|Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 37 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -8
Quickly after Mbah a Moute defended Joe Johnson’s final jump shot in overtime that sent the Bucks back to Milwaukee losers, folks criticized the Milwaukee forward for reaching on the crossover that ultimately left Johnson with the space to launch.That’s crazy.
Yeah, Mbah a Moute reached, but this guy has some of the best instincts in the league and knows the hell out of players he’s defending. He had a hunch and he played it. The way he recovered to challenge Johnson was fantastic and Johnson was forced into taking a fade away jumper from the elbow with a hand in his face. That’s fine. He made it. It happens. Don’t be silly.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 44 MIN | 9-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | -1
Ilyasova was pretty aggressive Tuesday night in Brooklyn. Perhaps he was still feeling the good vibes from his big game in New Jersey last season or he was refreshed after the break, but he made some nice rolls to the basket and even attacked off the dribble and finished with a layup one time. He only shot out of spot-ups a handful of times, but he was very productive all in all.
|Larry Sanders, C 27 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -3
You can sometimes see the little things Sanders doesn’t quite do the best yet. On the out of bounds play that resulted in Sanders launching a 20-foot jumper, he got open after he set a screen and faded back away from the hoop. But he had the opportunity to dive hard to the rim there and get a shot at a layup or a dunk right off the pass. For the most part he was terrific though. He had some crucial blocks and tip-ins that saved Milwaukee.
|Monta Ellis, PG 49 MIN | 7-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +2
He had some terrific passes out of pick and roll situations that helped get Ilyasova going. His recognition there remains strong. But that shot in overtime. Up three, coming out of a timeout with 21 seconds on the shot clock, Jennings dribbled until 12 seconds remained. Ellis got a hand off from him on top and went to the right wing after an Ilyasova screen. He pulled up for a three with six left on the clock from a foot behind the line. Boylan yelled at him. He yelled back. It was all a terrible scene.That’s why Monta Ellis constantly takes 18 shots to get 18 points.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 48 MIN | 13-26 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 34 PTS | -3
Is it March already? Jennings got hot, as he’s capable of doing. His 16 points in the third quarter played a big role in the Bucks getting back into this game after being down 10 at half.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +11
Reggie Evans, he is not. The Nets forward, a rebounding specialist, grabbed nine boards in 19 minutes. He just gravitates to the ball. Ekpe somehow finds a way not to do that. Just one board in 14 minutes. Mind blowing.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +2
How Mike Dunleavy can only play 20 minutes blows me away. I recognize how important Mbah a Moute is defensively, but maybe it’s time to get over him as a small forward, live with not playing Ekpe ever again and find 30 minutes every night for the one of this team’s most important players.
|Beno Udrih, PG 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3
Maybe as unproductive a night as we’ve ever seen out of Beno Udrih as a Milwaukee Bucks player.
Two Things We Saw
- One more Moute note: I think the bigger concern rather than his defense was the airballed 18-foot jumper he had early in the game. He’s really looked like a mess as a small forward on offense when he isn’t posting up or cutting to the rim. A summer of inactivity did him no favors.
- So Larry Sanders didn’t fix all of Milwaukee’s problems on defense or on the defensive glass. Milwaukee needs someone else committed to grabbing defensive rebounds. They allowed 17 offensive rebounds and lost the board battle 49-43. This is a spot where Ilyasova has got to improve once again. He was a terrific rebounder last season and needs to be one again.