The Bucks hosted the suddenly streaking Bulls Friday night in Milwaukee, looking to start a new winning streak against their I-94 rivals. Unfortunately, it was a forgettable night from start to finish as Chicago won their fifth straight and silenced the Bradley Center crowd.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
- Offensive Rebounds Hurt: The Bucks’ rebounding woes are well and truly clear by now, ranked dead last in total rebounding league-wide for virtually the whole season. This trend hit a new low against the Bulls with the Bucks giving up 50 total rebounds and 14 of them coming on the offensive glass including 6 to Robin Lopez alone. Lopez continually gained good position, working over John Henson, Thon Maker and even Giannis on one successful put back attempt. Whilst Lopez only had one more rebound then Henson, it was very clear who was the more impactful starting center on the night.
- Counting Your Chickens?: With back to back games becoming a rare sight this season, coach Jason Kidd was potentially caught with an eye to tomorrow night against Houston. The Bucks’ lack of depth right now is well-known, with injuries to key rotation players Tony Snell, Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic and Jason Terry. Even so, it was a surprising and rare sight to see Bucks rookies DJ Wilson and Sterling Brown see the floor in the first half. With Rashad Vaughn also playing 29 minutes, perhaps Kidd was looking to preserve his star players’ legs for the Houston game. Given the Bucks quickly fell in a hole after a fast start, perhaps the Bucks would be better served treating each game like it is as important as the next.
- Brogdon Off Night Stings: With the above mentioned lack of second unit depth killing the Bucks, Malcolm Brogdon has routinely carried the Milwaukee second unit without much help. The ever reliable Brogdon had a rare off night against the Bulls however, and boy did it hurt. Finishing 3 for 12 from the field, 0 for 4 from deep and a -10 in 32 minutes, Brogdon lack off contribution was felt mightily. Having been the guy who has probably had to make the biggest adjustment post Eric Bledsoe trade, its easy to forget how important he is to the Bucks fortunes. Tonight should highlight this to all, Brogdon is a key player in Milwaukee and when he’s having a bad night, it’s tough to overcome.
- Middleton’s Big Night: Khris Middleton posted a monster box score line of 29 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Unfortunately, like many of his Bucks teammates, he was unable to capitalise from the outside, only making 2 of his 9 attempts. Highlighted in my latest piece for Cream City Central, Middleton is in the midst of a worrying trend of posting big nights against bad teams and struggling when the level of opposition rises. I think he deserves some slack for tonight, he was a constant source of offense and regularly used his length to get into passing lanes and create transition opportunities, showing an energy that was clearly lacking from many of his fellow Bucks.
- Bucks (horrible) Defense is Back: Coming into tonight’s game, the Bulls held the distinction of possessing the league’s worst offense. Holding an offensive rating of 98.3 through 27 games, the Bulls blasted the Bucks for 33 points in the first quarter and didn’t look back. The 115 points the Bulls finished on was their third highest total of the season and this was despite leaving 12 points at the free throw line. All in all, it was a sorry night for the Bucks, and a return to the dark days of their defense.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, at an event coined “Fear The Deer” night, they were anything but fearful against a Central Division rival. An embarrassing loss and one that requires a bounce-back performance sooner, rather then later.
What better way to do it then against the NBA’s hottest team in the Houston Rockets, winners of 12 straight. Milwaukee at Houston tips off at 7pm Saturday night.
Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus.