There was certainly no shortage of questionable decision-making from the Milwaukee Bucks in their brutal Game 5 collapse on Tuesday.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer has been known for that over the years, but Tuesday’s debacle was filled with many perplexing questions in what was his biggest letdown with the team yet. Amidst the aftermath of Milwaukee blowing a 17-point lead, one question making the rounds was where Bobby Portis was in that game?
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Typically, Portis is one of the first names to hear his name called off the bench, but the big man did not see the floor at all over 48 minutes in the chaotic Game 5.
It was so strange to see Portis glued to the sidelines that many spectators questioned whether or not he was healthy or if there was potentially an issue behind the scenes. After Game 5, reporters asked Budenholzer why Portis did not play, to which he responded:
"“We just kind of went with more of a spread court, more spacing. Bobby is going to be ready. He’ll be ready to go and help us whenever we need him.”"
Mike Budenholzer’s decision not to give Bobby Portis minutes in the Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 5 loss is yet another questionable decision
Portis has been the ultimate spark in the second unit for the Bucks all season long. In addition to providing an immeasurable bundle of energy whenever he checked in, he led the bench in scoring during the regular season with 11.6 points per game. With Milwaukee’s offense struggling to hit shots all night long in Game 5, inserting Portis could have potentially helped get the offense flowing with more shotmaking.
As for Budenholzer’s comments about wanting to space the floor more, did he forget what Portis did during the regular season? The 26-year-old shot the 3-pointer with career-best efficiency by hitting 47.1 percent of his attempts across 66 total games. That was the third most efficient percentage in the association in that timeframe, signaling that Portis is certainly very capable of spacing the floor.
Sure, Portis has his limitations on the defensive end, which is no secret and has hindered his playing time throughout these playoffs. However, watching Brook Lopez get exploited on several Jeff Green triples and getting hunted by Kevin Durant to create an easy mismatch while the big man inexcusable sagged back defensively was nothing to marvel at either.
Given how stagnant Milwaukee’s offense went during the latter stages of the game, Portis needed some burn in this matchup. There is no telling if he would have had an impact and changed the final outcome, but he has proven his importance for this team since signing with the franchise last offseason.
The biggest question now is whether or not Portis will see some action in tonight’s Game 6 or be banished from the rotation once more. With this being a do-or-die game for the Bucks, it would be hard to imagine Portis will not see any minutes for the second consecutive game, but nothing should be much of a surprise with this team anymore.
When Portis stated that he came to Milwaukee because he wanted to join a winning culture and this was a place he felt he fit, sitting on the sidelines during a crucial playoff game was certainly not what he envisioned.