After a rocky start to the season, the Milwaukee Bucks seem to be creating some positive momentum during the early stages of the 2019-20 campaign.
2019-20 is a season of high expectations for the Milwaukee Bucks. After winning 60 games a year ago and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, many are now counting on the franchise to get to the NBA Finals. Things were a bit shaky out of the gate but through six games, Milwaukee is finally starting to look more like a championship contender.
Mike Budenholzer’s squad had to pull off one of the greatest comebacks of the young season to avoid dropping its opener to the Houston Rockets. After that, the Bucks lost to a surprisingly good Miami Heat bunch in overtime. 2018-19 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out of both contests.
Games three and four echoed more of the same sentiments. While Antetokounmpo managed to stay out of foul trouble, the rest of his team lacked any form of consistency. Khris Middleton began to look like himself, yet point guard Eric Bledsoe continued to underwhelm. Following another win and another loss, Milwaukee stood at 2-2.
The Bucks’ first back-to-back of the season has been a successful one, with a matchup against the Orlando Magic and a home battle with the Toronto Raptors, the team that knocked Milwaukee out of the playoffs in May.
In those two games, Antetokounmpo scored a combined 65 points. Bledsoe put up stat lines of 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in the first game, then 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the second. Both are welcomed sights for Budenholzer’s offense, but there’s still room to grow.
Fresh off a four-year contract signed to bring him back to Milwaukee this offseason, Brook Lopez has struggled to find his footing. Free-agent acquisition Wesley Matthews is in the same boat. While the bench is deep, it has also been a product of throwing multiple players into the fire and seeing what they’re made of. The rotation as a whole is a work in progress.
Overcoming adversity is a key ability that nearly all championship teams have. While a 2-2 start certainly wasn’t the end of the world, it was still something that fans of the Milwaukee Bucks weren’t expecting.
Some members of the team are still struggling, yet Milwaukee has won two games in a row. It’ll face its second test of the season over the next week-and-change when a west-coast road-trip pits them against some of the best in the opposing conference.
If the Milwaukee Bucks can win three of their next four games, all on the road, they’ll be 7-3 on the season and 5-1 in their last six contests. Not only would that be a huge confidence boost for fans, but perhaps the players will also see some improvement in their performance.
Already faced with a small challenge in the first couple of weeks this season, the Bucks were able to overcome it with relative ease. The next eight days will determine how long they can keep the momentum rolling.