Philadelphia shows us what a truly depressing team looks like: Bucks 110 – Sixers 102
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 36 MIN | 10-17 FG | 5-6 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +13
Again! Back-to-back 20+ point, 15+ rebound double doubles for Ilyasova. He was back on the offensive glass against the relatively little Sixer front line, with seven offensive boards, including one in the fourth quarter that led back to a six point lead for Milwaukee and a tip in off a missed free throw that pretty much sealed the deal. He’s been shooting threes really well for about two months now and that continued against Philly, so that’s a cool thing. Milwaukee was counting on him being a guy who made threes.
|Larry Sanders, C 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +19
Jrue Holiday layups and drives had been a problem while both Jennings and Sanders went out early in the fourth quarter. But Larry would come back eventually. And as per usual this season he almost never stopped making plays defensively. With the Sixers charging late, a Brandon Jennings three put the Bucks up eight and Holiday came back down the court with intentions on responding. He quickly scooted towards the hoop, but Sanders was in the way and, without actually blocking the shot, he forced Holiday into a tough miss. It wasn’t one of Sanders’ monster block or board games, but he’s always making an impact on defense.
|Monta Ellis, PG 44 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +11
He flirted with the idea of a triple double, even though it seemed like he kind of took a back seat to Jennings for a lot of the game. But Ellis picked his spots and was aggressive with them. Most of his shots were of the coasting to the rim variety. Those are preferable to the pull-up off the dribble jumper from 21-feet out variety. The 10 assists led to a lot of easy hoops too, which is always nice.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 8-17 FG | 6-6 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 25 PTS | +9
In a battle of “All-Star Candidates Because Derrick Rose Is Hurt”, Jennings was far, far better, especially in the fourth quarter. He hit an important three, he got by Holiday for a layup, he found Sanders for a dunk, he poked a steal out of Turner that led to a missed Sanders fastbreak layup. He did a little bit of everything. He really took control of the game in the fourth while Holiday struggled to even control the ball (eight turnovers total for Holiday).
|John Henson, PF 12 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -5
He always seems to find the basket when he’s out there. An impressive quality. But Henson had one super rookie moment when he felt a double team come to hit right shoulder in the post, only to try and step through it rather than head towards the paint when he had the tiny Evan Turner on him. Ideally, those are situations he’ll learn from.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -1
Is there something that’s known for its reliability? Ford? Chevy? Coca-Cola? Whatever it is, it’s probably less reliable than Mike Dunleavy. He shoots when he’s open. He passes when he’s not open. He almost always makes the best decision possible and Bucks fans never feel better than when he shoots an open three.
The buttons he’s pushing are the right ones. Whatever he’s done with Ilyasova, whether it’s just through communication or the move to the starting lineup, has been great for the forward’s confidence. And Jennings is playing some of his best ball of late. JIM BOYLAN IS A GENIUS.
Four Things We Saw
- Evan Turner was crushed in the post, whether it was Luc Mbah a Moute doing it, the one time Ersan Ilyasova did it or the time Mike Dunleavy did it. He could do little aside from foul and then claim he only hit ball, not wrist. Milwaukee didn’t always make him pay when they did get to the line, but it was an interesting little thing that kept happening.
- This game probably isn’t as close as it was in the last four or five minutes had Milwaukee not missed so many free throws – 21-of-33 on the evening. Even Dunleavy and Ilyasova, typically strong free throw shooters, missed one of two each in the waning minutes after fouls by Turner.
- The Sixers are stuck in a similar situation to the one the Bucks were in in the 2010-11 season, except their big man isn’t even healthy enough to play at all. Maybe the Sixers will continue to lose and get a reasonable lottery pick and be able to pair a better than competent player with Bynum next season, but that big man will forever be a time bomb. It’s a tough way to operate, even if they pretty much had to take the chance on him last summer. As is, they are a team that’s very difficult to watch and even more difficult to enjoy.
- With the win, Milwaukee climbs back to four games over the .500 mark. That’s a bit more of a pleasure at this point, as some of the most difficult parts of the Bucks schedule have now been completed.