Who is this Stephen Jackson and can he play every game going forward?

San Antonio Spurs 103 Final

Recap | Box Score

106 Milwaukee Bucks
Stephen Jackson, SG 42 MIN | 12-17 FG | 7-7 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 34 PTS | -1

This is as good as it gets for Stephen Jackson. Don’t take that as me saying it can’t happen again. Just take it as me saying this is what Milwaukee envisioned from him when the team acquired him. He was willing to share, making the extra pass and making a high percentage of his shots. When Jackson is moving the ball as well as he was Tuesday, you live with the bad shots he’ll inevitably take.

Andrew Bogut, C 35 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | -6

Bogut was back, in a big enough way. For the first time all season, Bogut was making some of his baby hooks. He was getting more looks at the rim and he even showed some of that explosion he occasionally finds on a dunk over DeJuan Blair. Tim Duncan’s mid-range jumper gave him trouble, but it was an acceptable first game back against a tough opponent for Bogut. And in true Bogut fashion, he took a crucial charge on Duncan to help put things away for the Bucks.

Carlos Delfino, SF 36 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -3

Someone had to start making threes. Milwaukee couldn’t keep shooting under 30% forever. So it figures it would be Carlos Delfino that would step up. The Argentinian connected on four of six from deep and took the burden off Milwaukee’s mid-range game. It’s amazing how much more relaxed the whole team looks when one member starts hitting some threes.

Brandon Jennings, PG 36 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 11 AST | 15 PTS | -2

I don’t know that Jennings was really doing anything all that different tonight than he usually does. Sure, his results were different, but his execution was nearly the same. The biggest difference? His teammates played well. That’s why Jennings had eight first half assists and five first half shots. More teammate makes are always a good thing for Jennings.

It could be a chicken or the egg thing with Jennings’ assists and his teammates shooting a high percentage, but I suspect his numbers simply benefitted from his teammates making shots rather than his teammates benefitting from him creating something different for them on Tuesday.

Jon Leuer, F 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +7

Leuer parlayed a smart first half into a starting spot when the second half began. Quick rotations, rolls after picks, moving into open spaces, Leuer does these things well. If he’s making open shots and finishing around the rim (which he was doing often Tuesday), the ability to know what’s going on and limit mistakes is what separates him from other Bucks power forward candidates.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee’s season high total of 31 assists was kind of what the team had in mind when they put together this group and touted their creating skills and the ball-handling ability of all the new guys. Ultimately, Milwaukee’s passing got them some better looks at the hoop and they just made more shots than they usually do too. Tuesday was a step in the right direction, but they left themselves a few steps behind in the East with that trip out West.
  2. Another uncustomary Bucks maneuver from Tuesday: The making of timely shots. Ilyasova put the Bucks up four late in the fourth with a three off a Stephen jackson drive. A Jennings scoop layup put them back up four after a Tony Parker bucket and a behind the back assist from Jackson to Ilyasova put them up seven. And after the Spurs had whittled it back to one, a Brandon Jennings fast break dunk sparked by a Jennings poke away gave the team room to breathe. So that one wasn’t a timely shot, more like a timely play, but the Bucks need those too.
  3. With injuries and excused absences, Milwaukee’s struggled to find much in terms of a rotation, and they had plenty of new lineups on the court Tuesday with Tobias Harris getting minutes, but Milwaukee stuck with the same nine guys all night Tuesday. Four Bucks (Jennings, Leuer, Jackson and Bogut) played the entire third quarter and it was the those four and Delfino back on the court to end things.

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  1. Wow.. Jackson really shut me up, and I love that the Rooks are getting quality minutes. That should really help our depth going forward. Also, I am still pushing for the Anthony Randolph for Sanders, Brockman, and a 2nd round pick. After his game tonight I don’t think he is going anywhere though. I love being right, but only when it affects my team positively

  2. Not sure what Randolph would do for the Bucks, there is enough of a logjam as is at PF. I think their team is fine as is when healthy. They need shooters to space the floor. Normally Dunleavy but 2nite it was Jackson and Delfino, still not a fan of Carlos in a starting role tho personally I think he’s too inconsistent offensively I like him as a spot up shooter but not off creating his own shot. Beno has a great mid range and a solid 3 point shot so having him back will be a plus as well. If they need anything it’s a player along the lines of a Damon Jones or Rashaad McCants (first 3 point shooting Free Agents that came to mind) I dont think they should sign them, but if they were going to, players along that calibur would be who I would try to acquire if I were GM (however I am not)

  3. Okay. we got our first highlight. And you featured it: That Bogey slam on the Jennings pass.

    Entertaining game last night. First one all season. Leuer should START. Tobias should play more.Sorry to say it, but Ersan and Gooden are never going to amount to much. Why not develop the rooks?

    Leuer is MUCH better than his stats ever say. He is very smart. When he plays a little more with the team, he’ll be even better.

  4. The more I see Leuer play, the more I feel like he should be taking the lion’s share of minutes at the PF spot. Anybody who doesn’t know who this guy is would be shocked to learn that he’s a rookie stolen in the second round: he just plays too damn smart. During the offseason, I was down about potentially losing Ilyasova; now I’m wondering why he’s still on this team.

    Speaking of, I hope Hammond is working those phones to acquire either a real backup center (whatever happened to Joel Pryzbilla) or a bona fide, bread n’ butter outside shooter as @JustinNixon alluded to. Ily and Gooden should be looking to sell their homes as far as I’m concerned. The former looks too uncomfortable in his role and confident in his shot; the latter is far too comfortable and confident than he ever should be.

    • Oh yeah, one more thing: Jackson does not deserve an A-grade til he learns to release a shot like a grown man. In the time it takes Jackson to square up and release the ball for a three, I’ve fixed a sandwich and taken out the trash. Fox Sports should take its TV timeouts when Jax has the ball open on the perimeter. Opposing defenders that don’t close out on those shots deserve to give up three points when they drop down.