Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks uninspiring loss to Houston Rockets

Dec 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks lost a close game to the Houston Rockets on Sunday. December 11th by a score of 97-92. 92 points for a team with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton (who did exit after just six minutes with a mild ankle sprain), Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez sounds like a total after three quarters of play, unfortunately it was the final tally, let’s dive into what led to this tough loss.

Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks uninspiring loss to Rockets: Losing Khris Middleton early

Losing Khris Middleton early who had to exit with a left ankle injury that he tried to come back in the game and shake off hurt the Bucks. After the game Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer was quoted saying “He should be fine. It’s a couple of very minor things. Hopefully he’ll be fine.” via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Losing Khris almost as soon as we got him back is really a big blow, it changed the game, however, there is hope that Middleton plays against the Warriors.

Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks uninspiring loss to Rockets: lack of big plays

The Bucks lack playmaking, this sounds like a very bland take, especially considering the start that Giannis Antetokounmpo got off to, but I can tell you the lack of playmaking factored into poor shot taking and making after Khris Middleton left the game. The Bucks were just 15-of-41 on field goals, including 5-of-19 (26. percent) in the second half.

The Bucks looked stagnant, Giannis wasn’t his normal self even with ending the game with 16 points, six of which he scored in the first five minutes of the game and 18 rebounds, Giannis wasn’t in true MVP form.

Jrue Holiday had 25 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. Jrue and Giannis were two of only four players to score in double digits for the Milwaukee Bucks. Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen were the other two. Bobby had 17 points and 15 rebounds, notching another double double as he tries to stack his resume for sixth man of the year, Grayson added eleven points but only shot 2-for-12 from the field and had a few bad plays at the end that didn’t help.

Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks uninspiring loss to Rockets: the Bucks did not close

The Milwaukee Bucks looked horrible in the final five minutes. The Houston Rockets outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 14-3 over the final five minutes of the game. All three of those points by Giannis Antetokounmpo on one free throw and a layup. The Bucks shot 1-for-6 with three turnovers as a team. A couple bad lob attempts that were read and played great by Houston just made this ending tough to watch.

Coach Budenholzer needs to go to the Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez pick and roll in games where Giannis is consistently facing a wall of defenders, get Brook or Jrue some good looks. Jrue and Brook connection on lobs is something I didn’t  expect to be so efficient. Brook’s ability to shoot from outside also allows Jrue to get into the paint and finish with either hand.

Another thing I would like to see is the Bucks to try and get Pat Connaughton going. He has really struggled to get it going from beyond the arc since coming back from injury, shooting 25.9%. The Bucks should encourage Pat to get back door for some easy buckets, Pat is one of the best on the Bucks at scoring from the short corner or dunker area. The entire team in general could get better at using the dunker area again. Using that spot on the floor would a nice way to get some pressure off Giannis and help him get some easy buckets.

My final thought is that the last five minutes of this game were definitely something we have not seen very often from the Bucks since Bud has come over from the Atlanta Hawks. They will use it as a learning experience and get some better shots and play with more poise in the closing minutes in the future. I have to give credit to the Rockets, they have some exciting young talent especially in Jalen Green who has all the tools to be a superstar in this league. The Rockets played harder and took this one from the Bucks, expect Giannis to have the boys ready to go. The Bucks welcome Steph Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors to Fiserv Forum, you can watch the game on TNT at 6:30 CT. Giannis can continue to grow his lead as the all time leading scorer in Bucks history, he hit the 15,000 point mark in this game, between that and some massive dunks, not everything was bad in this game and there are plenty more to play

As always, FEAR THE DEER!!!

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Stay tuned for takeaways from the Bucks matchup with the Warriors.