team once again. The time has come to bring Coach Budenholzer’s future with the team into question. Is he really the best fit for this team? Are we sure Bud’s coaching style really going to help this team go on a playoff run? Should the Bucks move on? Those questions will hopefully be answered in the near future. Time to focus on Monday’s matchup with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. Let’s hope for lots of improvement going forward.