|Drew Gooden, PF 36 MIN | 9-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS | +5
Drew Gooden will get by a guy like Pau Gasol for a layup and get a technical foul two seconds later. Drew Gooden will finish a wide open fast break layup and fall down for no conceivable reason. Drew Gooden will do his damnedest to defend Andrew Bynum and throw a pass through traffic into Derrick Fisher’s body. None of these things, not the good ones, not the bad ones, should be surprising.
Gooden was all Milwaukee really could counter the Lakers front line with, and he did his best. He’s typically a pretty uneven player, but Saturday night, he was better than that. He made a higher percentage of his shots and performed as well as you could expect against the Lakers tough front line. He often has the best numbers of any of Milwaukee’s starters, but Saturday night, he actually played the best too.
|Shaun Livingston, PG 31 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | 0
Elbow jumpers. I wonder how many Livingston has made in his life. It’s a pretty effortless shot for him, especially when he’s able to take it coming out of a post up. He displayed an uncommon blend of leaping ability and power with a dunk on a scrambling Andrew Goudelock. I’m sure Bucks fans are getting more comfortable with the idea of him as the starting shooting guard each game.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | -3
Before the game, I was thinking if the Bucks were going to be competitive, it would be because Jennings has 30 points and eight assists or something like that. Jennings had 10 points and five assists coming into the fourth quarter and the Bucks led by seven. Huh? Your guess is as good as mine. Saturday night’s was an okay game from Jennings – he handled the ball well, had only one turnover and pressured Laker point guards well, but only scored 12 points. And the Bucks still won and even shot 50% from the field. Weird.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 22 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +21
He was like the perimeter version of Ilyasova. He hit two threes, helped facilitate ball movement, grabbed some boards and shot a good percentage. If Milwaukee’s reserves can make shots at a rate better than 50%, that would go a long way towards moving them forward without Bogut. Obviously they won’t every game, but on a night when the starters were solid, but not great, it was a big pickup.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 25 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +14
While using most of his energy guarding the Lakers tough front line, he wasn’t the rebounding force he’s often been this season. But he helped the Bucks shoot better than 50% with his efficient night. Hit a three, grabbed enough boards in the fourth quarter to keep the Lakers from coming back – a game you’ll certainly take from Ilyasova.
Three Things We Saw
- Defending Kobe was primarily a dual effort. Delfino spent a lot of time on him throughout the game, as did Luc Mbah a Moute. Poor Mbah a Moute got the duty in the fourth quarter, when Kobe decided to get serious. He was up to the challenge though, forcing Kobe into some tough shots. The Mamba made 10 of 21 shots and almost had a triple double, but he led the Lakers in turnovers and did not put another game winner on the Bucks heads. Success.
- Did the Bucks just make more free throws than their opponent? That’s an anomaly for this group, but they love it every time it happens. With the Lakers huge front line and Kobe Bryant in the back court, this certainly didn’t seem like the game Milwaukee would win the free throw battle in, but here we are. It certainly helps explain how we ended up with such a surprising final score.
- Milwaukee is one of the league’s best teams at forcing turnovers and they were at it again against the Lakers. 15 Laker turnovers led to 23 Milwaukee points. That’s defense leading to offense and that, is exactly what Scott Skiles wants to see.