TORONTO – Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo had an ineffective game against Toronto on Sunday. Everyone was seeing it, and everyone expected the Milwaukee Bucks star to surrender more definitely in the finals of the 4th Game of Tuesday's East Conference at Scotiabank Arena.
And yes, the Bucks have got tremendous mileage out of their role players and their reserves, men like Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill and Ersan Ilaysova, by flashing depth that has sometimes surprised up yet. they had run a 10-2 post record to this point.
Meanwhile, critics talk about Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe as if they were furniture in the locker room. There is a linen bin here, water cooler there, broken slack for performances that haven't been worthy of their status – current and future – through three games of this seven-best series.
Not only that Middleton and Bledsoe, Milwaukee's back-court begins nowadays, are worried in the 118-112 dual overtime loss on Sunday. Everyone failed 13 from his 16 shot, scoring a total of only 20 points – about half of what you could expect, given the combined 78 minutes they recorded.
Fact is, neither the other has not shot or scored in the series they need, either to push the Bucks closer to a Final Opportunities dream or to show that the can t this memorable spring is no more than one time.
Scan down Milwaukee statistics sheet through three games and, o, that's them: Middleton (10.7) is sixth in points per game, Bledsoe is seventh (9.3). They are worse than that if you are a factor in court time; both have recorded more minutes than all but Antetokounmpo and, in the case of Bledsoe, Brook Lopez.
Oh, and this: Middleton shot 33.3 percent in all three games; Bledsoe, 23.7. At 3 points, 26.7 and 11.8, respectively.
While the difficulties and deficiencies of Antetokounmpo come under consideration whenever they occur – and especially in their defeat radar All Star and Bron All-Star passed the team almost under radar critics.
No more. If Middleton and Bledsoe are good enough to tailor the above labels, they were carried through a 2018-19 regular season, one needs to break out a variable offensive performance. What's more, if both are considered essential parts of Bucks' core who want to compete at this level time and again, they need to prove that.
When Mike Budenholzer spoke to reporters before meeting his team and his film analysis on Monday, he reminded everyone of the symbiotic relationship between his star star and his secondary stars, as he played against a defense and swarming plan. defensive Toronto.
The harsh night of Antetokounmpo attempted to score (5-o-16, 2-o-7 of the dirty line) consisting of seven assistants, eight turnover and a handful of bass that were shocked when the other lost by Buck. .
“I suppose we will have to play a little better from around to make it harder for them to do that,” said Budenholzer. “I knew, when everyone was playing well, then Giannis plays well.” T
That doesn't mean Antetokounmpo rides on any shirt pictures. It means, like most of the NBA elite stars who are committed to winning, it is trying to make smart basketball play intuitively. When faced with a double team of defenders or a wall of bodies between him and his attack on the edge, Antetokounmpo is natural and retrospectively trying to find an open companion.
The architecture of the Bucks means that anyone of their fellow members, when they are open, can deal with offensive responsibilities. That means lifting a quality shot, often from behind the 3 point line, for a number of the role players. But with Middleton and Bledsoe, it is meant to facilitate what is left in the shot clock, making good readings of their own, sometimes creating their chance of scoring out of thin air.
It has not happened in this series.
Middleton's situation is complicated by his defensive assignment in guarding the star of Kawhi Leonard birds of prey. He has been sharing more duties with Brogdon as the series goes on, but it is a difficult duty for both. The work is chaotic, starting as soon as Toronto gets the ball and lasts until the possession ends. Again and again. Middleton tries to deny his touch to Leonard, then he rides the All-NBA scorer in the hope of enforcing something awkward or unpleasant.
When asked on Monday, how one goes about “stopping”, Leonard, Middleton seemed tempting to laugh.
“Everyone has been asking me that question every series. You can't, ”he said. “It's going to get the ball in its possession the whole possession of most of the property. It's going to force his way into the paint. It's going to force his way to weak points. He's going to shoot controversial shots with one, two, sometimes three or four men on him. It's going to hit some, it's going to lose some. ”
Leonard has an average of 32.7 points in the series, 32.0 points in the Toronto mail season. He has shot 44.9 percent against the Bucks, 52.0 percent in the playoffs if you are a factor in former Indiana and Philadelphia enemies earlier.
Much was done in Game 3 of Leonard's location on Antetokounmpo. After all, our Protective Player of the Year is two years. That level of role-focused coverage played in the night's Bucks star, yet Leonard managed to score 36 points to carry the Raptor, 19 of them in the last 22 minutes of the extended game.
“It wasn't him all night,” said Middleton. “They changed the mats, as I said, to keep fresh bodies on [Giannis], to keep fresh bodies on other people. They also caught it. So it's not like he is playing a 1-to-1 defense against Giannis. Everyone knows, like Kawhi, that you have had to protect it with the whole team. ”
There is therefore a theory that Middleton's energy for crime has been constrained by his defense obligations. It's easy, but one didn't buy Middleton himself.