Pretty good is not good enough: Hawks 103 – Bucks 102
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 29 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | -6
Quietly went about his business, making shots when he was passed the ball and he was open. He made one move to the hoop that was fantastic. He faked and drove, but then threw a pass fake to the wing, froze a defender and finished at the rim. It was terrific, as was most of his evening.
|Larry Sanders, C 37 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 19 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -6
All of the rebounds. And the jump shots too. Larry took five shots from 13 feet out or further. Even crazier, he hit four of the five shots. His bigger problem was around the hoop and from in close. But it’s Larry’s defense that drives us wild. 19 rebounds is great, and he defended Al Horford fairly well with help all night long.
But the Hawks went to their star big man when they needed a bucket the most at the end of the game and he was able to back Sanders down and get the bucket that gave Atlanta a win. Not much more Larry could have done in the situation though.
|Monta Ellis, PG 44 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +5
He actually ended up handling the majority of the point guard duties on the evening with Jennings spending more time than usual on the bench and he did a very good job. Monta was in attack mode more than usual, with only one 3-point attempt and a lot of penetration throughout the evening. But even on a night like Saturday, where he plays pretty well, he still ends up with more shots than points. Such a bummer.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 30 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -10
Talk about a guy who did not seem happy after the game. Jennings referenced the new rotation and recent changes repeatedly and made mention of his minutes. This comes on the heels of his first interview after Redick’s arrival generally being less than jovial. He didn’t have much of a game, but that hardly seemed on his mind after.
|John Henson, PF 15 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11
He did well all of the things he usually does well. Rebounding, some finishes, all of that kind of stuff. But what was really cool to see from Henson was some nifty passing to other big men around the hoop.
|J.J. Redick, SG 35 MIN | 4-9 FG | 7-7 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -3
His debut was and wasn’t a success. Obviously it was a loss, but you’ll have that sometimes. For the most part, Redick played very well though. He missed his first few shots, but found his way to the line for seven free throws he barely touched the rim on. His movement on offense is something of an inspiration, how he suddenly cuts back while running full speed in one direction.
He’s got his hands full, I’ll say that. It was good fortune that he could play his guards all together pretty often, thanks to the Hawks lack of size. How he’s going to manage these three and keep them all happy could have a lot to do with him being a head coach past this season, not just in Milwaukee, but anywhere.
Three Things We Saw
- Often Milwaukee struggles giving up looks at the rim or in the paint, but the Hawks are a team that thrives on three pointers. And thrive they did Saturday – 14-28 on threes that came in a number of ways, whether it was from kick outs from Al Horford or just ball movement and penetration. The Hawks were hot and kept in it until they could grab the lead.
- In general, the Bucks played very well on offense. But they struggled on defense, as you may expect from a team that so often played Redick, Jennings and Ellis together. Milwaukee’s going to have to figure out how to defend better as a unit and not just rely on Sanders or Dalembert or anyone else to cover for their mistakes.
- Nine of 11 losses and some very difficult games coming up on the schedule. It’s going to be a very interesting couple of weeks of adjustment against tough teams.