The Milwaukee Bucks are better than you think. Not only does Mike Budenholzer’s team sit atop the league-wide standings at 41-14, but their top-ranked +9.5 net rating is two points per 100 possessions better than the Golden State Warriors’. The Bucks have been the best team in the NBA this season, and it’s not particularly close.
That reality wasn’t on display Saturday night, though, when the Orlando Magicbeat Milwaukee, 103-83, at Fiserv Forum. Related: Giannis Antetokounmpo, after scoring 29 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in his team’s win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, didn’t play, but instead watching the action in street clothes with right knee soreness.
No matter, though. Even in losses, the Bucks keep making history this season. The team attempted 35 threes against the Magic, bringing their total number of tries from beyond the arc to 721, a franchise-high mark for a single season with almost a third of the calendar remaining.View image on Twitter
Milwaukee, by the way, made just six of those 35 three-point attempts against the Magic. As Budenholzer said after the game, “We just didn’t have it tonight.”
The Bucks have had “it” almost every night this season, though, and three-point shooting is one of the biggest reasons why. They take more triples per game than every team but the Houston Rockets and score a third-ranked 33.6 percent of their points from beyond the arc. Quantity sometimes looms larger than quality, a fact Milwaukee has leveraged into the league’s fourth-best offense this season despite shooting a pedestrian 35 percent from deep as a team.
Rather than made three-pointers, it’s the spacing the threat of bombing them from all over the court provides that makes the Bucks so impossible to defend. Just imagine when they fully integrate Nikola Mirotic. Scary.