Milwaukee Bucks: 3 takeaways from 128-97 loss to Denver Nuggets

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Mar 2, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports)

The Milwaukee Bucks‘ five-game win streak certainly finished with quite a thud Tuesday night.

The Denver Nuggets strolled into Fiserv Forum and picked up their third straight victory with a 128-97 win that doubled as the Bucks’ worst loss so far this 2020-21 season.

Just as the score line indicates, Denver’s complete performance on both ends of the floor left the Bucks searching for any and all answers as they struggle to come within striking distance to make it a game following a hot start.

So without further ado, let’s break down what all stood out in the Milwaukee Bucks’ loss to the Denver Nuggets from Tuesday night.

First takeaway from loss to Nuggets — Zone defense flummoxes Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee’s aforementioned hot start, which was supplied by a dunking spree by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, turned cold as a result of the Nuggets turning to a zone defense that absolutely bottled up Milwaukee’s offensive attack.

That, in turn, set the stage for the Nuggets’ throttling of the Bucks as they quickly ran away with the game and didn’t look back, especially as the Bucks’ offense came to a standstill midway through the first half. Far too often, Bucks players let fly quick, errant shots while their movement completely dried up that helped the Nuggets settle in defensively.

Save for when Antetokounmpo was on the floor, it was far too late for the Bucks to start forcing the issue and trying to break down the Nuggets’ defense with mixed results.

All of that left with the Bucks finishing with the worst offensive rating for a single game this season, per NBA.com/stats. Secondly, the Bucks’ 32 paint points stands as the third-fewest Milwaukee has scored in a game this season.

Given their subpar shooting night as they went 11-for-40 from 3-point range (27.5 percent), Milwaukee’s offensive balance was completely thrown out of rhythm for the reasons listed above. And the fact that it eventually led to their worst offensive performance of the season proved to be no surprise.

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