The Milwaukee Bucks lost four games in a row, posting their longest losing streak of the season and their longest skid since 2018. Jrue Holiday, one of the NBA’s top two-way players, missed five games for the Bucks while recovering from COVID-19.
At least the Bucks got their fans back, which should help provide a much-needed morale boost. The Bucks played in front of hometown fans for the first time all season in the loss against the Raptors the other night. The Milwaukee Health Department will allow the Bucks only 10% of the capacity at Fiserv Forum, which is approximately 1,700 spectators.
From a betting perspective, the Bucks have a losing ATS record at 13-15 against the spread. The Bucks are 0-4 ATS during their losing streak. If you bet NBA totals, the high-octane Bucks have been profitable for over bettors with a 17-10-1 clip, or sixth-best in the NBA.
During their downturn, the Bucks slipped to +1000 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship, according to a recent update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
Freak Losing Streak for the Bucks
Four-game losing streaks are a part of the ebbs and flow of an NBA season. This current run marks the Bucks’ worst stretch of games since the end of the 2017-2018 season.
Last season, which includes the NBA restart inside the NBA Bubble at Disneyworld in Orlando, the Bucks went 56-17. The Bucks lost three games in a row just once, right before Adam Silver shut down the league when the coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March.
In the 2018-19 season, the Bucks went 60-22 and only lost two games in a row one time.
The Bucks completed a six-game road trip with a 3-3 record. They won their first three games, but dropped their last three. They lost back-to-back games against the hottest teams in the NBA, including the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.
From the Suns’ and Jazz’s perspective, they contained Giannis Antetokounmpo and defeated one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. From Milwaukee’s perspective, they lost two games in stiff competition against Western Conference sharks compared to the shallow waters in the east.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” said the Greek Freak. “We want to win, especially a game like this. You want to come out there and win the game, but it doesn’t always go your way.”
The Bucks suffered a 5-point loss against Oklahoma City on Sunday night, which you could chalk up to simple road fatigue after being away from home for over 10 days. Their 11-point loss at home against Toronto is what sounded the alarm.
“We’ve got to look at the film,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. “We’ve got to see where we can get better. Nobody’s happy with the result. Nobody feels good about it.”
It’s not hard to figure out why the Bucks hit the skids. Jrue Holiday went down with COVID-19 and the team went sideways. Holiday averaged 16.4 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds with his new team, but you didn’t truly realize his impact until the Bucks had to play without their floor general and top perimeter defender.
Khris Middleton stepped up in the scoring department, and backup point guard Bryn Forbes (9.5 ppg) filled in for Holiday as the starter. But neither Middleton nor Forbes could handle Holiday’s defensive workload. Budenholzer assigns Holiday to defend the opposing team’s best player, even if they’re bigger than him.
“We hope Jrue will return soon,” said Antetokounmpo. “We have to be better, but obviously, one of our best players on the team, playmakers and best defenders on the team is not playing with us.”
Antetokounmpo isn’t having as dominant of a season as he did last year. He’s ranked #7 in scoring and rebounding with 28.2 points and 11.4 boards per game. He’s still a favorite among stat geeks with a 28.42 PER advanced metric, which is ranked #3 in the NBA.
On Deck: Bad Teams
The good news for the Bucks is that their next five games are against losing teams. They also have seven home games in a row. They hit the road one time before the All-Star break with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies in early March. Aside from that, the Bucks get to sleep in their own beds for the rest of the month.
The Bucks have a rematch against the Toronto Raptors (13-15) tonight.
“You always gotta look at the bright side,” said the Greek Freak. “Keep getting better, watch the film, improve, keep everybody in a good place and it’s not the end of the world right now. It’s not. It’s really not.”
Over the weekend, Oklahoma City (11-17) and the Sacramento Kings (12-15) visit the beer capital of the Midwest. Next week, the Bucks play two more bad teams, including the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves (7-22), who lost leading-scorer D’Angelo Russell to a knee injury.
There’s also a rematch against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Anytime you have a meeting between Zion and Antetokounmpo, it’s must-see TV. Zion won their last meeting with a 5-point victory in New Orleans at the end of January. Greek Freak scored 48 points in the loss, while Zion scored 21 points and three other starters scored 25-plus points for the Pels.