Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks set an NBA record for three-pointers in a game after draining a remarkable 29 shots from beyond the arc. The milestone was part of a 144-97 blowout against the Miami Heat. Milwaukee carried a 83-51 lead at the half, which was apparently a large enough margin to make TNT think it was totally fine to pretty much abandon the nationally broadcasted game in favor of portions of irrelevant games of other teams and inane commentary from NBA On TNT analysts.
Believe it or not, this unthinkable act perpetrated by the network who brought you such shows you’ve maybe heard of but have never seen as Rizzoli & Isles and a series based on the 2013 film Snowpiercer wound up making a ton of Bucks fans, Heat fans, and people who wanted to see the scheduled broadcast they were promised super pissed. TNT knows drama, indeed! At any other time, this would be no big deal. However, due to ongoing financial bickering between Hulu + NBA Live, YouTube TV, and a number of Sinclair-owned FOX Regional Sports Networks (which includes FOX Sports Wisconsin), many Bucks fans in Wisconsin are only able to legally watch the Bucks when they’re playing on national TV.
So when TNT abruptly abandons the broadcast to show you early fourth quarter action between the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder as Shaq and Charles Barkley talk shit about things that (mostly) have nothing to do with basketball, that poses a problem for fans who are the victims of this standoff between billionaire cable corporations and streaming services. Thus, a sizable portion of Bucks fans looking to see the team firing on all cylinders were left with these choices: 1. Risk having your computer explode by looking for a shady stream on some Moldovan website or some shit. 2. Keep watching TNT and hope the madness would eventually stop.
We opted for the second choice, leaving us to miss much of the third and fourth quarters. During that stint, Barkley claimed he was never going to visit Detroit, Toronto, and a bunch of other cities ever again and proceeded to personally apologize to friends who lived in those places (by name). Shaq plugged Papa John’s then offered Kenny Smith free cheese pizza for life. Kenny revealed he prefers sausage and pepperoni pizza. Chuck and Shaq ripped on the Bulls, which was actually pretty enjoyable, then talked about how poorly the Wizards were playing and chatted about the Pacers having no stars on their roster. Then, after showing some of a Warriors game that wasn’t very close, they switched to footage of Steph Curry draining a bunch of three pointers…in a video shot during a recent Warriors PRACTICE.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks neared, matched, then eventually eclipsed the NBA’s all-time record for the most three-pointers in a game. TNT cut back to the game after the record was already set, then cut away seconds later to check in on more games with no connection to the Bucks. And they went back to the Curry video. Lame! Eventually, the broadcast returned to the final two minutes of the regularly scheduled broadcast, but the damage had already been done by then.
The Bucks setting an NBA record for threes in a game after TNT inexplicably cut away is an all-time Milwaukee sports moment. #MilwaukeeVsEverybody
— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) December 30, 2020
To be honest, if this happened during any other NBA game, we probably would have appreciated checking in on other games while Barkley jokingly insinuated Shaq was embezzling money from his own foundation, Kenny was roasting Little Caesars (a sponsor of NBA On TNT), and Ernie was desperately trying to keep the conversation somewhere close to the vicinity of basketball to no avail. We’re probably not alone in feeling that way. However, during Tuesday’s historic Bucks game that also happened in the midst of a cable/streaming dispute and a pandemic that makes watching games impossible to do in person, it wasn’t fun for fans in Wisconsin who were kept completely in the dark as their team did the unthinkable.
Of course, we’re saying all of this while acknowledging that, in the grand scheme of things, this really doesn’t matter. There are way bigger injustices in the world that deserve far more attention and action right now. After a while, not being able to see Milwaukee hit 29 three-pointers against the team that halted their championship hopes over the summer became so dumb that we honestly had to laugh. Frustrated as some fans were, they’ll get over it. But please PLEASE don’t let it happen again, TNT. Consider yourself on Burn Notice.