Bucks Lose Tiebreaker and Seeding With Crushing Indiana Loss
And just like that, Milwaukee is back to where the team was before Jason Kidd got fired. That’s a hot take, but it seems like nothing changed. The first few weeks happened, but now when Milwaukee plays good teams, they wilt under the pressure of it. With Kidd, they would rise up for these games but fall apart in the one’s that didn’t matter. Bucks continue to suffer from not playing a full four quarter game as Indiana gets hot for one large run that buries Milwaukee. It’s a devastating loss for playoff positioning as Bucks lose their tiebreaker to the Pacers and tumble to the eight seed.
Team looked entirely gassed
One of the consequences of coming back from two 20 point deficits on Sunday was Milwaukee had nothing left in the tank. To be fair, Indiana didn’t look like they had much left either as they came off a tough road win versus Washington on Sunday night. Milwaukee’s lack of depth hurt them in this game. Not having Tyler Zeller was a major loss, and Khris Middleton should not have gutted this one out. Milwaukee looked like a shell of themselves out there, and they nearly won. Which would be good if this team drafted in the lottery this summer. There’s no time for moral victory.
Prunty refuses to go small
One of the things that Joe Prunty cannot do is be innovative. He’ll try some weird lineups, but he’s not really about the new school of the NBA. Prunty does not believe Giannis can play center. He did at the very end of the game, and it worked out. But when John Henson and Thon Maker are giving you awful minutes on the court, you have to do something. Prunty needs to start going small more often. It would be the way to get Jabari Parker into the starting lineup as well which was needed yesterday.
Can the Bucks recover?
The short answer is yes. Eight of Milwaukee’s next 12 games are against opponents with a sub .500 record, therefore, they could accumulate eight wins there especially with a few of those teams in full tank mode. They get four tough matchups with Cleveland, Golden State, Houston and San Antonio. Some might point those four and say Bucks are in real trouble yet we need to look at a wider scope. Cleveland is winnable with the way they play defense, and San Antonio is really struggling without Kawhi Leonard who may be back by the time of this game. If Milwaukee goes 9-3 in their next 12, that puts them at 43-33. Let’s not worry about the others.
Barring tonight’s results, Houston could be riding a 16-game win streak to town. If that happens, we should expect to see the whole team out there for the Rockets. If Houston were to fall to Oklahoma City tonight, I almost expect James Harden, Chris Paul or Clint Capela to get rested versus Milwaukee. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to have Giannis sit this one out. I doubt he will as he’d love to face James Harden, but this will be Milwaukee’s seventh game in nine days.