Milwaukee lost 126-121 in a shoot out in Charlotte vs. the Hornets. Here are five takeaways from the loss.
- Defense Wins Championships? The Bucks are in the bottom third of the NBA in opponents points per game giving up on average 107.3 per contest. Wednesday’s contest was no different as the Charlotte Hornets put up 126 due to a lackluster effort defensively for Milwaukee. The Bucks are one of two teams in the NBA in which opponents are shooting above 40% from three-point land. There won’t be many games where the defense gives up 120+ points and the Bucks win. At the beginning of the fourth quarter the game was tied, but after that, Malik Monk scored 13 points and the Hornets went on a run that the Bucks couldn’t keep up with.
- Are you Done? Khris Middleton’s career night of 43, hopefully silenced the critic’s disbelief of Middleton’s ability to fill it up. Scoring from deep, midrange, and the free throw line; all of Middleton’s skills were on the screen last night. Despite a slow start to the beginning of the season, Middleton is without a doubt the go-to perimeter option for the Bucks. Since Giannis was out for the majority of the fourth quarter with 5 fouls, Middleton asserted himself in a way we should get accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis. Although the Bucks may have lost a game in October, knowing that your top perimeter scorer has regained his form is a victory in itself.
- Thon Maker’s Slow Start Raises Questions. There is no denying that Thon has crazy potential and it’s only his second year, but in his 18-minutes vs. the Hornets Thon looked timid offensively. When Thon gets the ball, there is about a half-second where he freezes and doesn’t show much confidence in what he wants to do with the ball. Being first introduced to the game at age 14, its possible Thon’s instinct for the game hasn’t fully developed. Another deficiency that was evident was his inability to play defense against Dwight Howard without fouling or allowing a bucket. Thon is dreadfully skinny and has trouble setting the anchor and stopping centers from having their way with him in the post. Thon finished the game with a +/- of -17.
- Does Coach Kidd Trust his Bench? I struggled with seeing Coach Kidd only playing 8 players in deep minutes against the Hornets in the second game of a back-to-back. It’s just the beginning of a long NBA season and in a game where you could tell early the defensive intensity wasn’t there, I don’t see the reason to not play the full bench. D.J. Wilson, Rashad Vaughn, and Sterling Brown are all extremely young and athletic, which makes me believe that there was no reason other than a lack of trust for them not to get minutes. Malik Monk was absolutely crushing the Bucks early in the fourth and it appeared rather than try and solve the issue Coach Kidd stood pat with his group and suffered the consequences.
- Tony Snell the Most Underrated Buck? One thing that I’m sure is music to Tony Snell’s ear is that no one is talking about him. Mostly when people talk about Snell, it is when he performs negatively, but Snell made sure to keep them quiet last night. Snell played 37 minutes last night and scored 17 points on 6/7 from the field and 5/6 from 3. It’s absolutely staggering that no one is talking about Snell’s performance early in the season as he’s shooting over 50% from both the floor and the 3. Snell has been sneakily the most underrated Bucks player this season, and it felt good to see Michael Carter-Williams, who was traded to Chicago for Snell, sitting on the Charlotte bench inactive due to injury.