Milwaukee Bucks Grades, Reactions From 131-123 Loss To Oklahoma City Thunder

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Dec 29, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton (22) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard

Andre Roberson

(21) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Reactions: The Good

  • The Thunder would have run the Bucks out of the building in the third quarter had Khris Middleton not put the team on his back. He scored twelve points in the period, capped by a personal ten point scoring run to pull the Bucks within two. Middleton has been playing exceptional basketball lately and it starts with his three point shot. He was 6-9 from deep against the Thunder and has shot a sizzling 53.6% from three over the last five games. He also appears to be on the verge of pushing his season scoring average past sixteen (he currently sits at 15.8), supplanting Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Bucks leading scorer.
  • Giannis being Giannis is very important in the development of Giannis. Wait…what? Oft times we see Giannis play smaller than he is, or try to take a cerebral approach to the game instead of the instinctual style that made us fall in love with his game two years ago. That’s not to say Giannis should abandon the mental side of the game, of course. It’s just that when Giannis lets the horses loose, this happens. That’s something we can all live with.
  • Michael Carter-Williams is getting better, I swear. Don’t believe me? Fine, that’s ok. I get that you’re irked by his inconsistent play and turnover-prone style. But you want to know something that no one is talking about when MCW comes up? His shooting NOT being broken. Over the last month he’s shown some touch on his 10-18 foot jumper, particularly around the free throw line. MCW was 4-6 on jumpers Tuesday night, and 1-1 from three. He’s shooting .303 from sixteen feet and beyond this season, which isn’t wonderful. But it is good enough to make defenders think twice about giving him an extra foot or two. Let’s not give up on him yet.
  • The Bucks looked to push the tempo against the run-n-gun Thunder, and they succeeded. For instance, after allowing a third quarter layup to a stumbling Russell Westbrook, MCW took the inbound pass and sprinted up the court, finding Mayo for the easy transition layup. It makes you wonder why the coaching staff seems so preoccupied with developing the half-court game when the Bucks personnel is so talented at tempo-basketball.
  • The Bucks made it easy on statisticians. They took exactly 100 field goals, making 49, for a cool 49%.
  • Any time the Bucks out-rebound an opponent, they will get credit in this column. Tuesday night they did just that–out-rebounding the Thunder 47-41, with an 18-11 advantage on the offensive glass. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe both collected ten boards, while MCW had nine.

Next: Reactions: The Bad