The word unlikely isn’t quite enough to describe this win: Bucks 91- Heat 82
|Shaun Livingston, PG 39 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +11
One of Livingston’s biggest assets is his size, not only because it lets him post up smaller players on offense, but because Milwaukee can easily switch with him and virtually anyone else on pick and rolls. Against the Heat, with James and Chalmers and Cole and Battier all involved in the pick and roll game, it was useful to have Livingston able to defend any of them. He had another strong, multi-faceted offensive game doing a little scoring, dishing and rebounding.
|Andrew Bogut, C 32 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +1
Bogut’s offense is still touch and go. It’s difficult to project when he’ll play well and when he’ll be leaving hook shots a foot short. But with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute back, Milwaukee certainly looks to have their defensive tag team ready to regain the belt. The Bucks held Miami to their lowest scoring game of the season and Bogut played a huge role in that.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 35 MIN | 5-20 FG | 12-13 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 23 PTS | +9
Jennings wasn’t getting the same looks against Heat point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole that he was getting against Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby of the Knicks. Miami was forcing him to take more shots in the in-between area, not as many three-point looks and not as many looks in the paint. Jennings struggled to hit what three-point looks he did get, but he did his best to keep penetrating and keep feeding his teammates. He even chipped in on the glass, with no rebound being bigger than the one he grabbed late in the fourth quarter and put back in to basically ended the game.
|Stephen Jackson, SG 26 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +12
Jackson did not start for the second straight game, but he did play in this one. He started slow, but hit two big threes, one late in the third quarter and one to start the fourth. He’s a gambler on D and he was able to poke the ball out while helping on defense on a couple of occasions as well. He looked to pass and had a couple of pretty assists too.
Jackson isn’t a lost cause, even if people have been writing him off after his latest mishap. He still has the talent to be a useful player, as he demonstrated against the Heat. And most importantly, this isn’t a guy who has quit on his teammates or anything like that. He’s still a competitor, and he’s still competing.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | +7
Ilyasova came in quick for Jon Leuer and made it difficult for Scott Skiles to take him back out. He was terrific on the glass and from a competitive standpoint. This was a classic Ilyasova game, right down to the made three-pointer. It makes sense that in an ugly game, Ilyasova was one of the players to shine.
Four Things We Saw
- The Heat must have been aware of the Bucks failures as an outside shooting team. They went zone for the last three minutes of the game and gave the Bucks plenty of trouble. Milwaukee couldn’t knock down the shots they were getting from the outside, but some good ball movement from the Bucks created open looks inside.
- Mbah a Moute and Delfino split time on Lebron James and they did what every team hopes to do: They made things difficult for him. Of course, James still had 28 points and 13 rebounds. What a monster.
- Milwaukee mad just 5-30 threes, which doesn’t seem like a sustainable formula for success. Of course, when they defend this well, there’s a pretty large margin for error. Mike Dunleavy was unable to find it from three in his second game back and Jennings struggled badly from deep. But this is probably a little better three-point shooting team than this game would have you believe, simply because those two won’t always shoot that bad.
- Two straight road wins for Milwaukee, one against a bad team and one against a monster team. One with Stephen Jackson and one without him. What have we learned? We still have a lot to learn about this Bucks team. They are still figuring out who they are and still getting to where they want to be defensively. But rarely have the Bucks been able to pull out such a big road win over the past few seasons. This was encouraging, even if the Heat were on a back-to-back.