Cleat Geeks

Warrior 4th Quarter 2 Much 4 Bucks

For the second time in under a weeks’ time the Milwaukee Bucks gave the defending champion Golden State Warriors everything they wanted and then some but this time the Bucks fell 121-112 on Friday night at Oracle Arena.BucksSVgs1

The Bucks again came out with tremendous energy and effort in the opening quarter. The Bucks led 36-33 after one quarter. The Bucks shot 59.1% in the first quarter. Both Michael Carter Williams and Steph Curry each scored 12 points in the first quarter. The Warriors shot 54.2% in the first quarter.

The second quarter brought further positives for the Bucks. The Bucks won the second quarter by nine points to take a 12 point lead to the locker room. Five Bucks scored in double figures in the first half. The Bucks shot 59.5% on shots in the first half.

The first half was almost perfect from the Bucks perspective as they scored 70 points and again held a double digit lead over the defending champs at halftime but there were also some red flags at half time that would prove to be problematic in the second half. The game had an extremely high pace throughout and the Warriors are one of fastest pace teams in the league and the Bucks are one of the slowest, so the tempo and amount of possessions were in Golden State’s favor. Also it was highly unlikely the Bucks were going to be able to replicate another half with that high of a shooting percentage.

BucksVSgs2The Warriors made a big run in the third quarter as the Bucks started to not hit shots at the same rate as they did in the first half. Michael Carter Williams continued his recent production by scoring 22 points through three quarters but the Bucks overall shooting percentage dropped to 52.4%. Despite the big run from the Warriors at the beginning of the quarter the Bucks were able to get the quarter stabilized and only lost the third quarter by four points.

In the fourth quarter the Bucks shooting percentage continued to drop but more importantly the champs showed themselves to be the champs. Draymond Green led another big Golden State run and the Bucks found themselves stuck on the scoreboard at 100 for a long time. As the Bucks offense stalled in the final quarter the offense of Golden State and their home crowd picked up speed. Steph Curry scored ten of his 26 in the final quarter. The Bucks had some issues in the fourth quarter matching up in transition defense giving golden state several open threes in transition. I am not sure if those problems are attributed to increased crowd noise during the run or the skill of Golden State. The Bucks shooting percentage for the night fell to 46.2% and Golden State had three players surpass 20 points while the Bucks had seven players score in double figures. Golden State outscored the Bucks 36-19 in the fourth quarter and 63-42 in the second half.

BucksVSgs3For the Bucks going forward there are several things to take away from this game. Michael Carter Williams has turned his season around following him losing his starting job a few weeks ago. He has since been returned to his starting role and he is playing his best basketball of the season currently. He was one of the only players to play perform during the Lakers game earlier in the week and he was again the Bucks leading scorer on Friday night. Secondly, the Bucks offensive balance was fabulous last night. Putting seven players in double figures is a good offensive sign for the Bucks. Miles Plumlee had his most productive game as a Buck since being acquired in February. He had 13 points and seven rebounds and made a clear case for increased playing time over John Henson who had made fouls, three, then minutes played two. Lastly, the coaching staff has now seen two impressive efforts from this team in the span of a week. This team has played engaged in two games against Golden State. They have played with tremendous passion, energy, effort and focus. Compare those efforts with the lackluster flat effort the Bucks put out against the Lakers. The coaches have to find a way to demand the type of effort put forth against Golden State on a nightly basis regardless of who the opponent or location is. The players are capable but they need to be held accountable for the nightly effort they are delivering to the floor.

 

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