Once again a win: Bucks 95 – Mavs 90

Sanders forced Nowitzki to start further from the hoop on this attack, where Dirk would eventually miss a fadeaway from a bit behind the elbow. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Dallas Mavericks
Larry Sanders, C 26 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +8

Dirk was tough to stop on Tuesday. But Larry Sanders did as good a job as any Bucks player in stopping him. When he matched up with Nowitzki, Dirk was just 1-of-4 from the field. Otherwise, the German was 7-for-12. He also forced a crucial turnover by poking away a Dirk post catch. Another great defensive game from Sanders.

Monta Ellis, PG 44 MIN | 8-17 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 6 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +2

He got the majority of the back court minutes once again, and he deserved them once again. He recovered from a terrible defensive first half to provide four steals in the second half and a number of deflections. He was gambling and everything was coming up Ellis late. He also scored 11 fourth quarter points, while running point quite a bit. He continues to excel in pick and roll situations as a passer too. Really solid game from Monta, arguably one of his best of the season.

Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 3-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -5

He struggled again and wasn’t even on the floor at the end of the game, as Boylan opted for Ellis and Redick, who both had better games. Darren Collison had noticeably more energy all game and caught Jennings off guard a number of times with attacks or off ball cuts.

Drew Gooden, PF 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -6

With Dalembert suspended, he got his shot and took his shots. Very typical Gooden: Made some jumpers, finished at the hoop a time or two, missed some jumpers and didn’t provide much of a presence on defense. But credit him for always staying ready. He didn’t look out of shape at all.

Mike Dunleavy, SF 29 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +12

Shots hadn’t been falling recently for Dunleavy, but he was hitting on Tuesday. Ideally he’d be able to contribute a little more on the glass, where the Bucks struggled again, but if he’s hitting shots, he can make up for a lot of things.

J.J. Redick, SG 23 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +7

Solid showing off the bench yet again for Redick, who was a great fit with Monta near the end of the game. He’s a much more reliable shooter than either Jennings or Ellis, so he fits better with one of them near the end of the game as a kick out option.

Jim Boylan

Switching Sanders onto Dirk was great, not only because Larry did work on defense, but because Ilyasova was able to grab a couple of crucial rebounds and force Elton Brand into some bad fouls that essentially sealed the game for Milwaukee. And it must have been tough to leave Jennings out late, but he made the tough call.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee was crushed on the glass yet again: 56-39. 16 offensive rebounds, the most damning of which all came late in the fourth quarter when Dallas grabbed three consecutive offensive boards on a possession that spanned an entire minute in a tie game. Milwaukee was fortunate to survive that.
  2. This was a nice win to get the Bucks back on track. Dallas has been a tough place to play and even though they are struggling this season, they surely must have gotten up for a game they figured they had a legitimate shot at taking. Milwaukee limited the Mavs to just under 40% shooting in the second half and turned in one of their best defensive performances in recent weeks.

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  1. Talking bout that offensive set where they got 3 offensive boards in the 4th quarter, thanx for leaving out the fact that after the third rebound the bucks got a steal, so they waisted about a minute off the clock and the defense stepped up,.and both shots they threw up were garbage.GO BUCKS!!!!

    • If you have missed it in some of his recent posts, Jeremy cares more about the process than the result, rightfully so in my opinion. The process that lead to giving up 3 offensive boards boards on one possession matters a lot more than the result of the steal to people like him. Now if you want to argue that the bad shots were due to good defense by the Bucks, then yes that is a good thing, but good defense extends to securing the ball after the shot is missed, so I say it is a wash and they got lucky the Mavs didn’t capitalize on their extra opportunities.

  2. I’ve been as anti-Monta as anyone lately, but that was a superb performance last night. The problem it portends, however, is that neither he nor Jennings will want to be sat late in tight games. The upshot, on the other hand, is that maybe tonight at Houston Jennings and Redick are fresh, and so Monta (or one of the other two, in a reverse situation) doesn’t have to push through being gassed on Night Two of a back-to-back like he did against Brooklyn last week.

    If Boylan sticks with just a three-man rotation at guard going forward, that leaves 96 minutes a game to split up between three people (more if they decide to go three-guard, but they won’t be able to do that very often against good teams in close games, for rebounding purposes alone). At 32 minutes a piece, they should be able to make it work, if they actually care about winning basketball games. I’m cautiously pessimistic, but maybe Jennings and Ellis decide they’re okay with sacrificing minutes and numbers when necessary so the team can win.

    We’ll see. What there is no question of is that two of those three alongside Dunleavy, Ersan, and Sanders is far and away the best, most effective crunch-time lineup. Not even close.

  3. Man, it’s so hard to tell with this team.

    So far with Redick, I see Manta as the perfect backup PG, and he might be better at the point than anywhere else.

    Jennings doesn’t seem to have a good attitude. As much as I like Jennings I just am not sure he is worth whatever it takes to have him be a Buck after this season.

    He is so maddeningly inconsistent, and I really don’t think he wants to be in Milwaukee.

    Ellis seems to just play ball, but I always get this “I’m owed something” vibe from Jennings. Like he’s way better than he is.

    Does he just think being in a bigger market = all-stars and max deals, all-around? What happened to hard work, and at least a little humility?

    • Two games ago it was Ellis that was maddeningly inconsistent and now Ellis has a great game and so Jennings is chopped liver. LOL

      I just think it’s too early to hand the keys to the city over to Ellis. The beauty (and frustration) of this back-court is that these two seem to go off on different nights. Besides Dunleavy’s push the end of the first quarter, Jennings was the best player while Ellis and everyone else struggled.

      As the night went on it was obvious that Ellis was feeling it, so Boylan did the right thing putting in the two hottest hands at the end of the game.

      Jennings is due for a breakout game and tonight would be a good time for it.

      I knew Bucks were going to win this one when in the third quarter Ersan actually make a dunk instead of that soft layup he prefers.
      I had to watch it a couple times!

      Go Bucks!

  4. Its only been two games so i dont want to over-react, but so far the combo of Ellis at pg and Redick at sg seems more effective than I can ever remember the Jennings-Ellis combo being.

    Jennings and Ellis had a lot of outstanding individual games, but I can count on one hand the occasions where they both played well in the same game. I have to admit Ellis looks pretty good at pg, especially with Redick at SG and Dunleavy at SF.

    • I don’t think it is too soon to say that actually. I think that Ellis and Jennings had so much overlap in their skill set that they ended up just detracting from the other. An off guard with Redick’s(or Dunleavy who I think should get some time at the 2 depending on the matchup) skill set is the guy you want with either so he can spot up on the wing while Ellis/Jennings penetrates or comes off of a PnR. In this specific set, I think Ellis and Redick is the better pairing since Ellis seems to be a bit better at passing out of a PnR than Jennings.

  5. I hate being right, because it is usually a negative for the Bucks.. when I said that Monta was phoning it in this season, I was met with derision like that could be impossible.. as if a pro basketball player wouldn’t give 100% every night.. Monta’s pre-trade averages in Feb:
    FG%-39.5 3pt%-12.5
    and post-trade:
    FG%-46.8 3pt%-33.3 plus a nice 9.5 assists

    Both those post-trade are closer to his career numbers than his numbers this season as a Buck.. My statement early in the season is that it would be silly to assume that Ellis , all of a sudden, couldn’t identify a good shot from a bad one.. yet when his minutes are threatened(and that directly affects his Free Agent value) I believe we will see the Monta we traded for

    Now as far as Tobias goes, JS can throw graphs and efficiency ratings all around, but there is no replacement for just getting on the court and being allowed to make mistakes.. I am gonna miss him

    • You really think that Ellis believed shooting under 40% before the trade would still get him a good contract? The difference after the trade is Ellis has more space alongside Redick and he has been playing more PG lately which better suits him imo.

