Bucks vs. Nuggets preview
The Milwaukee Bucks made lineup changes in order to alleviate their defensive woes, though it didn’t prevent a sixth loss in seven games.
Coach Jason Kidd has not decided whether he will stick with a defensive-minded lineup when the Bucks try to hand the visiting Denver Nuggets a seventh straight loss Monday night.
Kidd opted to use Michael Carter-Williams and Jabari Parker off the bench for the first time in Sunday’s 87-82 defeat at Charlotte, giving O.J. Mayo his first start and Jerryd Bayless his first in his last six games.
The moves were made because Milwaukee (6-11) allows 109.0 points per 48 minutes for the league’s worst mark. The changes proved very successful, as the Bucks yielded a point total that matched their second-lowest and limited the Hornets to 38.6 percent for their second-best mark.
Milwaukee held Charlotte to 37.5 percent shooting in the first quarter in building a six-point lead.
"I thought the lineup switch got us off to a really good start," said Kidd, who said he will discuss with his staff what lineup to use Monday. "Defensively, guys were into it. We got a lot of deflections. We had multiple shooters on the floor."
Milwaukee outscored Charlotte in every quarter except the second, a period that proved decisive as the Hornets held a 23-9 edge.
"The effort was there, the energy was there, the understanding is you gotta play four quarters and we just came up short in one of them," Kidd said.
One horrific quarter was an issue for Denver (6-11) in Saturday’s 92-81 loss at Dallas. The Nuggets were outscored 25-5 in the third after going into halftime up by four.
"Our challenge is to play for 48 minutes and we’ve been unable to do so lately," coach Michael Malone said. "We go to Milwaukee and we gotta try to get that losing streak over by getting a win and to stop beating yourself on the road."
The Nuggets haven’t lost seven in a row since Jan. 16-26.
"I temper my frustration with the understanding that we are a very young team," Malone said. "When we start our normal lineup, we have a 19-year-old, a 20-year-old and a 21-year-old so being young in the Western Conference makes it difficult. So it is frustrating, nobody likes to lose, we all hate to lose but you lose six games in a row, that gets old after a while."
The 21-year-old player in question is second-year guard Gary Harris, who started the first 16 games before sitting out Saturday with a concussion. Randy Foye took his place in the lineup.
Denver welcomed back Kenneth Faried, who had 10 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes after missing three games with a sprained ankle.
Faried scored on a putback of Danilo Gallinari’s missed shot for the winning basket in Denver’s 103-102 home victory over Milwaukee on Nov. 11. Gallinari scored 25 in the Nuggets’ 10th victory in 11 games against the Bucks.
Bayless led Milwaukee with 22 points and Greg Monroe had 18 and 10 rebounds. Carter-Williams and Parker missed the contest due to injuries.