Defense has long been an integral factor behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ success. In fact, it’s hard to argue against the notion that the Bucks have been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA over the past few years.
Simply put, this just hasn’t been the case for Milwaukee to start the 2023-24 campaign.
Milwaukee Bucks Falter Against Raptors
Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors is a clear testament to this notion. The Raptors were literally the worst offensive team in the NBA entering Wednesday’s matchup, with the squad averaging a league-low 99.5 points per game to start the new season. Toronto was also shooting just 42.5% from the field, which was ranked 27th in the NBA.
Thanks to the Bucks and their lackluster effort on the defensive end, the Raptors were able to pull up their numbers significantly on Wednesday night.
Toronto dropped 130 points over the Bucks, with all five starters scoring at least 14 points. As a team, they shot 51-of-91 overall, making 56.0% of their total attempts.
To say that Milwaukee put in a poor effort on the defensive end against a (previously) offensively-challenged Raptors side would be an understatement.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Isn’t Loving It
After watching his team get blown out for the second time in four nights, Giannis was asked if he felt a bit surprised by how the Bucks have struggled on the defensive end, particularly with their inability to click as a unit. Antetokounmpo responded affirmatively:
“For sure,” he said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “There’s going to be a lot of struggles and it’s going to be learning curve for all of us. We gotta know when we gotta help and when we don’t have to help. And there’s going to be times when we try to help our teammate and they’re going to knock down the three.
“But at the end of the day, we’ve got to keep putting effort behind our defense and sometime it’s going to work as a system and sometimes it’s not going to work. And at times it did not work. They were moving the ball, they were knocking down shots. They scored 130 points. They played extremely well.”
While Antetokounmpo isn’t denying that the Bucks have struggled of late — especially on defense — the seven-time All-Star remains confident that they will figure things out sooner rather than later.
Their first chance to prove this will be on Friday against the 2-3 New York Knicks.
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