The Milwaukee Bucks lost their last game on the road to the Atlanta Hawks, despite leading for a large part of the game. Let’s have a look at three things to watch for in their next match against the Memphis Grizzlies.
#1: Third Quarter Bucks
For some reason, no matter how well the Bucks play in the first, second, and fourth quarters, we have issues playing in the third.
In Monday’s loss to the Hawks, we were up by double figures at half time. We lead by as much as 15 at one point, and things were looking rosy for me as the clock struck midnight here in the UK.
Then the third quarter came along, and all of a sudden it was only a five point game. Deja vu. All very similar to the Raptors match that came before the Hawks game. Another poor third quarter and another defeat in a game we controlled for chunks.
I’m not entirely sure what is causing these issues. We we just seem flat and lethargic, and there appears to be a general lack of focus. Whether it’s poor ball handling or bad shot selection, it tends to result in the opposing team swinging momentum in their favor. Whilst Milwaukee doesn’t always surrender the lead, quite often we manage to just do enough to take the lead into the fourth. This sloppy play in third quarters is causing us to lose games and frustrating fans.
The Grizzlies have won 12 of their last 13 games and are red-hot coming into this one. They just beat an injury-riddled Bulls team and they’ll be looking to get one over the defending NBA champions.
If the Bucks are going to take the win on Wednesday night, we’re going to have to be firing on all cylinders. We’ll need to play the full 48 minutes and not allow the Grizzlies a chance to take control.
#2: Bench To Step Up
We all know that the Bucks aren’t the same team without our starting point guard, Jrue Holiday. He will again be missing for this game, so we’re going to need our bench to step up.
Whilst Pat Connaughton and Wes Mathews have been consistent in helping the starters on the box score, we have some other players who need to dig deeper.
Donte DiVincenzo is one of them. Since coming back from his injury, he has looked a little lackluster. Yes, he hasn’t played a lot of basketball and he ended up aggravating his hurt ankle. However, we all know what he can do and we need him to find that form again. As it stands, he is now the back up SG since Grayson Allen started strong in his absence.
Jordan Nwora has struggled of late, and with the likes of Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood still on our roster, we need Nwora to pick up the slack.
There’s been a handful of games this year where our starters have smashed the box score but the bench has let them down. We need a full team performance on Wednesday night.
#3: Ja Morant
Ja Morant has been superb this season, and quite frankly, great fun to watch. He’s averaging 24.4 points per game and shooting not far off 50% from the field. Morant has had plenty of highlight reel plays, and opposing teams are struggling to defend him.
He’s the main catalyst on a very good Memphis team. If the Bucks want to beat them, we are going to have to find a way to stop Ja from doing his thing.