Not many things went right for the Bucks this season. From suspensions to injuries to wildly inconsistent play, 2013-14 will go down as a season to forget. Even in the light of Wednesday’s promising ownership agreement, easily the highlight of the season, this will forever be remembered as the year the Bucks set a franchise record by only winning 15 games.
But why dwell on the negative? A new regime means a new beginning (and hopefully a new arena), one that began as soon as the final buzzer sounded Wednesday night. So, for tonight’s recap, let’s focus on what went right for Milwaukee in its 111-103 loss to the Hawks.
- For starters, the Bucks scored 39 points in the first quarter. Thirty-nine! That’s, like, over a third of the way to 100! They held Millsap-less Atlanta to 29 in the first period, though the deficit would be sliced to just five at halftime.
- This sequence toward the end of the first quarter that boosted the Milwaukee lead to 14:
- The Bucks out-rebounding the Hawks 43-30. That’s a pretty significant margin for one of the league’s worst rebounding teams, and even more impressive considering seven of the Bucks’ eight players grabbed at least five boards.
- Preventing Kyle Korver from attempting a three-pointer; the only team to do so in 70 games this season.
- John Henson having one of his best games of the season. It was a strange season for Henson, as it was for many Bucks, as his minutes seemed to fluctuate on a nightly basis. But he never complained and finished the year with a 19-point (8-13 FG), five-rebound, three-steal, two-block performance.
- Brandon Knight closing the season on a high note. Knight has quietly enjoyed a borderline-excellent stretch since the All-Star break. He scored 31 points (12-18 FG, 3-6 3Pt) Wednesday to go with seven rebounds and four assists in a game-high 40 minutes.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo also closing the season on a high note. In 26 minutes, the rookie scored 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3Pt) in addition to grabbing five rebounds and handing out three assists. It’s been an up-and-down year for Giannis, but the future remains incredibly bright for one of the game’s most promising combinations of length and athleticism. One sequence late in the game captured the essence of Antetokounmpo. After flying across the lane to pin a Mike Muscala (yes, that Mike Muscala) shot on the glass, Antetokounmpo got the ball on the wing on the ensuing Milwaukee possession, sized up Cartier Martin, then drove past him and through the lane for a one-handed, lefty flush. Did he carry the ball? Quite possibly. Was it called? No. So chalk up another highlight dunk for the rookie; a fitting final field goal attempt of the season.
- This ovation for Herb Kohl during the first quarter. Extremely well deserved. The vine doesn’t do it justice (h/t @JimOwczarski). Kohl, of course, entered into an agreement to sell the team Wednesday afternoon, in addition to pledging $100 million toward a new arena. A dedicated and loyal public servant, Kohl owned the team for nearly 30 years.
- This scene as Kevin Vanderkolk donned the iconic Bango suit for the final time after 13 years:
Kevin Vanderkolk has worked as Bango for the last 13 years. His send-off. pic.twitter.com/UAaajpl4hl
— Aron Yohannes (@AronYohannes) April 17, 2014
I don’t know how much you care about mascots, but I highly encourage you check out Behind the Mask to learn much, much more about Kevin’s dedication to the job. It’s available free on Hulu.
In the end, the Bucks lost. Again. But that was secondary to the optimism Bucks fans will undoubtedly carry into the offseason. The season has been a joke, in many ways. But it’s over now. And with the draft lottery looming in a little over a month, Milwaukee’s fortunes could turn with the drop of a ping-pong ball.