Sandunks and UDohn’t: Bucks 116 – Blazers 94
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 27 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +6
Milwaukee played virtually no defense early on as the Blazers came out firing and aggressive. The hole they dug themselves would have been much deeper were it not for Ersan’s contributions. 16 points in the first quarter thanks in part to four made threes. He was key early, but gave way to the Udoh-Sanders front line late. Defense was a necessity and Ersan wasn’t really providing it. Still he led the Bucks in rebounds, because he always does.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 35 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +14
The fourth quarter was a bit of a playground for him as he dropped 12 points to help finish off Portland. His 3-pointer with 6:33 left that put Milwaukee up 11 points after a broken play coming out of a timeout probably finished the Blazers off. We never saw the lead dip back into single digits after that.
|Beno Udrih, PG 27 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 21 PTS | +30
He’s been distributing the ball pretty well for quite some time, like the entire season for the most part. But he hasn’t really been all that willing to let fly on the 3-point shots. When he has shot, he’s been off. He was willing and accurate on Saturday and it made a big difference. His 21 were a season high.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 26 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +24
He didn’t score one time, but he made a big difference. When Joel Przybilla was out of the game, he was pretty much the closest guy left to being a center and he controlled the paint like one.
|Larry Sanders, C 17 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +22
Dunks. Dunks, dunks, dunks. Six of them in all. Larry caught the ball around the hoop and finished with authority. The most important part of that sentence? Larry caught the ball around the hoop. He’s often had as much trouble doing that as his teammates have had finding him. Both he and his teammates were at their best at their respective jobs as it relates to his scoring on Saturday and it paid off handsomely.
Three Things We Saw
- The Udoh-Sanders pairing worked like a charm this evening. When the Blazers were tired and Joel Przybilla had to come out, Milwaukee’s young power forward duo asserted themselves on defense, as rebounders and around the hoop on offense. When they play together, the Bucks have outscored opponents by 39 points after tonight’s game.
- Milwaukee won the second half in dominant fashion: 62-31. Everything was crisper and more focused. The open jumpers stopped coming for Portland and shots at the rim were contested and fought over. The Bucks were the team that had been beating the little guys with big numbers over the past few weeks rather than the squad that was on cruise control against the Bobcats the night before.
- Milwaukee now trails the Knicks by just a half game for the final playoff spot in the East and the Sixers by 1.5 games for the seventh playoff seed.