Milwaukee Bucks: Examining their play on the road ahead of six-game trip

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 30 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 30 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks, like most teams in the association, tend to play their best basketball when they are playing in their home arena.

Although Fiserv Forum has been deprived of fans to this point, playing in that home environment has been a strong suit for the Bucks so far this 2020-21 season. With a fantastic 9-2 record when in Milwaukee, they are among the best home teams in the league statistically. However, the Bucks have not replicated their massive home success on the road by holding a measly 4-6 record when they are the visiting team.

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The Milwaukee Bucks have endured their share of struggles when they have been the visiting team versus the home team.

Milwaukee’s strongest aspect this season has been their premier offense, and the differences statistically on the road and at home are telling.

In 11 home games, the Bucks are scoring 122.5 points (1st), shooting 50.7 percent from the floor (1st) and 41.5 percent from behind the arc (1st). As the numbers authoritatively dictate, this team is a well-oiled machine on their home floor offensively with several league-leading categories.

However, in 10 road games, the Bucks are scoring 119.2 points (2nd) on 47.2 percent field goal shooting (9th) and 38.5 percent from long range (10th). Although they are still running up the score, Milwaukee’s production on the offensive end has taken a dip in these contests from an efficiency standpoint.

While Milwaukee’s numbers offensively are just slight dips in points and percentages, it is an entirely different story defensively. The Bucks have had their issues on the defensive side of the ball this year, but one would not be able to tell by just watching their home outings.

Per, the Bucks have a 105.5 defensive rating in home contests, the second-best mark in the league, while averaging 109 points per game to their opponents. On the road, however, the Bucks are allowing 114.2 points per 100 possessions to their opponents, the fifth-worst mark in the league.

Part of this drastic difference comes from Milwaukee’s 3-point defense, as their road opponents are shooting 42.2 percent from deep, the highest percentage in the association. At home, they are far better at limiting their opponent’s success from deep by dropping that conversion rate down to 35.8 percent (13th).

With their struggles away from home taken into account, the Milwaukee Bucks will be tested on their upcoming six-game road trip.

Following a pair of ugly road losses over the weekend, the Bucks bounced back with consecutive wins after returning to Fiserv Forum. Now, they will hit the road once again for a pivotal six-game trip full of measuring stick games all across the board.

First on the schedule is a back-to-back against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been a surprise this season as they currently sit at seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. After a pair of matchups with their divisional rivals, the Bucks will head out west for a three-game swing against three teams jockeying for position in the upper tier of the Western Conference standings.

With the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz on the schedule consecutively, all eyes will be on Milwaukee to see how they can match up against three seemingly surefire playoff teams. Lastly, the Bucks will close out this road trip with a matchup against the OKC Thunder, who have struggled this season, but they will prove challenging nevertheless.

With a 13-8 record, the Bucks have not been playing at their typical quota this season overall, and that was expected with this reshaped roster. Right now, they are still working out the kinks with each passing game, home or away. As newcomer Bryn Forbes stated after the team’s two-game losing skid, via ESPN’s Eric Woodyard:

"“I don’t think anybody’s happy about it, but we’ve got to take it day by day and I think that’s the way everybody’s approaching it, game by game. We can’t win them all back right now, but if we take it day by day, we can win a lot of games.”"

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The Milwaukee Bucks can silence some of their looming road concerns with this six-game trip, and they will take it one at a time.