|Drew Gooden, PF 42 MIN | 9-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 21 PTS | -5
I’m buying in, with one rule. If this guy could play like he did against the Magic every night, he would be a bargain at $8 million. So this was probably an uncommon game and I’m probably not really buying in, but he deserves all the credit in the world. The way he stood with Dwight Howard possession after possession and took – and delivered – an absolute pounding, but still contributed on offense and the glass was insane. Huge props to Gooden for his efforts.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 30 MIN | 3-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 7 PTS | -9
I said it during the game, I’ll say it again: Jeremy Lin is a MonStar and he picked Brandon Jennings for his talent. The life, actually more importantly the shooting ability, has been sucked out of the Bucks guard. 3-14 on the night, less than 33% in his last six games.
Asked whether he’s seen any obvious differences in Jennings game over the past six to the previous six Scott Skiles said: “Nothing I want to share.”
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | -1
I find myself wondering what it would have been like had Dunleavy been on the Bucks last season. I also found myself thinking today that Dunleavy is my favorite Bucks shooter since Kukoc. I see some similarities there too. Dunleavy is a good playmaker, very measured in his steps and adept at changing speeds to get open. Those are very Kukoc qualities. He’s a little better shooter, but not as good at creating. On this team, that’s just fine.
|Beno Udrih, PG 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +4
Jennings is still in his funk. So it was certainly important that Udrih flipped on his shot-making switch in the fourth. He used a couple of fakes to set himself up for some leaners that he cashed in as the Bucks put some space between them and the Magic. There’s been some rumblings that he’ll opt out of his contract in July, and that would be fine because he’s totally overpaid, but he’s a very good backup point guard.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 33 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -3
There’s one thing that Ersan has always done at a high level: Rebound. Well he’s taken that to another level this season. His 16 boards against the Magic were impressive, but not entirely unbelievable, because that’s just how he rolls now. He seems to be a recovered 3-point shooter too if his last minute three means anything.
Three Things We Saw
- At halftime, a friend of mine came over to me and said he was worried about Jason Richardson. He’d been too quiet in the first half, he said. I acknowledged it, but told him I thought Howard was a bigger second half threat. Richardson went on to score 28 points in the second half. Goodness. I thought he was washed up. Guess there are a few ounces of gas left in that Ricahrdson-mobile. Dude was 9-11 from three.
- Things were going so well. Milwaukee used a 13-0 run to go up 88-78 with 4:58 to play. With 2:06 to play, the Magic led 94-88. Led by Richardson, they went 16-0 on the Bucks in 2:52. Whew.
- This was an absolutely brutal loss, but not entirely unbelievable.Think about it: Milwaukee is the ninth best team in the East, at least that is my assertion. They beat the Raptors and the Cavs, the 10th and 11th best teams. They didn’t blow either team out, but they got it done. Then they lost to the sixth or seventh best team in the East because they couldn’t take control of the game in the last five minutes. That sounds about right to me. Talent, ladies and gentlemen. Talent wins out.