3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ ugly loss to Minnesota Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 19 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 19 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Serge Ibaka, Minnesota Timberwolves: Taurean Prince
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MARCH 19 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

In the final game of a four-game road trip, the Milwaukee Bucks were set to square off versus the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday in a battle of red-hot offenses. The Bucks would be without an extremely key piece for this matchup as Giannis Antetokounmpo was a late scratch due to knee soreness, which would force others to step up in his absence.

The atmosphere in this game was tense throughout, with both sides getting chippy and an array of technical fouls being called. Serge Ibaka and Taurean Prince exchanged words early in the first quarter, which led to some shoving between Patrick Beverley and George Hill, both of whom were ejected. Bobby Portis and Naz Reid also received technical fouls after some jawing as both teams let it be known that they would not back down from the other.

Unfortunately, the Bucks were not able to overcome Antetokounmpo’s absence as they struggled to hang with the Timberwolves practically from start to finish. Minnesota convincingly took down this shorthanded Milwaukee team, with the final scoring coming in at 138-119. This is certainly a matchup the Bucks would like to put past them as quickly as possible, but before then, here are a handful of takeaways from Saturday’s eventful game.

The Milwaukee Bucks failed to turn up their defensive intensity in a chippy battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Without their Defensive Player of the Year in Antetokounmpo out on the floor, the Bucks were put at a disadvantage defensively. Minnesota took advantage as they outright feasted on Milwaukee’s subpar defense, scoring an astounding 138 points on 47-of-92 (51.1 percent) field goal shooting. Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for the Timberwolves with 25 points each, but it was genuinely a team affair as six players finished in double figures for scoring.

Minnesota’s biggest ally in this game was their 3-point shooting, as they shot a red-hot 22-of-47 (46.8 percent) from long range. Edwards led the way by shooting 5-of-10 from behind the arc, and Towns was right behind him by going 4-of-6 from distance. D’Angelo Russell also got himself into a nice shooting rhythm as he knocked down four triples in six tries. Malik Beasley, Taurean Prince, and Jaylen Nowell also all hit multiple 3-pointers, having chipped in on the onslaught from deep.

Milwaukee’s 3-point defense has been a noticeable problem lately, not just in last night’s contest. Teams continue to light the Bucks up from the perimeter game by game this year, and Milwaukee must work to tighten up that aspect of their game. While playing without what many consider the best defender in the association certainly hurts, that should not excuse the Bucks’ poor defense in the loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday.