Cleat Geeks

Bucks Beat

Over the past several weeks on the broadcasts of Bucks games on TV, broadcasters have referred to a MAP for the future. This has become even more of a talking point as the Bucks have slid further from realistic play-off contention over the past few weeks.BucksOwnTheFuture

In Wednesday night’s 114-108 victory over the Miami Heat the MAP to the future was out in full view. MAP in the Bucks case forms the three centerpieces that this roster will be built on both presently and hopefully for seasons to come. M is for Middleton who would post 22 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. A is for Antetokounmpo who posted 24 points 7 rebounds and 6 assists. P is for Parker who posted 23 points and three rebounds. So add that all together and the future of the Milwaukee Bucks posted totals of 69 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists in the game. So for those looking for development and hope towards the future of the franchise Wednesday night is an incredibly encouraging and exciting result.

Not just because the Bucks won but because of who led them to that victory. The MAP combination had huge assistance off the bench from Miles Plumlee who had 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting. The Bucks have been near the bottom of the NBA in bench production all season. The Bucks have been eager to have someone – yes anyone – from the bench ranks step up and make a significant contribution toward winning a game. On Wednesday night Pumlee fit the bill. The Bucks will go back to back this weekend with a game Saturday night at the Bradley Center against the Pelicans and Sunday night against the Nets in Brooklyn.

BucksTeamThe Milwaukee Bucks defined the cliché phrase I get by with a little help from my friends on Saturday night at the Bradley Center. There was no one particular player who stared in the scoring role in defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 103-92 but rather there was a collective group effort who combined together plus an improved effort defensively in comparison to the first meeting led to equaling the victory. Both teams had several players who missed the game due to injuries. Six players would score in double figures and all five starters scored between 15 and 19 points. Kris Middleton finished to assists short of triple double. Middleton continues a recent trend among the Bucks at close or successful attempts at triple doubles.

The Bucks did a decent job moving the ball in stretches of these game, moving and cutting off each other within the offense. When this team plays one on one isolation basketball the offense runs dry and the scoring droughts drag on. When they use each other and get the ball in the hands of multiple people in a possession the offense runs at its most efficient and effective level. The other big factor in this game was the Bucks improving their perimeter defense. In the first meeting with the Pelicans they set a franchise record with 17 made three pointers. The Pelicans were far less successful in that area on Saturday night going just 6 of 29. The Bucks now have a tricky back to back to finish Sunday night against the Nets. It will be the second game in about 24 hours but it is made more difficult by the fact that the Bucks will lose an hour in time zone changes and another hour due to the time change to daylight savings time prior to facing the Nets Sunday night as the Nets will be returning home from their longest road trip of the season.

The Milwaukee Bucks put together an up and down performance against the Brooklyn Nets. Their Giannis+Antetokounmpoperformance was luckily up more than it was down in the 109-100 Sunday night victory. The player who is referred to as the Greek Freak posted his fourth career triple double of 28 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists. He also added four assists and two blocks. It was his fourth double double in only 11 games. The four triple doubles mark the most by any Bucks player in a single season in franchise history. The stats do not do his night justice however he repeatedly used Euro steps and his long legs to tear through the defense and get to the rim. Once he got to the rim he threw down several spectacular dunks. All of the triple doubles have occurred since the decision was made to move him to a point forward. By him playing point forward, the offense has run more through him as he is responsible for way more ball handling. That ties into the triple doubles because he has the ball in his hands more and he is a decision making role. This position also allows him to get in the open floor and take advantage of the space to use his length.

The Bucks performance could accurately be described as uneven. The Bucks would be focused and invested in forcing defensive pressure in order to build a lead. They would then see their focus and intensity level drop leading to break downs leading to the Nets working their way back in the game. The Bucks could have widened or ended this game earlier if it were not for their periodic lapses. This game remained close deep into the fourth quarter when the Bucks would again turn up the defensive pressure on the way to forcing 12 turnovers. 17 of the Bucks 31 fourth quarter points came off of Nets turnovers. While it remains to be seen if the Bucks can string together enough wins to make the playoffs, it is encouraging that the young core of this roster continues to develop and improve. The Bucks return home to face the Raptors Tuesday night.

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