Bucks take a step back, lack urgency in loss to Kings

Kings forward Jason Thompson loses the ball as Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova defends on Wednesday night. Sacramento largely got the best of the Bucks, though, in a 117-102 Milwaukee loss.  

Jeff Hanisch/Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo took one glance at a box score, crumpled it up and threw it to the back of his locker. There was one ripped up and laying in shreds all over the floor in front of Jeff Adrien’s locker.

The progress the Milwaukee Bucks made over the past four games went out the window, as did the good feelings in the locker room.

Sacramento bullied the Bucks from the start Wednesday, cruising to a 116-102 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee fell to 2-21 against the Western Conference and again to record consecutive wins for the first time this season.

"This definitely was not the team that has played the last four or five games," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "It wasn’t the same energy or the same sense of urgency."

The Kings had their way offensively against a Bucks defense that didn’t offer much resistance. Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins scored over 20 points, while rookie guard Ray McCallum added 15 off the bench.

Even the offensively-challenged Reggie Evans added a season-high 13 points for Sacramento. Gay had 11 points and Cousins 10 in the third quarter, as the Kings turned a 13-point halftime lead into a rout.

"We didn’t play to the best of our ability," Bucks guard Brandon Knight said. "From what I gather from it, they scored a lot of easy baskets without a lot of resistance.

"When you get an offensive team like that, they continue to take what you give them. They sense a little bit of weakness and they take it. That’s what happened tonight."

The Bucks knew they were going to have to match the physical nature of the Kings and failed to do so.

Cousins, Evans and Jason Thompson beat Milwaukee up inside, while Gay was able to do what he wanted offensively.

"That was in our game plan coming in, to take advantage of their — what’s the word I’m looking for? — thin-ness on the inside," Cousins said. "So that’s what we did and it worked for us."

Milwaukee entered having won two of its last four by 20 or more points with the two losses during that stretch coming by a combined 16 points to the league-leading Pacers. The Bucks routed the Jazz, 114-88, on Monday and seemingly had a good chance to win two straight for the first time.

"You are going to have games where you are a little sluggish — even the best teams in the league have those type of games," Knight said. "You have to limit them. You can’t have many of them. There’s 82 games, it’s going to be tough not to have one where you aren’t stuck in mud. We’ve had our fair share.

Kings 117, Bucks 102

"We can’t have those type games, especially with our record. It’s not like we’re a playoff team. We have to play hard."

Confusion all around: Trying to figure out the actual final score of Wednesday’s game turned out to be a chore, as the stats got messed up at some point.

The first box score had minutes wrong for almost every player, some higher and some lower. Stats monitors and the scoreboard had the different score for most of the second half, while the initial final score was reported as 117-102.

Ramon Sessions was first said to have played 11 minutes and was later was bumped up to 17. Zaza Pachulia lost over two minutes in playing time, while Knight saw his minutes fall from 38 to 33. McCallum was originally said to have played 19 minutes when he really played 31.

The Bucks official app sent out an alert that said the final score was 119-103. No matter what the final was, the Bucks weren’t close. Imagine the mess it would have been if the game was competitive.

Sanders appears: Bucks center Larry Sanders was back with the team for the first time Wednesday since having surgery to repair a broken orbital bone on Feb. 14.

He spoke to the team in the locker room pregame and was on the bench during the game.

"It’s nice," John Henson said. "I haven’t seen him in a while. We missed him. It’s good to have him around."

Discipline looming?: Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova may be facing a suspension or a fine from the league after he was caught on video punching Evans in the stomach or kidney and then shoving him to the ground.

The NBA will likely review the matter and probably won’t look too highly upon the punch. Things got chippy in the fourth quarter, as referee Joey Crawford issued double technical fouls to Thomas and Bucks forward Khris Middleton.