Breaking down late: Bobcats 102 – Bucks 98
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -4
Sometimes I see people complaining about Ersan’s minutes. Do these individuals only check the minute section of box scores? Ilyasova is often doing zero effective things when he’s been on the court this season. Of course he’s going to play fewer minutes. Guys like Sanders, Dalembert and Udoh have been considerably more productive when they’ve played. Produce or sit. That’s pretty much where the Bucks front court is at.
|Tobias Harris, SF 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +5
Very invisible night. The most notable thing I saw from him was a missed box out where Kidd-Gilchrist looked about a thousand times more aggressive and athletic than him grabbing an offensive rebound. Harris’ rebounding is pretty much equal to Udoh’s rebounding. Yikes.
|Monta Ellis, PG 42 MIN | 14-28 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 31 PTS | -13
Very Ellis. He can be so elusive going to the hoop that it seems like sometimes it makes it impossible for the defense to foul him. He had a number of drives where he split defenders and finished without any contact it all. It was kind of amazing. It’s hard to pin much of this one on Ellis, though his three on the final possession, open as it might have been, probably wasn’t the move to make.Unlike the Boston game, he couldn’t get hot down the stretch (1-for-6 in the final nine minutes). Couple that with the Bucks inability to get stops when they were most needed again and Milwaukee was doomed.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 33 MIN | 5-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | -14
People talk about Jennings defense and use words like gamble a lot, but I think the worst thing he did defensively came when he gave a very soft double on Byron Mullens that left Ramon Sessions wide open for a three late in the fourth. Sessions isn’t known as a 3-point shooter, but left completely alone, he can do it. And what’s the benefit of soft doubling Mullens? He wasn’t in position to make a play on either guy and it hurt bad.I have a lot more coming on Jennings’ offense. I started typing it here, then things came pouring out and this box exploded. Stay tuned. In summation, if the only consistent thing about Jennings’ season is me saying he needs to be consistent, that’s a bummer.
|John Henson, PF 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +4
He got the first “important’ minutes of his career, when he checked in with nine minutes to play in the fourth. He didn’t look overwhelmed, he looked aware of where he was supposed to be for the most part. I don’t know about that 3-point attempt with 4:13 top lay though. Very questionable shot
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 36 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -9
Very disappointing not to see Dunleavy get a touch on the Bucks last possession. He stood in a corner while Ellis ran a pick and roll and then attempted an open three. This was shortly after Milwaukee ran their typical set up three with 3:14 to play that got Dunleavy an open jumper from the left side. It probably would have been tough to get space with that action on the final possession, but surely there was more that could have been done to involve the team’s best shooter.
|Larry Sanders, C 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -14
Sanders’ active hands hurt the Bucks under two minutes. Fighting for a rebound after a missed John Henson layup, he fouled Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 80 feet from the basket in the bonus, sending him to the line for two. One possession later, he reached in as Kemba Walker was coming off a pick and roll and apparently made too much contact, sending Walker to the line. Acouple of tough plays, the sort of plays that happen to guys who are pretty active with their hands. Just bad timing that it led to four easy points late in a very tight game.
Three Things We Saw
- The free throw differential, Charlotte was 27-30 and Milwaukee was 8-11, was significant. Were the Bucks getting hosed? When it mattered late, there were probably two questionable calls that went against the Bucks, the Mullens post-up that led to throws and a Sessions drive where a block was called on Dunleavy, but for the most part, Charlotte was drawing way more contact on their trips to the hoop and Milwaukee did themselves in with some reaching fouls in the last two minutes.
- The 3-point shooting that bailed Milwaukee out against the Hornets was absent Monday night. The Bucks were just 2-for-16 from behind the arc. Ellis was 1-for-5 and Jennings 0-for-4. Meanwhile, Beno Udrih once again failed to attempt a three. He very rarely pulls the trigger, but wouldn’t we all feel more comfortable if he was the one attempting five threes and not Ellis? It’s strange.
- The Bucks squeaked by the Cavs and Hornets, but decisively beat both the Sixers and Pacers. Very strange. It’s hard to get a good feel for this team at this point. I know the win-loss record, 6-3, is very solid, but the lack of big time wins over some weaker opponents is disappointing. Perhaps I’m viewing the Bobcats through last season’s lens, but it’s hard to imagine them as a legitimate playoff team, early season success notwithstanding.An 11-point lead in the final 7:26 to play in the game was a big opportunity for the Bucks to get five games above .500 before a very tough four game run against the Heat, Bulls, Bulls and Knicks and they failed. But Milwaukee’s shown they can at least compete with Boston. Now we’ll see how they fare against the rest of the heavyweights in the East over the next nine days.