|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 43 MIN | 14-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 32 PTS | +2
Career high 32 points. Could you make an argument that he’s the Bucks second best player right now? Absolutely. Could you make an argument that he’s their best player right now? Absolutely. He probably isn’t, but his numbers and overall game has been there lately. His movement towards the hoop resulted in layups on passes from teammates or offensive rebounds all night on Wednesday and he was hitting shots from everywhere. Scott Skiles had some insightful words about Ersan before the game that I’ll write up (hopefully) on Thursday.
|Drew Gooden, PF 37 MIN | 11-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | +4
Aside from a rough spot early in the third, this was a night full of offensive treasures from Gooden. Thank his effort for some of that, but thank Carlos Boozer’s lax defensive tendencies as well. He gave Gooden some extra space a few times when it just wasn’t necessary or prudent. Not when Gooden is making mid-range jumpers and threes. Watching the two of them duel back and forth was a fair amount of comical.
|Carlos Delfino, SF 25 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | -7
First quarter: 4-6 FG. Rest of game: 0-5 FG. His slump continues. Delfino got all of his baskets early on forays to the hoop, something he doesn’t typically do. The Bulls rarely give up open threes and he only saw one shining opportunity from outside. They made sure of it.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 38 MIN | 4-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +4
Credit the Bulls defense more than you discredit Jennings for Wednesday’s quiet start. He had just two at half. Rose and the Bulls weren’t giving Jennings anything from outside the arc, Jennings favorite launch point. But he snuck in for a couple shots inside, finished another break and got some looks from outside in the second half. Timely scoring, if not quite enough. In the half court the Bulls seemed to put a lot of focus on getting the ball out of Jennings’ occasionally dangerous hands or letting him take contested off balance shots. He opted for the latter.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 33 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +1
A little bit of everything from Dunleavy. Except made threes. He had one of the more prolific airballs I’ve seen in quite some time on a three he took in the first half. Really unexpected stuff there.
|Beno Udrih, PG 25 MIN | 4-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | -4
He’s supposedly been grumpy about his minutes and he’s certainly playing like a guy who deserves some more. Beno was crucial in saving a possession late for the Bucks. Even better, after his offensive board, he went to the rack and got two free throws. He followed that up with a layup over Joakim Noah to tie things up at 102. He and Jennings worked very well together with him often as the primary ball-handler.
Three Things We Saw
- Why do I discuss tanking? Getting a guy like Derrick Rose, that’s why. I’m less concerned with his last second shot, I subscribe to the theory that running a play would have been better, but it was everything else he did that amazed me. So easily he moved through the Bucks. Not every draft has a guy like Rose, he’s a rare, rare talent. But no draft ever has a guy like him between eight and 15.
(I know Kobe went 13. That was a high schooler and the mid-90s. Unlikely to happen again.)
- You know what’s a uniquely Bucks experience right now? Having a guy play incredibly well, possibly have the best game of his career and then watch people on Twitter debate intensely what he could be traded for. I know I helped get that ball rolling with Ilyasova, but let’s take tonight and enjoy what he did rather than think about him leaving.
- Everyone cheered everything late. Bulls fans were like 10,000 little explosions of joy each time Derrick Rose took a dribble. Bucks fans were thrilled to A. be in this game and B. have players making good plays late. A very lively arena late. No question that the players, specifically the Bucks players, fed off the energy. COME TO GAMES.