In the course of the universe there tends to be a strong trend line towards balance. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Things like that.
If getting apocryphally stomped on the head by an apple wouldn’t unlock this insight in your mind, you can certainly find evidence of its validity in the Milwaukee Bucks’ season so far. Their preseason record? Zero wins, five losses. Their regular season record? Five wins, zero losses.
More impressive than their applicability in validating the law of universal gravitation, however, has been Milwaukee’s eagerness to cruise to victory in four of the five games (the Rockets game aside). The win over Philly was a slugfest that rewarded the team that could generate another basket or two when it counted late. Brooklyn required a strong comeback, the Knicks game was an exercise in tempo before breaking out in the third quarter, and a fast Hawks team could have been a real challenge for our slower centers if Mike Budenholzer hadn’t orchestrated the right mix of defensive guard play for to stop the bleeding before it ever started.
These are five games we can add to the ever-growing list of instances over the past three seasons where the Bucks have systematically crossed the goal line regardless of opponent or game conditions. A lot of it is driven by Giannis Antetokounmpo, yes, but since the arrival of Jrue Holiday in 2020, the number of ways the team has been able to win in the end seems to have increased significantly. We are no longer the devastatingly dominant team that routinely wins by 15 or more most nights; instead, the Bucks continue to add experience after experience to games in the balance where they apply just the right amount of pressure in the right place before decisively tipping the scales in their favor.
It’s not always pretty and it’s never stress-free for us at home, but it’s effective. That is what applies now and will count next spring and summer.
Somehow Jrue Holiday still feels underrated (SBNation)
This piece was featured on our site last week when it was published on the Mothership, but I thought it was worth including here because 1) We need to fill the void somehow 2) It’s worth highlighting when the Bucks get some gloss and 3) Vox Media solidarity.
The writer must be in Philly given the number of quotes received in and around the season opener against the Sixers, but that’s OK. It shows how under-the-radar Jrue’s career has been and, arguably, continues to be even after he wins a title with the Bucks. Such are the tribulations of defense-focused guards in a sport full of scorers at the 1 and 2 spots.
NBA Power Rankings: Bucks on top after first week (CBS Sports)
Power Rankings: They mean nothing and are an exercise in hitting content quotas set by your superiors in whatever ramshackle media organization you happen to be scraping by with. It’s rare that I’d include them on MMMR, but it’s rare that anyone cares enough about the Bucks to give them top status in one of these drills. So, hats off to you, CBS. And enjoy the clicks.
The Milwaukee Bucks continue to seek a naming rights sponsor for the Deer District (Milwaukee Business Journal)
I said it months ago when the team announced they were looking for a gazillion dollars to name a concrete city block: I think we can raise enough resources between $5 a month Vox site budgets and helpful donations from the community to do a bid for the “Brew Hoop Deer District” in the fall of 2023.
Or, as posters tend to write it: Brewhoop (or BrewHoop) Deer District.
Either way, I hope Woodman actually steps up for the naming rights. Yes, dammit!
5 Takeaways from Bucks Comeback Win Over Nets (NBA.com)
It’s really fascinating that Brook Lopez seems to have beaten Father Time just a little bit more. Another year older, with a new back, asked to be even more active defensively than ever before as a Buck… and he’s paying off. Astounding, really, although the sample is very small so far.
The bigger they are… the tighter the fit (The caller)
Focusing on the duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert up here in the Twin Cities, which is an experiment of interest to anyone who likes wacky roster ideas. But it also makes it special that the pairing of Lopez and Giannis is as effective as it is because they are both (roughly) seven-footers. Their playing styles differ markedly, but there is still a lot of height and weight to deal with.
This week’s fan post
He’s back and interrogating the question that could be the key to how far the Milwaukee Bucks can go this year. This week’s FPOTW winner is retired point guard with, “Does preventing 3s lead to better defensive 3pt%?”. There is some good data there that we can refer to the large (and ever-growing) literature that attempts to answer basketball’s equivalent of the chicken or egg paradox.
If I were in Coach Bud’s ear, my suggestion would be simple: Make all your threes and make sure every opponent misses every three. Then? Profit.
Know your enemy
Mostly recent game coverage on DBB, but the Pistons head into their two miniseries against the Bucks with some pep in their step after dispatching the Warriors. Klay Thompson wasn’t available for Golden State, but it’s still a nice win for rebuilding Detroit.
Positive Bucks season 2021-2022 by Timberwolves here. We know all about having an entire 12 minute frame where the team more or less decides to collectively forget what it’s like to play basketball. That problem ended up not being a major backbreaker for Milwaukee, so it’s more than likely the Timberwolves will ride it out the same way.
The Thunder have rattled off three straight wins against the Clippers (twice) and the Dallas Mavericks, thanks in large part to the play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In recent seasons, it has been a matter of when, not if, SGA would take the next step and drag the team along. Is this the year he does it? And if so, does he do so as a member of the Thunder after the trade deadline?
Social media section
Purple jersey night was a resounding success
The Bucks haven’t lost a meaningful game since MarJon entered the league. Stay awake.
Slangin’ eggcubes might be worse than slangin’ NFTs lol. Respect that stress.
My husband is going to try to bring Kyrie over a few mugs of office K-Cup coffee and Biscoff cookies lol
I am disappointed that Kyrie appears to be supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands that this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, promoting hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion is wrong.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) 29 October 2022
The least Pat could do is let his design guys come up with something that doesn’t look as grim and blasé as all the other “luxury apartment complexes” sprouting like weeds across this nation
I have seen the prequel to this movie
Kerr says DiVincenzo will not travel on the upcoming road trip. “Hamstrings are tricky,” Kerr said.
Expect more Ty Jerome minutes, Kerr said. “That’s why he’s here.”
— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) 28 October 2022
For the love of all that is fair and holy, Silver, the Kings moved to Las Cruces yesterday
Bucks legend Jim Doyle
Former Governor Jim Doyle and several Milwaukee Bucks stars arrive along with Alex Lasry, former US Senate candidate and Bucks CEO. pic.twitter.com/sixauJ7VFw
— Matt Smith (@mattsmith_news) 29 October 2022
Riley’s 2022-2023 Weekly Prediction Record: 3-2
Milwaukee’s actual 2022-2023 record: 5-0
Quickly turning into another retired janitorial special where backing the Bucks to win every single game always makes more sense than any other outcome. If I end up 30 games under prediction because Milwaukee just ran off the league’s first ever 82-0 season, so be it. I’m willing to sacrifice some pride for immortality (followed by us laughingly flaring up in the ECSF again or something).
Four games this week with the first pair against the Detroit Pistons rounding out the team’s long homestand to start the year. Detroit is on the menu tonight and will be back on Wednesday. Then the team make their annual pilgrimage to grace me with an absurd 9pm central tip-off on Friday night – national TV games, folks! Finally, it’s back to Milwaukee to host the Thunder on Saturday.
I’m fine with all four actually. The pistons are upside down, but exciting. Minnesota has fundamental fit questions to answer (though they have the firepower to overcome structural weaknesses). The Thunder have been on a tear, but started the year with a comforting 0-3. Put me down for perfection and the Bucks keep the 82-0 going.