Fresh off two days of rest, the Milwaukee Bucks returned to the basketball court to take on the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
The entire matchup could be summed up with a famed quote from the great Ron Burgundy: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.” Atlanta took a big lead early on and never surrendered it, having built up a cushion as large as 31 points. In the end, the Hawks won on the road for their first win of the year with a commanding 127-110 victory.
Offense goes stagnant, defense collapses, Hawks steamroll Bucks
There were not many positive takeaways from this game, but the play of Malik Beasley would be the closest thing to it. The team’s starting shooting guard was one of the few players who could get anything going offensive, having tallied 18 points on 50 percent shooting. After a quiet game in the opener, it was great to see him get into a groove and make his presence felt.
Other than that, this game was ugly, as the Bucks oftentimes looked lost on defense while also not being able to hit anything on offense. Atlanta was red-hot from the floor, having knocked in 50.5 percent of their shots, including 40.5 percent from deep while also playing solid defense to disrupt Milwaukee’s offense.
The biggest storyline of the night was Damian Lillard’s off night. He could not get anything to go down for most of the contest, and for a while, it looked like he might finish with just three points, which would have been the fewest of his career. Yet, he checked back in and avoided that thanks to another bucket to give him six points. He shot 2-of-16 overall, including 2-of-8 from deep.
With six turnovers to go along with a -29 +/- for the game, it was undeniably one of Lillard’s worst outings of his NBA career. Speaking of turnovers, the Bucks had 23 as a team, as they were sloppy all night long. No one could seem to make the right pass or play in this game.
Lillard’s co-star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, had a quality game with 26 points and 11 rebounds to go with two blocked shots. Another positive from this game would be Giannis knocking down eight of his 10 free throw attempts after a horrific showing in the opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. Hopefully that can help him get into a rhythm moving forward.
This was the perfect example of an early-season struggle that many expected the Bucks to endure at some point due to all of the new personnel. It’s important to remember that the team has a new coach and a handful of new players trying to get adjusted to playing with one another. This thing will not click instantly, and all they can do is learn from this outing.
It should be noted that Khris Middleton missed this game as the Bucks manage his playing time after his off-season knee procedure. He undeniably could have helped give this team the spark offensively they lacked. He’ll be back on the floor for the team’s contest against the Miami Heat on the second night of a back-to-back.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.