Picking through the Bucks-Pistons pre-season box score

If a game is a thriller and no one sees it, is it still a thriller?

Yes, I’m going metaphorical tree in the woods on you.  More importantly though, I’m sure those who were at the Palace of Auburn Hills yesterday evening can attest that the Bucks-Pistons game was indeed the ultra rare pre-season thriller.  Milwaukee dropped last night’s game to the Pistons in overtime, 115-110.  Since there was no televised broadcast though, I’m left sitting here with a box score, the write-up of the game from Charles F. Gardner and a report on an impressive sounding block from Larry Sanders.

So I’ll comb the box score and see what looks good and what looks bad when taken completely out of context.

  • As I so often do, I’ll start with Brandon Jennings.

Jennings struggled and went scoreless in the pre-season opener, so it is nice to be looking at an okay line from him coming out of Friday night’s game.  Jennings didn’t play the fourth quarter or overtime, but scored 14 third quarter points and finished the evening 6-13 (that’s almost 50% shooting!) with four assists against zero turnovers.  In 24 minutes of play with so many of the Bucks other key players out this early, it’s tough to ask for a lot more out of Jennings than that.

  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, he of the herky-jerk scoring style that Frank Madden said resembled an “old man at the Y” had a strong second game as a Bucks player.

CD-R was 8-13 on the evening and 2-4 from the line.  He also had two blocks and two steals and led all Bucks starters in plus/minus at +3.  Milwaukee obtained him with the hope that he’ll be an effective scoring guard for them and so far, so good.  After fouling out in game one, he committed four fouls in game two.  Given that he was able to make four “defensive plays (blocks/steals/charges), the fouls come with the territory.  The Milwaukee Bucks are never shy about committing fouls and so long as the fouls are of the aggressive manner and not the foolish manner, Coach Scott Skiles rarely seems to have a problem with them.

  • The aforementioned block by Sanders was just one of five on the night for him, as he continues to be active.  In a number of ways.

Sanders took a whopping 17 shots in 32 minutes against the Pistons, a total he probably won’t surpass this year once Corey Maggette and company return.  Unfortunately for Sanders, he only connected on five.  It’s never fun to see that a player went 5-17 from the field, but when looking a little further into Sanders misses, I’m not all that upset.

Sanders misses: 9-feet, 16-feet, 9-feet, 16-feet, 10-feet, 11-feet, tip-shot, layup (blocked), hook shot (no footage given), 18-feet, 13-feet, layup.

Seven (and maybe eight since I don’t know how far out that hook shot was) of Sanders misses were from inside 11-feet, which should be a range that he’ll eventually grow more comfortable in.  In game one Sanders appeared nervous and looked like he forced some attempts and I’m sure he did the same thing in game two, but he does seem to have a good idea about where he can have the most success on the court and for a rookie, that’s important to know.

  • Ersan Ilyasova, where was this free throw prowess last season?

Ilyasova made 11 trips to the line, cashing in on every one of them to finish with a tidy 18 points.  Also, as is common with Ilyasova, he crashed the boards hard, finishing with seven rebounds in 27 minutes.  Unexpected though, was the four assists Ilyasova dropped.  Four assists for Ersan Ilyasova!?  Everyone’s favorite Turkish player did that just four times last season, once needing 43 minutes and by the end of the season, four assists was out of the question.  In the ENTIRE HAWKS SERIES, Ilyasova logged only three assists.

Daye had a good night against the Bucks and seems to be starting to cash in on all that promise he’s long had.  The Pistons probably won’t be a very good team this year, but they could very well be better than most expect.  If it seems within the realm of possibility that the Cavaliers could contend for the 8th seed in the East, perhaps the Pistons shouldn’t be ruled out.  I’m a big Greg Monroe fan, and while he struggled against the Bucks, I think he could contribute some this year.  If they can get something out of him, get development out of Daye and figure out the point guard situation (is Rodney Stuckey going to work out? Should Will Bynum just get the minutes?) crazier things have happened than them being in the conversation for the last playoff spot.

  • On to Green Bay.

The Bucks play tonight in Green Bay at 7:00 PM and we’re once again looking at a game that features no television coverage.  Depressing.  Perhaps frequent commenter Bizzucks will be able to enlighten us all?  The game will be on 620 WTMJ if you’re into the whole radio thing though, and that seems better than nothing.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com.  Follow him on Twitter

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