The Bucks pounding at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on Friday was just the latest example of the Milwaukee team's early season woes. Pacers center Roy Hibbert dominated an injury-laden Bucks defense that included the 7-foot tall Miroslav Raduljica, who was playing in his third game with the team. The Serbian rookie was one of three defenders matched-up with Hibbert by head coach Larry Drew during the night, as Epke Udoh and Zaza Pachulia also did their part to try and stop the momentum. It was a failed effort, however, as Hibbert managed a season-high 24-points and eight blocks.
Just eight games into 2013, the Bucks are at the bottom of the central division standings. Wins against Boston and Cleveland are the team's only successes on the season, and, this week, the team lost four straight to the likes of Dallas, Miami, Orlando, and Indiana.
As was the case against the Pacers, a lacking defense has wreaked havoc for the Bucks on both sides of the court. Nearly last in the league in defensive rebounds and allowing 100 points per night, the Bucks are scoring just ninety points on average and rank 24th in assists.
Too Many Injured Bucks Players In 2013
Playing a heavy hand in the Bucks early-season struggles are injuries to nearly every player that was expected to be the team's primary starting line. Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Caron Butler, Larry Sanders, and Ersan Ilyasova came out of camp as the premier group for the Bucks. As of Friday, the five have played just seconds together in the regular season, Ilyasova the first to be sidelined in an exhibition game in October. Since then, Sanders has torn a thumb ligament in a bar fight – out for six weeks; Knight injured his hamstring just minutes into the team's season opener in New York – timetable undetermined; and Butler has a sprained shoulder – out a couple of games. Even top reserves such as Gary Neal and Carlos Delfino are out due to injury.
Drew is maintaining a coach-like optimism about the future of the season. Redrawing the starting-line for every game in 2013 has been a struggle the coach admitted to reporters following Friday's loss, though he feels the Bucks are headed in the right direction. Fans and critics may disagree. The starting-line against Indiana put-up the worst averages of any this season, hitting just 19 of 58.