BucksCap: Despite The Ending, Game 2’s Loss Was All On Milwaukee
I hate blaming officials. It is a cheap way to do things. Blaming a ref for a loss lets fans hide from the real problems with the team. Bucks-Heat was a clusterfuck from an officiating perspective. They missed so much down the stretch. Marc Davis had an inconsistent whistle then made it about himself, not the teams, at the end of the game. Davis thought people were watching on ESPN to see him, not the teams on the floor. It was malpractice in officiating without question. But Milwaukee’s play and strategy led them to this point. While it is admirable the Bucks fought back, they were so many things wrong with what Milwaukee did last night. Coach Mike Budenholzer’s refusal to change philosophies in the playoffs is leading him to another early exit.
Budenholzer is not a reader of this website. On Tuesday, I pleaded with Budenholzer to ignore the fouls and ride his guys. He didn’t listen. While Milwaukee trailed in the first half with Giannis Antetokoumpo and Khris Middleton both in foul trouble, they found time on the bench versus actually playing. Bucks were trailing by 10 or more at certain points in the first. You have to ride your guys. Not having Giannis and Khris out there for long stretches in a playoff game is not winning basketball. Budenholzer treats fouls like he is a college coach from the early 2000s and has strict rules with them. Trust your fucking guys, Mike.
This isn’t the only problem with the Bucks yesterday. The defense was a goddamn disaster. With Milwaukee not switching most things in the regular season, it has lead to confusion on when to switch and when not to switch in the postseason. Because the Bucks do not have two or three days to learn how to switch the way the coaching staff would like, it is a mess out there. Way too many open opportunities for Miami. Bucks gave up 66 points in the first half because of bad switching and lazy, ‘I don’t want to be here.’ defense.
Don’t worry, the defense wasn’t the only problem. The offense had their issues as well. First off, the turnovers. My god, the turnovers. Bucks turned the ball over 14 times which isn’t a lot. But 12 of them were live-ball turnovers, and it led to 22 Heat points. That’s the difference in the game. If Bucks cut that in half, Milwaukee wins by near double figures. Bucks also got tight again late with no fourth-quarter plan. Way too many bodies in the fourth quarter instead of a dedicated lineup with maybe one or two extra options. Eric Bledsoe had a huge second quarter than was never heard from again.
Some people are throwing dirt on the Bucks’ season. I will not do that. If the bubble has taught me one thing, the series isn’t over until they’re actually over. Yes, Miami has won six straight. But two teams have come back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1. One of those teams won in Game 7, the other came damn close. 2-0 is not a huge mountain to climb. It is still a big one, but not as big as the one if we were playing these games in Miami this weekend.
Speaking of that, do you think the officials make either call down the stretch if we’re playing this game at the Fiserv Forum?