Starting Lineup Weakness No. 3: Putting Teams Away
Yes, Milwaukee did beat the 76ers on opening night, but after being up by as many as 19, it’s still clear that this continues to be an issue for them.
The Milwaukee Bucks have regularly been a team that starts games off very strong and build up 15-20 points leads. But whether it’s been defensive lapses or poor shot selection offensively, they always allow teams back into games. It was clear the other night that it is still a problem, with Philadelphia eventually taking a fairly sizable lead late in the fourth quarter. There are a lot of new personnel on the floor, and Lillard was massive in the win, but guys like Middleton and Beasley need to be those added bonuses to help keep teams away.
Middleton and Beasley both shot the ball five times in Thursday’s season opener. I know Middleton is slowly coming back from knee surgery, so there is some forgiveness there. But for Beasley, who is more than capable of getting his own shots off, I do think he can be a bit more aggressive offensively to give the Milwaukee Bucks that extra 10-12 points cushion.
Now, as the season rolls on and the defense solidifies a little more, I do think the Milwaukee Bucks will be a much better team at putting away opponents. But right now, it’s clear that those two need to bring more to the table offensively if the Bucks want to be able to take care of other teams when building up double-digit leads.
It’s clear that Lillard has come to save the day for the Milwaukee Bucks in those late-game situations, but it can’t always be Lillard saving the day. At times, other guys will need to step up as opposing defenses start to key in on Lillard more.
When they let teams back into games, and there’s a night Lillard is struggling, the Milwaukee Bucks will need other starters to get the necessary shots off to hold off other teams. Teams have been able to figure out Giannis, but Beasley is someone who hasn’t had other defenses zero in on him, and Middleton can become an afterthought for other teams with their focus on Lillard and Giannis.
If Middleton can get back to his normal self, and Beasley starts adding 12 or more points a game, it’ll allow the Milwaukee Bucks to better absorb the blow if other teams mount a comeback.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks news and analysis.