|Stephen Jackson, SG 43 MIN | 9-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 25 PTS | +8
Among many others, I said on Tuesday that the Stephen Jackson that scored 35 points and handed out eight assists was the guy the Bucks traded for. That was probably a bit much. It’s tough so place that sort of expectation on the aching, aged Jackson. But Thursday’s effort is much more replicable. So I stand corrected: This is the Stephen Jackson the Bucks thought they traded for. But they won’t mind when Tuesday’s shows up here and there. That other one … we’ll refrain from discussion of that one for now.
|Jon Leuer, F 32 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | +17
Grabbing boards, blocking shots, finishing with authority. I know Jon Leuer is your favorite Buck in years. I’m just glad he’s providing you with actual reasons to cheer for him.
|Andrew Bogut, C 35 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +22
I told a friend of mine who wasn’t happy with his play in our rec league Wednesday night that no matter how rough things go for him offensively, it’s almost impossible for him to have a bad game. He’s our strongest player, holds everything together defensively and probably grabs 60% of our rebounds.
Andrew Bogut is not unlike him. Even on Thursday night when he grabbed just four rebounds, had loads of trouble with Greg Monroe and missed a number of hooks and shots around the hoop, he still is out there directing traffic on both sides and keying the Bucks defensive effort. But he looked winded and won’t soon forget the thrashing at the hand of Monroe.
|Carlos Delfino, SF 43 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | +17
Carlos Delfino missed somewhere between three and 95 games last season with a concussion. While this was going on, some Bucks fans complained about how big his loss was. Other Bucks fans noted that if losing Carlos Delfino caused the team to fall apart, then the team wasn’t very good in the first place. This team could handle his absence better with all the offensive players Milwaukee added after last season. So when he’s just kind of filling the corners and shooting threes, its’ a nice reminder that he’s a good piece to have and even better when he isn’t a focal point.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 40 MIN | 9-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 27 PTS | +15
Jennings is capable of having any kind of night, and while he’s often in control of the ball, the team doesn’t necessarily take it’s cues from him every game. If you glance at Jennings’ numbers tonight, you’d think he came down, dribbled around, and shot more often than not.
But Milwaukee’s offense Thursday often was operating with all of the smoothness of one of those Streetlife bass lines we heard when Stephen Jackson made a pair of free throws in the fourth. And Jennings was apart of it. Tonight, he played a different role than he did Tuesday when he had 11 assists, but he was no less effective.
Four Things We Saw
- For as well as the Bucks often played Thursday, they sure had a heck of a time closing out the Pistons. With just a sprinkling of talent throughout its roster, Detroit shouldn’t have been allowed to hang around in Milwaukee as long as they did. I’m not sure what it says about either team that this was a three point game at one point in the fourth quarter, but it can’t be a great thing that the Bucks weren’t able to put the Pistons away earlier. Of course, not every team can sink into the depths of energy that Washington did in Milwaukee’s 20 point victory over them earlier this season at the BC.
- For a second straight game, Scott Skiles went with Thursday’s starting lineup on the court to close things out. The same squad that got Milwaukee off to a strong start, did just enough to hold off the Pistons final charge. Milwaukee went through lineups like I go through those ear bud headphones last season, so it’s encouraging that they’ve found something for a couple of games here. And seriously, how easy is it to lose those headphones?
- For those who love confidence and guys who let other guys know they have it, Jennings stuck a three with 5:21 left in the fourth and gave Brandon Knight a long, “You’re in the league now, my friend” look. This came well after Stephen Jackson’s near constant glares at the Pistons bench with each jumper he made in its vicinity. Self-esteem must have been a class at Oak Hill.
- Again, Bogut is always useful, but Greg Monroe was really giving him trouble on both ends Thursday. He had Bogut scared of his short jumper, he stood him up on defense and even blocked one of his short hooks. Monroe is such a sound offensive player, but 32 and 16 seems like another level for him, whether Bogut was tired or not. He’s always been a very good passer and he was authoritative as a scorer Thursday. He’ll be fun to watch develop.