Bucks Gaming lose to Grizz Gaming, beat Raptors Uprising GC in Week 4

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - AUGUST 10: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - AUGUST 10: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Bucks Gaming struggled offensively against Grizz Gaming, but bounced back the next day against Raptors Uprising thanks to rookie center Plondo

Bucks Gaming split their Week 4 games, losing in an upset to a previously winless Grizz Gaming squad 61-52, but bouncing back with a 77-50 victory over Raptors Uprising.

The deciding factor in each game was the play of the Bucks’ two veterans, ARooks and Big Meek, as the two struggled relative to their usual brilliance in the first match but combined to match their opponent by themselves with 50 combined points in the Raptors game.

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Another notable stat from each game is the turnover and foul margins. Against the Grizzlies, the Bucks turned the ball over 13 times and fouled 11 times compared to a relatively clean six and six from their opponent. Against the Raps, they still turned it over 13 times and fouled eight, but managed to draw 10 fouls and force 17 turnovers.

In Thursday’s matchup, the Grizz effectively used  full/three quarter-court pressure to force turnovers and score fastbreak points. The Bucks also made some fairly basic mistakes such as having a foot out of bounds on the inbounds and an eight-second violation.

Even when they managed to hold onto the ball, their effectiveness in the halfcourt was stymied by the lost time spent breaking the press. The Grizz took and extended the lead in the second quarter with excellent work in the pick and roll.

Grizz point guard Vandi displayed excellent lob passing while still scoring his own, finishing with 28 points and 11 assists. It is likely that Plondo, playing a Glass Cleaner at the center position for the Bucks, simply didn’t have the foot speed to reliably cover the pick and roll.

On the other side, the Grizz used a pure lockdown defender to disrupt Bucks PG SlayIsland, and had a partially defensive archetype at big as well, making life difficult for the Bucks’ halfcourt offense.

The Bucks managed to keep the game close by hitting some difficult shots and getting lucky with the algorithms, but they trailed start to finish. Despite getting things going in the second half, they couldn’t get a stop on the other end. Even if they could force a miss, Memphis center AuthenticAfrican picked up several second chance putbacks that made closing the gap impossible.

On Friday, the Bucks made no archetype changes, but luckily Raptors Uprising also selected a glass cleaner at the 5. ARooks put up 23 points and Big Meek led all scorers with 27, but it was Plondo who expanded on an excellent rookie campaign with 17 points, 10 boards, seven assists, seven steals, and 2 blocks. That’s an absurd line even for a literal video game, especially from the center position.

The Bucks also improved their execution in halfcourt defense, holding the Raps to only six points in the first quarter. Defensive specialist Chaddynick did a good job frustrating Raps point guard Kenny Got Work. Kenny found himself carrying the scoring load alone, already a difficult task against a lockdown defender, but made more difficult by the fact that no other Raptor was in double digits outside small forward All Hail Trey, who cracked 10.

The Bucks’ lead was extended out to double digits by the half, and the rest of the game was largely perfunctory. Raptors Uprising managed to get within eight at one point, but the Bucks answered thanks to Plondo’s offensive rebounding and isolation work. He routinely blew by the opposing center for dunks, and kicked to shooters on steals and off the glass.

It’s unusual to see a rebounding archetype have so much success facing up and breaking down opponents off the dribble, so Plondo’s mechanical skill is ahead of the game. ARooks used the second half to get his numbers up from outside, and the Bucks finished the blowout to move to fourth in the standings, tied with Kings Guard.

They’ll have a chance to break away in the next regular season gameweek in a head-to-head matchup with the Sacramento squad, and then finish the week against the only remaining winless team, the Washington affiliate.

Next. Bucks Gaming consolidate strong start with week two split. dark

Before then, though, the Bucks will participate in The Turn, the second tournament of the season, which will take place in Las Vegas. Due to their performance so far, Bucks Gaming have been seeded fourth for The Turn, and will receive a bye straight to the second round.