Game in Review: Milwaukee Bucks @ Dallas Mavericks – December 29


The newest road trip down south for the Milwaukee Bucks starts on a low note thanks poor execution late against the Dallas Mavericks.

Starting Lineups – Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Carter-Williams, Khris MiddletonGiannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe

Dallas Mavericks – JJ Barea, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia

After dropping what looked like a winnable game at home to the Toronto Raptors, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves on the road once more. This time, they rolled into Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks on the road. Dallas has easily been one of the biggest surprises this season with plenty of analysts pegging them to finally drop off form with an aging Dirk Nowitzki, a mish-mash roster, and a contentious draft pick situation heading into next year.

Instead of floundering, however, head coach Rick Carlisle has his team playing up to a 17-13 record behind the lead of aging vets like Nowitzki, a rejuvenated Deron Williams, and of course former Buck Zaza Pachulia. Beside their play have been timely contributions from Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons, both of whom were pegged to be out for much of the early season thanks to injury, yet have come back to really make their mark.

Now, Milwaukee went in to test their mettle once more, carrying a 1-1 record since interim head coach Joe Prunty took over last week with Jason Kidd undergoing hip surgery which will keep him out for a few months.

In an unfortunate twist for Milwaukee, they were running into a Dallas team that fills it up in terms of volume from outside (6th most in 3PA in the league), and that tendency burned them early with three threes for the Mavs in the first two minutes of play. It looked like Milwaukee was ready to pounce back with transition offense against a slower moving Dallas team.

Instead of taking advantage of the athleticism the Bucks possessed, they actually ended up going cold for a three minute stretch in the first from around the 7:00 minute mark until Khris Middleton hit a turnaround jumper with 4:15 on the clock to bring the score to 14-23, Dallas. Interestingly, Jerryd Bayless was able to check into the game for the first time in weeks (due to a lingering ankle issue), and it was his offense that lead the team to the break, down 24-34.

Starting off the second, it fell largely on the shoulders of the substitutes to try to keep things competitive, especially taking advantage of a so-so Dallas secondary unit. OJ Mayo and Johnny O’Bryant surprisingly provided some much-needed firepower out of the gate, hitting a few timely shots to draw the Mavs back until the starters were brought back in about halfway through the second. From there on out, it was a comedy of traded shots back and forth, with Charlie Villanueva of all people hitting jumpers on his way to seven points in the half.

Milwaukee wasn’t able to make a run to end the half, and went into the break down a manageable nine points, 51-60, but they hadn’t shown an ability to truly rip off a scoring streak that would be necessary to push themselves over the top in the second half. Oh, and they forced zero turnovers by Dallas in the first… great stuff.

Giannis Antetokounmpo came out of the gate firing, getting a jumper from distance and drawing a foul early on a drive for freethrows (a welcome sight with his four points in the first half). Unfortunately, he cooled down in a hurry, as did the rest of the team, as the Bucks went scoreless for another three minute stretch.

In the meantime, Dallas continued to hit threes at a nice clip, and they ended the quarter with 8-17 shooting from beyond the arc. A late rush for Milwaukee wasn’t in the cards with the backups in, and a few consecutive turnovers didn’t help much. Luckily for the Bucks, Jerryd Bayless did some playmaking to salvage the wreck, and the final quarter would begin with a score of 72-79. This beaut from JOB summed things up nicely:

Of course, the only thing of note early in the fourth was a Javale McGee breakaway dunk thanks to solid Dallas D. Bayless was not to be denied, however, and as he made his way to his 15th points on the night, the Mavs were forced into an early timeout, Bucks down but five points.

For a goodly stretch there on out, it was as back and forth as you could hope. Bayless continued to hit from everywhere, JOB was passing like a demon, and Miles Plumlee & OJ took and made their fair share. The starters were brought back in with 5:00 on the clock, 87-89 on the board, and a chance for the win. Giannis got things going with this:

Wesley Matthews decided to get hot, however, and he hit back-to-back 3s, and things looked about done with Giannis passing up on a wide open three point attempt deferring to a Monroe contested layup miss. A few late breaks on defense gave the Bucks one last chance at life, but a comedy of a final possession resulting in OJ Mayo in the stands ensured a disappointing loss.

79. 93. 89. Final. 103