The Milwaukee Bucks were riding a five-game winning streak when they welcomed the Denver Nuggets to Fiserv Forum. Confidence was high as the Bucks had beaten the Nuggets on their last road trip. Jrue Holiday was back. What could wrong? As it turned out: everything. The Bucks were blown out of their own arena 128-97, and it wasn’t even THAT close.
Ice Cold Shooting from Milwaukee
From the onset of the game, it was clear Milwaukee was going to struggle shooting the ball. Besides a season-high eight dunks from Giannis Antetokounmpo, there was little confidence in the Bucks’ shooting game. When the dust settled, the Bucks shot only 40.5% from the floor and 27.5% from deep. Paragraphs could be written analyzing what went wrong, what forms might have been off, or how good the Denver defense was. However, it can all be summed up by this video:
— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) March 3, 2021
Is It Cause for Concern?
It is hard not to react quickly to this loss. After all, the Bucks had lost five games in a row before their five game winning streak. However, the Bucks are still the second-highest scoring team in the NBA and the fourth-best three-point shooting team. This is not the kind of offensive performance the Bucks will put out on a night-to-night basis. In short, no; it is not a cause of concern. It is worth noting that the Nuggets have the NBA’s sixth-best three-point defense. Bad shooting happens against this team.
What About Defense?
All year long, the Bucks have struggled mightily defending the three themselves. In this game, they allowed Denver to shoot 36.7% from three. Believe it or not, this is actually below the Bucks’ average for opponent three point percentage. In actuality, the three-point defense was not what cost them the game on this night.
It was defending the shot overall. Denver shot an astounding 55.8 percent from the floor. Most notably, Nikola Jokic torched Milwaukee from all over the floor. He ended up with a triple-double, scoring 37 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists. He was also 15/23 from the floor.
Is It Cause for Concern?
Yes. Yes, it is. Jokic had his way with the Bucks’ defense, especially when being guarded by Brook Lopez. Clearly, the Bucks need more help in the front court. The Bucks must have thought so too because they recalled Mamadi Diakite from the NBA G League on Wednesday. Of course, Diakite will not have a massive role on this team, but it shows the Bucks are beginning to look at that front court with very critical eyes. Simply put, they have to be better.