Milwaukee Bucks: Searching for road consistency going into three-game trek

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 04: (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 04: (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks will be on the road again Saturday night as they kick off their three-game road trip out East to visit the Washington Wizards.

Milwaukee will get used to see the Wizards over the next couple with what will be a two-game   before facing up against the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time this season next Wednesday. Unfortunately, the wind may have already been taken out of that highly anticipated matchup between the Bucks and the 76ers after Philadelphia’s All-Star big man Joel Embiid suffered a nasty knee bone bruise in their win against the Wizards Friday night that will reportedly keep him out of action indefinitely.

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While all Bucks and NBA fans at large wait to hear anything new with Embiid’s status, the Bucks are hoping this road trip will go a long way in correcting their overall form when playing outside of Fiserv Forum,

To this point in the season, the Bucks are 8-9 when playing on the road, which is certainly a far cry from how they performed over the last two seasons. For reference, Milwaukee was 27-14 on the road in 2018-19 and 26-12 in 2019-20 season before the season shutdown, all making for a combined 67.0 winning percentage.

It’s been on the road where the Bucks’ struggles have been most evident this season.

Some of that obviously speaks to the circumstances that all teams are dealing with over this unique campaign. The Bucks know first-hand what it’s like losing a significant cog due to COVID as they lost Jrue Holiday on their last multi-game road trip. That road trip eventually led to their five-game losing streak last month, the worst of the Mike Budenholzer era.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be at full strength going into this road trip.

While Holiday has since returned to the fold and put a memorable cap on the Bucks’ last road game with their 112-111 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, his presence alone won’t fix some of the issues ailing the Bucks at the moment.

That might not be seen by the fact that the Bucks hold a +4.4 net rating when playing on the road this season, which is the seventh-highest mark in the league, per That’s certainly been helped by some early season routs like when they buried the Miami Heat with an NBA-record 29 triples in a 47-point victory or beating up on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a back-to-back by a combined 43 points.

While Milwaukee’s offensive firepower has generally hummed in road games, their defense has been a different story. The Bucks’ 113.2 defensive rating on the road ranks 20th in the league and is quite the uptick from their 110.1 points per 100 possessions they’re allowing on the season as a whole.

Again, Holiday’s absence looms large here and the fact they’ve allowed their worst 3-point shooting onslaughts to date this season when visiting both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets in particular.

Fortunately, the Bucks have made some significant strides on that side of the ball as the season has gone on as their recent throttling of the Knicks showed. It’s all a matter of it translating when they are away from their home floor and not having the requisite practice time to maintain their new habits and tendencies on that side of the ball.

With life in the bubble standing far in rearview mirror, the Bucks will eventually have their mettle tested when playing across enemy lines, so to speak, especially as fans slowly start to come back into arenas league-wide as the season goes along.

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The Bucks have gotten used to playing in an uncomfortable environments and situations when hitting the road this season. Hopefully, growing more comfortable with the uncomfortable will lead to more consistency when they’re faced with greater road tests.