Milwaukee had its excuses for scoring just 56 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday, but that doesn't mean the game's outcome should have served as a surprise.
The Bucks entered Sunday with the league's worst offense, ranked 30 amongst 30 teams in offensive efficiency, and Scott Skiles' crew walked out of Boston looking even worse. In a league where over 112 points per 100 possessions will pace the field, and 100 points per 100 possessions will have you bringing up the rear, the Bucks scored a shocking 65 points per 100 possessions. And the team's mark of 38 points through three quarters set an NBA record as an all-time low.
Just nine points in the first quarter for Milwaukee, against a Boston team that jumped from second in the NBA in defensive efficiency to first based solely on this dominant performance. The Bucks had more turnovers (nine) than field goals (eight) in the first half; and though the team had flown in from Milwaukee after a 102-74 home win over the 76ers on Sunday morning (losing two hours with the time change and the spring introduction of Daylight Savings Time), close observers of the Bucks knew that it was only a matter of time before the team dropped a bomb like this.
The Celtics threw in their sportsmanship towel early, as no regular starter played more than 30 minutes, and newly added types like Carlos Arroyo, Jeff Green, Troy Murphy and Sasha Pavlovic did most of the heavy lifting. No Bucks starter played more than 28 minutes, but with a starting lineup that thinks about defense 14 times before wondering how it is going to make its first basket, it's not as if that mattered much.
Milwaukee shot 31.4 percent, which you'll see in a game from time to time, but it also made only three three-pointers, and nine free throws. Those are terribly low numbers. The team also added miscue to malignancy by turning the ball over on 20 percent of its possessions. Despite 54 chances for an offensive rebound after a missed field goal or free throw, the Bucks managed just six offensive rebounds all night. And former New York Knick castaway Earl Barron led the team in scoring. With 10 points.
All is not lost for Milwaukee. Despite the season-long swoon on the offensive end, Milwaukee ranks third in defensive efficiency, and the team is still just 1.5 games in back of the Indiana Pacers for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. Though it should be noted that, as the standings currently sit, the Bucks would face Boston in the first round. Hopefully only radio (short wave, AM radio) will carry that series.