As usual, the Bucks beat the Heat … wait what?
|Carlos Delfino, SF 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +10
Delfino played just two minutes and didn’t catch the brunt of Lebron’s first quarter explosion. I can’t say I saw Stephen Jackson do anything particularly bad on Lebron, I think it was more one of those times when a great player got into a zone. With Lebron, it takes a team effort and a lot of luck.
It helps when ‘Bron isn’t necessarily the focus too. After the first it didn’t really seem like he was. Delfino probably deserves some credit for that, as he was hounding him off the ball and on. Oh, and Delfino chipped in three threes and 11 points. For a guy tasked with spending most of the night guarding the league’s best player, that’s a pretty terrific offensive contribution.
|Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF 33 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +22
Starting on Bosh? Forcing Wade into step back threes after 24 seconds of dribbling? Blocking him on a drive into the paint? Spending the last part of the fourth quarter on Lebron after spending the majority of the game on Wade? All while tossing in 11 points and six rebounds? As if Mbah a Moute needed to do anything else to endear himself to Milwaukee fans as a defender and putbacks guy. This game was the prototype for all big defense little offense guys.
|Drew Gooden, PF 39 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | +5
Scott Skiles had a smile on his face after the game when someone asked him about Drew Gooden’s strong outing.
“I particularly like the Drew Gooden one man press break.”
That’s so Drew Gooden. Apparently so is drawing fouls and so is battling and making some big plays late in games though too. All over the map.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 42 MIN | 9-25 FG | 6-8 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 31 PTS | +16
I’m not really the superstitious type. I know what I say isn’t actually going to impact the future. I know I can accept something and be confident if there’s enough data associated with it, it won’t stop being true.
All that being said, I’m still nervous to just accept that Brandon Jennings is pretty good now. I don’t want to jinx it. He didn’t even shoot particularly well against the Heat in the fist half, but he was such a damn leader out there. And when the Bucks were working on a come back, he was doing his whole annoying (to the other team that is) swag thing. It’s so easy to look past that shooting line and at the times he poked the ball from Mario Chalmers or drew the offensive foul on D-Wade or stared down Norris Cole and just enjoy the heck out of this dude.
Oh, and then he hit some huge shots too. Then he mugged it up. Then he took it a step further and blacked out for a while in the fourth. Or maybe that was me. Regardless. Everyone really enjoyed that.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +5
He wasn’t quite as sharp a shooter as he was Monday, but Dunleavy played a big part in the Bucks all around strong offensive night. He made his share of shots, but maybe even more importantly, he moved the hell out of the ball. Monday he was a creative perimeter player, a quick decision maker and a good shooter. That’ll do.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 33 MIN | 4-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | +3
Athletically, Bosh is on another level that Ilyasova will never approach. In terms of effort, Ilyasova can battle with any player in the league though. It was another very typical Ilyasova kind of night. He led the Bucks in rebounding because he knows when he can keep battling and knows how to tip a ball to himself. His shot-selection was stellar as well.
Three Things We Saw
- It would have been easy for the Bucks to check out after the Heat shot 80% and scored 40 points in the first quarter. I’ve seen Milwaukee do that to teams (no really, I swear I have) and pretty much put them away in the first. But the Bucks didn’t quit. There really wasn’t any reason to expect them to, I can’t remember the last time I saw them do that. It’s like the Bucks gatorade cooler is full of lemon lime laced with effort.
- I’m sure you won’t feel bad for Jackson at this point, but it was almost like he was sacrificed in the first quarter. Lebron was unreal and Skiles brought Jax in as the first man off the bench when Delfino ran into foul trouble. Lebron proceeded to wear him out. Jackson would not return and Lebron wouldn’t stay quite so hot. I will not connect those dots so simply though.
- Milwaukee struggled a bit late with the Heat press, but they found away to stay just composed enough to keep Miami at bay. Drew Gooden tried every insane thing he could to infuriate and drive fans up the walls at home and at the Bradley Center, but, as unorthodox as his methods are, he didn’t kill the Bucks late. I mean that as a compliment. The Bucks looked like a five-year-old who just realized his parents let go of his bike and didn’t tell him late when the Heat put some pressure on. But they held firm. Also, I have no idea what just happened. But I’m pretty sure that’s two wins over the Heat this season for Milwaukee. Wow.