After going through a dismal stretch of five consecutive losses, the Milwaukee Bucks are finally back to winning ways with two successive victories. Yesterday, they beat a distraught Sacramento Kings side with 128-115, handing them their seventh straight loss.
With their latest victory against the Kings, the Bucks have a record of 18 wins and 13 losses and are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Bucks’ talisman, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has been exceptional in the last two victories. He has averaged an insane 33.5 points, 18.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists for the last two games. However, one of the biggest problems for the 2-time MVP however has been his dismal free-throw shooting. This season, the ‘Greek Freak‘ is knocking down only 65.4% of his free throws.
Sacramento Kings’ coach Luke Walton was certainly aware of the same. In the post-game press conference, Walton said that the team targeted Giannis’ weakness in the game.
But unfortunately for the Kings, Giannis had one of his best nights in free throw shooting as he made 19 of the 24 free throws he attempted. Walton later said that the 25-year-old was like “Steve Nash shooting free throws out there.”
The 2-time MVP will be eager to maintain this form in the regular season. His dip in the free-throw shooting department has simply been shocking. In 2017-18, Antetokounmpo was shooting a then-league average of 76% from the free-throw line.
But this number has dipped in the last and current season, where he has been shooting 63.3% and 65.4% of his free throws. Given that he is one of the most fouled players in the game, these numbers are unacceptable. If he does become more efficient from the free-throw line, it will be a big boost to the Bucks. Not only will it lead to more points, but it will also decrease the number of turnovers.
Before the season started, it seemed like the Bucks were headed for one of the best off-seasons, with the signing of Bogdan Bogdanovic and guard Jrue Holiday. But as soon as the Bogdanovic signing fell through, the roster seemed to be in jeopardy.
However, Coach Budenholzer has taken control of the team. Holiday was a much-needed upgrade in place of Eric Bledsoe. A lock-down defender who could add 20 points on any given night, Holiday’s addition has added a new dimension to Milwaukee Bucks.
With Holiday on the floor, the Bucks have looked like a solid team defensively, and the record speaks for itself. With Holiday, the Bucks had won 15 games and lost 8. Without the 30-year-old, the Bucks have struggled with only 3 wins and 5 losses.
Despite the encouraging signs that the Bucks have shown with Holiday, they have some big challenges in the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Given the star power and depth both the teams have, Milwaukee is surely not a favorite from the East.
The Bucks face a big challenge in the Nets and the 76ers. If they have a healthy roster, they are surely capable of pulling off a surprise or two.
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