‘1-4 in five games,’ Rivers’ leadership on the chopping block

Milwaukee falls into a playoff slump.

The Milwaukee Bucks lost 101-111 against the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2023-2024 NBA regular-season finale at the Fifth Third Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Thursday night. The loss was Milwaukee’s second straight and cut the Cavaliers’ lead over the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference to 1.5 games.

Regardless of the outcome, Milwaukee’s performance on the night was dire. Milwaukee was without Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton, but that was no excuse. Memphis was missing most of its key players, including JaMarcus Morant, 토토사이트 추천 Desmond Baines, and Marcus Smart.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, had Yanis Adetokunbo, Brook Lopez, Jae Crowder, and Malik Beasley available.

Milwaukee was outrebounded. Despite having the tallest frontcourt with Adetokunbo and Lopez, they lost the rebounding battle 44 to 54 on the night. Add to that Memphis’ defense and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Memphis played solid defense around last season’s defensive player of the year, Jaren Jackson Jr, who effectively guarded Adetokunbo.

Adetokunbo struggled on the night, finishing with just 21 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.

Of course, Lillard and Middleton were also out, which could be chalked up to a fluke. The problem is that Milwaukee has been playing like this lately.

In their last game against the Washington Wizards, Middleton played and performed well, and Adetokunbo had a huge game with 35 points, 10 assists, and 15 rebounds, but they couldn’t control Washington’s offense and suffered a shocking loss.

Back-to-back disappointing performances against two of the NBA’s worst teams, Washington and Memphis. The blame is inevitable.

The blame falls on head coach Doc Rivers. After a shocking upset of the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last season, Milwaukee fired head coach Mike Budenholzer, who won an NBA championship with Adetokunbo.

He was replaced by coach Adrian Griffin. But Griffin was in Milwaukee for the first time in his career, and he made a series of rookie mistakes that led to a quick decision by the leadership of the championship-chasing Milwaukee.

Rivers was the choice to replace Griffin. Unlike Griffin, Rivers is a veteran who has been there, done that. He was hired by Milwaukee to win a championship.

The problem is that Rivers hasn’t shown much leadership with his last team. Rivers was a disappointing coach with his last team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and never led Philadelphia to the conference finals. That’s a shame, given Philadelphia’s history.

Rivers’ questionable leadership has also been criticized in Milwaukee. The biggest challenge for Milwaukee this season was the coexistence of Adetokunbo and Lillard.

Now that the regular season is almost over, the synergy between Lillard and Adetokunbo is still not good. Originally, Milwaukee’s strength was on defense. Their drop-back defense, centered around Lopez, was one of their best.

But this season, the defense has fallen apart. Milwaukee is giving up an average of 116.8 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the NBA, and its defensive rating is 116.9, which ranks 17th overall. On offense, Adetokunbo and Lillard still rank among the best individually, but on defense, they’re at the bottom.

It’s safe to say that Rivers hasn’t made a difference. On offense and defense, Rivers hasn’t shown any tactical effectiveness.

At this point, it”s hard to see a playoff run. The Boston Celtics, who were considered Milwaukee’s rivals before the season started, have run away with the NBA’s best winning percentage. The difference between them and Milwaukee is vast. If the two teams were to meet in the playoffs, the experts would favor Boston.

There are only six regular season games left. Will Milwaukee and Rivers be able to turn things around in the playoffs?

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