Bucks fans call for team to trade for NBA champion after sluggish loss to Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

After years of dominating the Central Division, the Milwaukee Bucks have found themselves in very unfamiliar territory this season whenever they face the Indiana Pacers.

Heading into Wednesday's clash, the Bucks were just 1-3 against the Pacers, with their lone victory coming in historic fashion in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo's 64-point night. After suffering a loss to Indiana in their last outing, one would have thought Milwaukee had a chip on their shoulder to come out and take charge to avoid yet another loss in this rematch.


Just like in Milwaukee's other losses to Indiana this season, the Pacers just came out more motivated, more intense, and more deserving of a win. The Bucks looked sluggish right out of the gates, turning the ball over, missing shots, and slacking on defense. All of that was a recipe for disaster, as it led to another Milwaukee loss to Indiana, this time with a final score of 142-130.

After a game where the Bucks were outmatched tenfold in the intensity column, fans were calling for the front office to bring back a former fan favorite who could potentially help.

Bucks fans call for team to trade for NBA champion after loss to Pacers

A lot of Milwaukee Bucks fans miss P.J. Tucker. Even if his numbers were never the flashiest, one thing that was never questionable was his effort and intensity. During the team's championship run, he was a key cog and vocal leader, oftentimes taking on the tough assignments and even getting into former Coach Mike Budenholzer's ear during an incredibly trying playoff series.

That type of intensity is something the Bucks have greatly missed this season, and fans have let it be known that they think Tucker could help.

And another.

Part of the reason why Bucks fans are bringing up Tucker as a potential trade target is recent rumors about the Bucks still having admiration for the player who helped them win a championship, per NBA insider Marc Stein (subscription required). With Tucker out of the LA Clippers' rotation, there is a shot that Milwaukee could legitimately bring him back for another stretch run.

Even if Tucker is not the same player he once was, it's gotten to a point where his vocal presence and leadership would be valuable for this team on their own. However much defensive excellence he has left in the tank could also surely help this team as well. It'll be interesting to see if the Bucks put in an actual bid for Tucker's services ahead of the deadline or potentially wait for a buyout.

As for the actual game, Milwaukee's overall numbers weren't horrible. They shot 50 percent from the floor, 37.8 percent from three, and 75 percent from the foul line. Five players totaled double-digit points, including four of them logging 16 or more. Yet, the Pacers shot better in every category and had seven double-digit scorers.

The Bucks were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who nearly had a triple-double by tallying 26 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists despite being guarded by multiple Pacers all night. Due to the pesky defense he faced, he only got 13 total shot attempts, having to rely more on his teammates to make things happen.

Khris Middleton (19 points) and Brook Lopez (16 points) answered the call, with the pair having quality performances outside of some ugly turnovers from the former. Damian Lillard, who shot a gruesome 3-of-16 in his previous outing, could not turn the tide in this one, making just six of his 18 attempts to score 23 points. The Bucks desperately need him to get into a groove.

One significant bright spot from a horrendous game was the play of Milwaukee's two young wings. MarJon Beauchamp clocked in 12 points off of the bench, while Andre Jackson Jr. had an all-around nice game with seven points, two rebounds, two assists, and a steal. It was not surprising to see the two young wings perform when they were given legitimate minutes. They need to be more involved.

The Bucks provided no resistance to the Pacers on the defensive end. Tyrese Haliburton once again had his way with 31 points and 12 assists. Bennedict Mathurin and Obi Toppin were huge off of the bench for Indiana, scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively. Myles Turner and Bruce Brown also had 15 points, while Jalen Smith had 13, and Buddy Hield had 10. They consistently shot like it was practice.

The Bucks undeniably have some soul-searching to do after dropping their fourth game to Indiana in five tries this season. Sure, they've won quite a bit this season and look fine in the standings, but that does not tell the entire story. The only time they've beaten this team was when they got 64 points, a new franchise record, from their star. Milwaukee simply has to be better.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.

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