Outplayed and outmatched. These two words can accurately summarize the Bucks’ (2-8, 1-4 home) 91-82 loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers (10-2, 6-1 road) on Wednesday night.
The Blazers looked everything like a team that has won eight straight games. On the other hand, the Bucks continued their woeful play and dropped their sixth straight. It’s been exactly two weeks since the Bucks last won a ballgame. Falling to 2-8 on the season, Milwaukee is off to their worst start in twenty years.
The Bucks put up a good fight, but the Blazers persistently increased their lead throughout the game and didn’t give the hometown team any opportunity for a comeback. Milwaukee simply couldn’t put the pieces together against a red-hot team.
The Bucks had one last ray of hope with about four minutes left in the game, bringing the Blazers’ lead down to just six after Caron Butler hit a three pointer. They then proceeded to turn the ball over on three straight possessions, two of which led to Damian Lillard scores, and that was the end of it.
Inside the Box Score: Milwaukee actually shot a better field goal percentage than the Blazers, going 43.8% (35-80) from the field while Portland shot just 40.7% (35-86). The key stat in this one is rebounding. Portland out-rebounded the Bucks 45-42 and had 4 more offensive boards. Milwaukee also had 19 turnovers, compared to the Blazers’16.
The Bucks especially had trouble containing Portland’s tricky inside-out combo of Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge. Lillard finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, while Aldridge totaled 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Luke Ridnour lead the Bucks in scoring with his 13 points. Ridnour, along with Gary Neal (11), Zaza Pachulia (11), and John Henson (10) were the only four Bucks in double figures. Yikes.
The dismal late gate execution, especially when the Blazers went cold in the fourth quarter, is what did the Bucks in tonight. Late-game turnovers have been absolutely devastating to Milwaukee thus far in the season, and that was the case once again in this one.
Injury Report: Is this the first game all year the Bucks haven’t suffered a substantial injury? O.J. Mayo twisted his ankle in the fourth quarter, but he says it’s nothing serious and that he won’t have x-rays taken. Expect him to be good for Friday’s game in Philadelphia against the Sixers.