Point guards still a problem: Wizards 102 – Bucks 94

Monta Ellis fought, but he couldn’t bring the Bucks back on Saturday night. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

After a start that had everyone wishing the regular season was here as quick as possible, the Milwaukee Bucks have gone into a tailspin that’s left fans glad there’s still time left in the preseason for the team to straighten itself out.

After losses to the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies earlier this week, the Bucks returned to the Bradley Center BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday to take on the more lightly regarded Washington Wizards. The opponent was a different kind of opponent. Things are much less established in the world of the Washington Wizards. Chaos reigns a bit, as they try and figure out just who will be in their rotatin this season. Like the Buls and Grizzlies before them though, they were without their big star, in this case John Wall. But circumstances for the Wizards are far different than they are for the Bulls and Grizzlies.

Yet they still found a way to beat the Bucks, 102-94.

Now I have no visual evidence of how this one went. I had a work function to attend last night, so, though I loathed the idea of it, I had to miss the game. But the first thing that really jumps out of the box score is yet another strong point guard performance.

I can hardly place all of the blame for these recurring struggles at the foot of Brandon Jennings. Again, defending point guards takes a village, as the old saying goes. But we can see point guards of all skill levels have been something of a problem of late for the Bucks. Over the past three games, Nate Robinson, Mike Conley Jr. and now A.J. Price (17 points on 6-9 FG with 11 assists against two turnovers last night) have averaged 20.3 points on 47.4% shooting while dishing 10 assists against just 1.7 turnovers per game. Those are All-Star numbers the Bucks are allowing from one above average point guard and two distinctly below average point guards.

So that’s a problem.

Offensively, the Bucks are turning it over a bit more than they’d like. 18 against Washington on Saturday and 16 against Memphis on Thursday. Those are big turnover numbers. Big enough to help undo accomplishments like Saturday night’s 10-21 effort from 3-point range. Overall, this wasn’t a fantastic offensive evening for the Bucks: They paired those turnovers numbers with sub 40% shooting (39.5% to be exact) overall.

But it’s all going to have to happen on the defensive end for Milwaukee this season. And over the past three games, it certainly hasn’t.

  • Monta Ellis had a Monta Ellis night. 19 points and eight assists! 7-18 FG and five turnovers. If I could put an upside down exclamation point there to counteract the right side up one, I would, but that’s not how things work in this language for some reason. Ellis pumped in 10 points and five assists alone in the third quarter while helping to make this a competitive game. He can do that scoring in bursts thing pretty well. Unfortunately, makes were few and far between for him outside of that burst.
  • Brandon Jennings played 36 minutes and scored 16 points on 5-15 shooting (3-6 3FG). He had three assists and and seven rebounds. Notable about the rebounds is the six he had on the defensive glass. Those six were enough to allow him to place second on the evening for the Bucks in defensive rebounds. The point guard who has traditionally been a strong rebounder, you know, for point guards.
  • Paltry rebounding numbers from Samuel Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh and Tobias Harris. Between the three of them, they grabbed three defensive boards and eight total. Milwaukee was out-rebounded again, 44-40.
  • Trevor Booker had 22 points and seven rebounds and was a problem for the Bucks. He and A.J. Price. There’s your reminder that this is preseason and we can relax just a bit.

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  1. How’s Ersan been doing? I haven’t seen or heard from him so far this preseason. Also, you’re right, the first two games everyone was on their high horse, now it’s completely different. Some bad sounding losses…

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