There’s a time in everybody’s life where he just want to throw your hands up in the air and give up. As I close into my 2nd decade on this planet, I can think back to a handful of instances that fit that category. Of course, the act of just quitting and just giving is not part of the “human spirit” because of how the inner psyche thrives on that comeback story. Despite the amount of times that someone can get kicked down, there will be a group of people who will root on the underdog until he gets back up.
For the first month of the season, the Bucks have been that beaten down and wounded animal who keep on getting their face pushed into the ground despite their best efforts. As the team tries to work their abundance of new puzzle pieces into one big picture, the Bucks have continued to trip over themselves as their overall rotation changes faster than your standard D-League team. Entering Saturday night’s non-televised game against Boston, the Bucks were sitting at a horrendous 2-13 record which still kept them within 3.5 games back from the Detroit Pistons who currently own the 8th seed.
One of Milwaukee’s biggest weaknesses through the first month has been their continued issues in terms of protecting the inside. Those issues were on display in the early goings as Boston kept on successfully kicking the ball inside to the likes of Jared Sullinger and the infamous Vitor Faverani engineered the Celtics offense. With Henson, Udoh and Pachulia acting as Milwaukee’s limited frontcourt, Boston was able to repeatedly work the ball inside. On the other end, Milwaukee looked extremely out of sync as they showed no real sense of rhythm in terms of overall ball movement.
As the 2nd quarter started, so did Milwaukee’s offense. The duo of Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo engineered Milwaukee’s offensive attack as they were both perfect from beyond the arc. Speaking of Mayo, his play from the perimeter allowed him to be more aggressive as a shooter as he was effective from inside the arc as a mid-range scorer. When it comes to Knight, his performance on Saturday night was probably the best performance by a guard since the Jennings/Ellis era. His overall aggressiveness on both sides of the ball was an amazing sight to behold. As he continues to work his way into the Bucks system, it’s going to be interesting to see how he progresses as an overall player.
Before we marvel at the 2nd half performance of Milwaukee, let’s discuss the spectacular performance of Milwaukee’s favorite teen idol, Giannis Antetokounmpo. To say that Antetokounmpo was an energetic monster would be an understatement. Because of the left knee injury to Caron Butler, Larry Drew gave Giannis a golden opportunity to show off his skills and he didn’t disappoint at all. While he showed off the aforementioned energetic nature, Giannis was effective because of how he was able to be in control while being an aggressive player. With a line of ten points, seven boards, four assists and a single tenacious block, our teen idol was the biggest shining light during a pretty awesome night.
Milwaukee entered the 2nd half with a six point advantage and was pretty much able to control that lead throughout the rest of the night. One of the biggest reasons behind that was how the team was able to adjust their overall defensive setup. While Milwaukee struggled in the opening half in terms of protecting Boston’s inside game, the tides shifted in the 2nd half as they were able to pack the paint because of the Celtics’ inability to score from the perimeter. While the Bucks weren’t really that great on offense as the 2nd half wore on, their defense and overall rebounding performance was a pretty good sight to see.
While Milwaukee’s victory won’t quite dig them out of the huge hole that they’re currently in, it still was a positive and exciting night for a team who’s struggled so much. Even though it would be a little ridiculous to starting thinking too positive about a 3-13 team, Milwaukee’s upcoming matchups against Boston, Detroit, Washington and Brooklyn could be a sign that good things could be on their way.