Milwaukee Bucks are back to hitting their wide-open 3-point looks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 18: (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 18: (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have found their 3-point firepower on wide-open looks over their first round series with the Orlando Magic, in no small part due to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It hasn’t come without bumps along the way, but the Milwaukee Bucks are now one game away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Their first round series with the Orlando Magic couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start asthey dropped Game 1 in humiliating fashion, but have since rebounded to take the last three games in the series. Over those last three tilts, they’ve resembled the dominant force they were for much of the year, even if they have let up on the gas pedal at times as well.

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But a growing theme in the Bucks’ playoff performances has been their marksmanship from deep and how its lifted a Bucks offense that can certainly grow stagnant at times.

Milwaukee has been lethal when firing away from long range and currently rank fourth among the 16 playoff teams in 3-point percentage as they’ve hit their shots from deep at a 39.3 percent clip.

Break that down even further and the Bucks have hit an astounding 42.6 percent of their catch-and-shoot attempts from three, the third-highest mark of all the playoff teams, per

With the Bucks hitting their best stretch of hitting their high-volume of 3-point attempts at such an efficient clip since resuming the season down in Orlando, it should come as no surprise that Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has been at the center of creating such high-percentage looks.

Not only has the reigning MVP broken down the wall the Magic have regularly set up to slow down Antetokounmpo as he’s resumed his sparkling efficiency when inside the paint, he’s made the right reads to further expose the cracks in Orlando’s 3-point defense.

To that point, 18 of Antetokounmpo’s 27 total assists throughout the series have generated 3-point makes for his teammates. Per, that is the third-highest number of 3-point assists, as Antetokounmpo stands behind Caris LeVert and James Harden in that department.

Look no further than Game 4 for how Antetokounmpo manipulated Orlando’s defense, given the attention he alone commands, and sprayed passes to Bucks shooters. That game, by the way, ended with the 25-year-old posting a game-leading eight assists and just two turnovers.

Over the four games in the series, Bucks shooters have combined to go 18-for-42 on passes from Antetokounmpo that result in 3-point attempts, making for a mark of 42.8 percent.

And on a related note, the Bucks have hit 45.7 percent of their looks that are deemed wide-open by so far these playoffs, a number that only trails the reigning NBA champs, the Toronto Raptors. For context, the Bucks hit 35 percent of their wide-open 3-point looks all throughout their playoff run last year and they had hit 36.6 percent on such shots over the 2019-20 regular season, the fourth-worst mark of any team.

Of course, it helps to have multiple Bucks supporting players like Pat Connaughton, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews and Marvin Williams shooting as well as they have been on wide-open looks this series. And while we’re dealing with differing sample sizes here, maybe some of the Bucks’ shooting improvements we’ve seen speaks to the ‘shooter’s gym’ quote that Korver made early on in the bubble.

But between that and the presence of mind and gifts that the Bucks’ leading playmaker Antetokounmpo has in being able to recognize and find his teammates spotting up from beyond the arc, it’s set up the explosive mix of 3-point shooting we’ve seen so far from them in the playoffs.

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The Bucks’ offense can surely reach greater heights as they move forward in their playoff run, provided they get the improvements they need from key players. But their steady and highly efficient 3-point shooting is currently doing the trick as they get back to their winning formula this postseason.