|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 35 MIN | 11-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 25 PTS | -6
Again with 25 and 10? What has gotten into this guy. Double-doubles in five of his last seven games, better than 15 points per game over his last 10 games. Late game offensive put backs are becoming a regular thing, even when his teammates are lacking in energy. He’s hitting roughly 40% of his threes on the season too. He looks like he’s starting to take a big, giant step forward in terms of providing consistent production. If he had a real center next to him, I can only imagine how the Bucks front line would look right now.
|Drew Gooden, PF 34 MIN | 7-15 FG | 9-9 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | -14
I didn’t mean to knock Drew Gooden either. Credit him as much as you can for playing against the Celtics. In the locker room after Tuesday’s game, he literally could not bend over or have his back and neck do anything but be completely straight. Then he flew to Boston and played the next night. Better yet, he scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had to deal with Kevin Garnett all night. It still hurts the Bucks a lot that he isn’t much of a defender as an individual or as a team defender, but he’s a tough guy.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 33 MIN | 2-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 6 PTS | -8
Both Jennings and Rondo had eight assists and two turnovers at one point.
That is where the comparisons end. Rondo controlled Boston’s offense, manipulated and moved through the Bucks defense, took chances and set his teammates up. Brandon Jennings passed the ball. That’s what he did. He dribbled the ball up the court and then he passed it. On rare occasions, he shot it. For a brief period in the fourth quarter, he looked great. Back-to-back threes always get our hopes up with Jennings.
Otherwise he did what every point guard in the D-League and every point guard that plays on a major college basketball team could have done. Meanwhile, Rondo finished with a triple double. Remember when there was some conversation about which one of them was an All-Star?
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 31 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +5
It’s funny what happens when the Wizards’ defense is swapped with the Celtics’ defense. Gone were those blow-bys for Brandon Jennings that led to kick outs to open shooters. Dunleavy attempted just one three s the Celtics had much more of an interest in rotating over to keep him from hanging out alone behind the arc. The Celtics physical play made him bubble over and pick up a technical late.
|Larry Sanders, C 13 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +5
It’s cool when a guy you never know what you’ll see do plays well. But it’s hard to get excited for any random good game a guy like Larry Sanders has. It’s fine and all, but what does it matter? If he strings 10 or so together the way Ilyasova has started to do this season, then I’ll pay attention. But Scott Skiles had so little confidence in Sanders just last game that he didn’t even play. Forgive me if tonight’s performance doesn’t exactly leave me salivating over what could be.
Two Things We Saw
- Milwaukee led by nine points as the first half wound down. Then Rondo weaved into the paint for an easy layup and the Bucks carelessly handled the ball on the inbound. Keyon Dooling cashed that turnover in for a three and we had a four point game. The Celtics kept that ball rolling in the third quarter as they marched over the Bucks 27-13.
- A late run made this one look good, but the Bucks were completely out-classed in the third quarter and were unable to do anything about it. That’s what sucks. Milwaukee couldn’t call a timeout and pull it together or knock someone down and change the course of the game. Boston just put it together and crushed the Bucks like a snake that had curled around its prey. They were too talented, too physical and too good defensively. Milwaukee used to be like that. Those days seem so long ago.