Milwaukee wastes sizzling start due to turnovers
Even the best shooting start in the NBA this season couldn’t help the Milwaukee Bucks win consecutive games.
The Bucks hit their first 12 shots Tuesday night, but the well went dry offensively in the fourth quarter. Minnesota scored 19 points off of Milwaukee’s 10 second-half turnovers and ran away with a 112-101 victory at Target Center.
"We were right there, but we let it slip away," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "They did what they had to do. They made the plays at the end."
After two straight slow starts, the Bucks were red hot out of the gates against the Timberwolves. A miss by Khris Middleton broke the run at 12-of-12, the most consecutive shots to start a game since San Antonio hit its first 14 on March 10, 2011.
The Bucks only led by four after their hot start, an ominous sign for the rest of the night. Milwaukee took a 61-55 lead into the break but missed four free throws that could have extended its advantage to double digits.
Despite shooting 52.6 percent in the third quarter, the Bucks saw Minnesota win the frame 31-23 to take an 86-84 lead to the fourth quarter. Milwaukee coughed the ball up six times leading to 13 points and it would continue into the final period.
Brandon Knight had five second-half turnovers, as the Timberwolves eventually blew the game open in the fourth quarter.
"I thought for three quarters we played well," Drew said. "We did some good things, but to win on the road you have to be better. You have to take care of the basketball, your shot selection has to be good. We had some really careless turnovers that resulted in some easy baskets for them."
Drew thought the turnovers were more of a result of the Bucks hurting themselves rather than the Timberwolves forcing mistakes.
"I thought we lost focus on some of the passes that we were making," Drew said. "When the game is in the fourth quarter and you are right there, you just can’t make those turnovers. It’s just that plain and simple, particularly against good teams."
Now the Bucks are left to wonder if a 12-for-12 start can’t help them win two in a row, will they be able to do it in the season’s final 18 games?
"I won’t say discouraging," Drew said about not winning consecutive games. "I’m hoping we’ll continue to push through these type of situations. It just comes down to completing the task."
Sitting out: Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova missed Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota with right ankle soreness. John Henson started in his place, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds in 32 minutes.
Henson and Jeff Adrien shared the responsibility of guarding Kevin Love, but the Timberwolves superstar ended with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
A night after playing just four minutes because of a bad matchup with Tobias Harris, Adrien scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
Ekpe Udoh returned to action for the first time since Feb. 10. He had played a total of 15 minutes since Jan. 24 with ankle and knee injuries. Udoh didn’t score and had one rebound in 12 minutes.
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