      • @DukeH I believe that Monta is talented enough to give 75% and still be valuable, but he has to stay on the floor to do so.. he is going to still be a hot commodity this summer regardless of how he plays this season.. there was no accountability for bad play under the Skiles regime, so Ellis had no worries about being replaced

    • Monta had a great game but I still cringe when I see him on the court late in games. Clearly 2nite he got it done and did a fantastic job all around especially defensively late in the game but when he took that 20 footer early in the shot clock with about 1 minute left I cringed…it went in, but that is not a good shot at all especially with the percentages he is shooting with this season and that is why I would normally prefer Jennings down the stretch because he is less prone to hero ball than Monta.

      Boylan made a great call yanking Brandon for Redick, but the way that Ellis is wired it makes me nervous to see him as the one who dictates who gets the ball on possessions late in games. Jennings is also guilty at times of being possessed with “I wanna be the man” disease but he definitely is the lesser of two evils in that regard.

      But hey a win is a win

    • I do think Tobes will be pretty good but im going to compare him to how reddick does. In a couple of years when we have a chance to see what his “finished” product is like then we can compare. Right now he is doing good but it’s in garbage time and against second stringers. I want to see how he does against starters down the road.

      • I’m not talking about his future prospects.. my comment was just about his ability to get minutes now, which a lot of us were fighting for.. and yes he played garbage minutes in his first game, but was right in the thick of it in the win last night

  6. Golden got so thoroughly abused by brand on the boards, and without the monta heroics, would’ve thrown the game entirely there in the fourth. Where Muppet Henson, Mr Boylan? Yikes!

    • Don’t dis Gooden. Under the circumstances I was both surprised to see him and you have to give the man credit for always being there for this team. He did good.

  7. Good comments above, in my opinion, which point to
    a good drama for the rest of the season: How will Brandon
    and Monta carry themselves and how will they perform?

    I like both of these guys and what they have to offer on
    the court, but I also have serious concerns about their
    abilities and attitudes. I’m not sure either has the
    temperament or the talents to be a top point guard in the
    NBA, but maybe we’ll see something in the next 25 games.
    Do they have the leadership qualities of a point guard?
    Are they good enough ballhandlers and passers to break down
    defenses in crunch time? Does either player even want the job?

    In general, we can watch to see if these two dynamic players
    have some kind of a role to play with the Bucks in the future,
    assuming they want to stay, and at a reasonable salary. Neither is
    a superstar who merits max pay, but they could be worth good
    money, maybe $7-9 million per year with incentives.

    Most of all, I’m looking forward to how these guys respond
    in terms of coachability, teamwork, dedication, and
    effort both physical and mental.

  8. Ok…so Ellis & the new kid have looked good together. So Ellis is good at playing with the new kid. Logical assumption.

    But I had to look at the minutes they played together, because it seemed to me that Jennings hasn’t really had the opportunity to play with the new kid like Ellis has. The first game (Atlanta) Jennings got in foul trouble, but last night….ah not so much.

    So I looked at how many minutes they played as combinations and the stats are interesting.

    Jennings & Ellis 26 minutes
    Ellis & Redick 16 minutes
    Ellis, Jennings & Redick 4 minutes

    Jennings & Redick…2 minutes

    How come Ellis gets to play with the new kid while Jennings has to play with Ellis?

    Just an observation. Don’t hate me.

  9. Besides a horrible start to the game and Brandon’s struggles throughout, this was a clutch performance by the Bucks in a game they absolutely needed. Monta came up with a HUGE performance, especially in the 4th…Thats something we haven’t been able to say much this year! I only wish we closed out games this way more frequently… We’d be in much better position. I hope they don’t let the game vs. Houston get away from them tonight because of the win last night, the way they tend to do on the back end of back to back games.