Despite a fourth quarter ejection, Isaiah Thomas lit up the Bucks’ defense for 25 points
Coming off of what was their largest win of the season, the Bucks were forced to face the blunt truth Wednesday night: They’re still not a very good team.
After Wednesday night’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Bucks (12-48) are now 0-12 in games following a win. The 12 losses have come against 11 different teams, with six of them being Eastern Conference opponents and five of them coming at the hands of the West. The teams to which they have fallen in these situations include: Toronto (Nov. 2), Dallas (Nov. 9), Boston (Dec. 3), Brooklyn (Dec. 7), San Antonio (Dec. 11), Charlotte (Dec. 23), Utah (Jan. 2), Cleveland (Jan. 24), Denver (Feb. 5, Feb 20), Indiana (Feb 27), and now Sacramento (Wednesday night).
With such a broad spectrum of opponents in these games, the Bucks have ran into some tough opponents who refused them their first winning streak, but they have also squandered some very good opportunities against weaker teams. Wednesday night’s game falls into the latter category.
In a contest that put the brakes on the Bucks’ recent streak of quality play, Milwaukee was out-shot and out-played in the 116-102 loss. After putting together an energized first quarter of play, the Bucks were bested the rest of the way, losing the next two quarters 68-48 before winning a fourth quarter full of garbage minutes.
The Kings were led to an easy victory by their “Big Three”: Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay, and DeMarcus Cousins. Thomas poured in the majority of his points via jump shot and runners in the lane (a lane that seemed large and vacant most of the night), finishing with 25 points and six assists from his floor general position. His lone mistake on the night came in the fourth quarter when he disagreed with infamous referee Joey Crawford on a call. The two consecutive technicals he received resulted in him being ejected, although at that point the outcome was not in question. Gay and Cousins put the “blunt” in “blunt truth”, bullying their way through and around whatever the Bucks’ defense threw at them. The 6-8 Gay put together a well rounded effort, finishing with 22 points, eight boards and five assists. Boogie Cousins recorded his 36th double-double in 51 games with a stat line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and he even dished out five assists.
The bright spots were few and far between for the Bucks in a game that did not seem to have a single moment of true excitement after intermission. Once again, Brandon Knight led the team in scoring with 25, while also driving and kicking the ball out on numerous occasions for six assists. While his floor vision has not necessarily improved, Knight’s been able to consistently draw in multiple defenders and hit the uncovered guy with a timely pass. His assist numbers have improved greatly due to this ability to just make the simple pass to set up his teammates for open jumpers. It was scoring by committee for the remainder of the roster with the exception of Jeff Adrien who put together his best offensive performance as a Buck, scoring 15 points in just 18 minutes of play. A breath of fresh air to an otherwise stale offense, Adrien worked in the paint much of the night, battling through contact to shoot an efficient 6-of-9 from the field.
The Bucks will finish off the week with a busy weekend full of basketball and travelling. They face the Pelicans in New Orleans on Friday night and round things out with a match up against the Wizards at the Bradley Center on Saturday night.
Points – (Thomas, 25), (Knight, 25)
Rebounds – (Thompson, 13), (Henson, six)
Assists – (Thomas, six), (Knight, six)
Blocks – (3 tied w/one) (Antetokounmpo, one)