The Bucks cruised to a 134-106 victory over the defense-less Trail Blazers on Monday. Portland’s defense did not have answer for Milwaukee’s pace, scheme, passing or shooting. Needless to say, if you can’t account for those four things—you’re in for a long night. With the game out of hand early, Lillard logged just 27 minutes in three quarters of action.
Tape your eyelids open. Here is a second look at how the Bucks dismantled the Blazers on Monday.
It was clear from the opening run of baskets that this matchup was not going to feature a lot of defense. The Bucks’ offense got into their half-court sets, ran in transition and generated an endless amount of open three-pointers with little interference from the Blazers. In the first quarter, six different Bucks converted a shot from beyond the arc. As a team, they connected on 80 percent of their three-pointers and 69.2 percent of all their shots from the field. Honestly, 69.2 percent felt low at the first quarter’s conclusion. Without a defender in sight on several plays, the Bucks enjoyed extended runs without a miss.
For the Blazers, Lillard and Enes Kanter did their best to keep pace with the red-hot Bucks. In the first 12 minutes, Lillard notched five assists and Kanter corralled six rebounds (two offensive). At the end of the first quarter, the Bucks were comfortably ahead with a 46-36 advantage.
The Blazers’ dinosaur duo of Rodney Hood and Carmelo Anthony did their best to slow down the Bucks’ offense with extended, dribble-filled possessions. The slow-moving forwards converted a pair of midrange buckets that briefly got the Blazers within single-digits. Unfortunately, Milwaukee’s sluggish opening to the second quarter did not last. Fueled by Bryn Forbes’ appearance off the bench, the Bucks found their groove from distance, again. The final six minutes of the quarter featured the Bucks racking up points by turning Portland’s defense inside out. From simple passes to gorgeous kick-outs, everything was available for the Bucks.
The Blazers headed to the locker room down by 23 after surrendering 79 points to the Bucks in the first half.
The dance between the Bucks’ high-powered offense and the Blazers’ non-existent defense did not miss a beat after halftime. Utilizing pace and inside-the-arc scoring, Milwaukee pushed the lead to 30 points and didn’t look back. Through three quarters, the Bucks generated 32 assists and connected on over 60 percent of their shots from the field. Unlike the first half, Milwaukee did a solid job of generating points inside the arc. In the third, over half of the Bucks’ points were scored in the paint.
Down by 36 after three, the Blazers and Bucks turned to their benches for the fourth quarter.
There is a difference between bad defense and no defense at all. Tonight, the Blazers witnessed just how efficient an opponent can be if they aren’t met by resistance—at any point. Prior to garbage time in the fourth quarter, the Bucks produced staggering numbers on the offensive end. For a moment, it looked like Milwaukee was a threat to hit 100 points in the first half. Instead, they came up 21 points short. Still, surrendering 79 points in a single half was a new low, even for this Blazers’ squad.
Little’s Big Night
Tucked just behind the ugliness of tonight’s loss was a strong night from second-year forward Nassir Little. The former Tar Heels standout notched 30 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes. Little was confident and hustled to get open. If he sticks to that formula, he should continue to earn minutes moving forward.
The Blazers return to action on Tuesday with a matchup against the Wizards.