The first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals could not have gone worse for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Falling into an 0-2 hole after dropping the first two games of the series in embarrassing fashion, the Bucks find themselves in desperation mode with things shifting back to Milwaukee. Calling tonight’s matchup a must-win would certainly be an understatement, given the fact that no team has ever overcome the odds and came back from an 0-3 deficit, and a loss would be virtually the final nail in the coffin.
With two full days off following Monday’s brutal 39 point loss to the Nets, this team should be well-rested and ready to come out with a sense of urgency in their most important game of the season.
With their postseason lives hanging in the balance over these next two games at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks can come out and make a statement tonight. For them to do so, here are three keys to victory that they must emphasize against the Nets tonight.
The Milwaukee Bucks must stop turning the ball over against the Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee’s high-octane offense has plummeted in efficiency over these first two games as they continue struggling to put points on the board. While the main factor in this is their shooting going cold from everywhere on the floor, this team has become turnover-prone, which is hindering any momentum whatsoever from being established.
The Bucks have logged 30 turnovers in their past two contests as they have played devastatingly sloppy basketball on the offensive end. Milwaukee’s top tandem of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are responsible for 15 of these turnovers by themselves as both have gone rather stagnant on the offensive end with the different looks they continue seeing defensively. Floor general Jrue Holiday has taken a backseat to these two with ballhandling duties, but he has logged four turnovers of his own.
Among the many ways that Brooklyn has taken this series by the reigns and just dominated Milwaukee is their ability to capitalize on these turnovers. According to NBA.com/stats, the Nets are averaging 20.5 points off turnovers (41 points total) over these first two games as they continue punishing the Bucks for these mistakes by putting extra points on the board.
The simple answer here is to stop giving the Nets those opportunities by not turning the ball over. Yet, for this team, that is far easier said than done. The Bucks need to slow things down and stop trying to play Brooklyn’s type of basketball to get their offense running smoothly once more.