Pretty good is not good enough: Hawks 103 – Bucks 102

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Milwaukee Bucks
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.

Jim Boylan

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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  1. I was actually encouraged by Monta!
    His overall demeanor plus 10 assists
    were impressive.

    Meanwhile, let’s hope Brandon gets
    over his snit. He’s been a baby! Hope
    he turns it around with his attitude.

    As for JJ, excellent debut! Liked the
    way he handled himself on the court.

    There are a lot of good but not great
    players competing for minutes with the
    Bucks, so let’s see which ones rise to
    the occasion! Here’s hoping that coach
    Boylan will have the gumption to reward
    with minutes the guys who play good
    team basketball.


    A higher than average 28 assists last night, I would attribute that to Redick’s presence. It seemed like Monta was trying to play much smarter… possibly because he now has some competition.

    Tremendous layup at the end by Monta. it looked good because it went in, but once again he went in to total ‘hero mode’ at the end of the game. None of the teammates on the floor exist to Monta in these situations. The glaring problem with this is Monta has done this act dozens of times to close out games or halves this season and I think that made lay-up may be only the first or second time I’ve seen him actually convert. And then the slow approach to the hoop with 5.6 seconds left yuck! We’ve got several guys on the court that can really shoot, how in the world does Boylan let Monta settle for a difficult and contested shot everytime!? I just don’t get it.

    on the second to last Hawks bucket Larry switched for no reason and apparently without letting Ilyasova know. It resulted in a lob to Horford. In other crunch time possessions Jennings and Redick each had silly turnovers. If not for those critical miscues the Bucks likely would have won.

    • Yeah, Redick made a nice cut back toward Ellis and was wide open on that last play. That last second, contested, running, fall back jumper on one foot shot of Ellis just isn’t a high percentage shot.

      Those turnovers were miscues where the pass went one way while the player went the other… or the full court pass to Josh. Boylan has his work cut out for him.

    • Here again, the Bucks need a true point guard,
      especially when defenses clamp down at the end
      of a game.

      We need a guy who can command the floor, who
      can direct his teammates, who is a good enough
      ballhandler to break down tough defenses, and
      who can dish the ball creatively or find a way
      to score. No small order!

      I’m still not giving up on Brandon or Monta for
      this role, but, then again, for all their skills,
      I don’t know if this is their game. Playing the
      point full-time just might not suit their temperaments
      or talents.

      If Brandon or Monta don’t step into this role, I think
      finding a true point guard is the Number One priority
      for the Bucks this offseason.

      • If anything, Monta stepped into that role last night. If the Bucks decide to go with e Redick/Ellis back court, I could live with that. I love Mbah a Moute, but have a scorer in the SF slot would go a looooong way.

      • Actually, Teague was hanging on Jennings so Redick had to give the inbound pass on that last play to Ellis. You could look at this as we had no point guards or that we have two point guards able to bring the ball up.

  3. When I looked at the schedule earlier this year, and I came to Atlanta my thought was that game could go either way. 45% chance of winning?
    Then I saw it was on NBA TV and that changed the odds to 40%. LOL
    Anyway, I waited for the game to begin with such anticipation and high hopes that when they lost by that one point it seemed all the more of a let down. Been that kind of a week.
    Watching Redick is like watching Dunleavy in that they just have good fundamental basketball IQ. They play team ball. Sweet smooth shot. A lot of little things he does that create opportunities on the floor. Now Boylan’s challenge is to get everyone to take advantage of Redick’s strengths to the benefit of the team.
    Jennings frustration last night probably had more to do with him getting in foul trouble (and T) early in the game and having to watch from the sideline. Not sure why it was a good strategy to play three (small) guards when they were killing us making 3pt plays all night. It’s not like our SF are too big and you don’t have to be particularly fast to defend against 3 pt shots raining down?

    Go Bucks!

  4. Jennings is upset about minutes? He’s the reason we lost, if he had been in the game 3 fewer minutes the team wouldn’t have collapsed. We were also one whiney Jennings tech from OT as well.

    Also, he deserved a D for last night’s performance, not a gentleman’s C.

    • Yes, I have to agree with the facts that Ellis played much better as a PG with Redick as the SG than Jennings.

      Too much attitude and complaining from Jennings and thus he sat while Ellis ran the point. Our reserves looked great with Ellis at the PG. It was likely the best bench play we have had all season!

      I know it’s only 1-game, but Ellis gives us better size at the PG position and isn’t complaining about the Redick trade like Jennings.

      Maybe the Bucks better re-think their thoughts of matching any offers for Jennings. Also, it certainly seems like there’s some disconnect between Jennings and this team.

      I hate to say it, but if last night’s b.s. continues, the team would be better off moving Ellis to the PG position and letting Jennings go.

      The reason we lost last night’s game is because of Jennings poor play and attitude. Yes, Monte still took 15 shots, but he also had 10 assists and only took 1 3-point shot.

      There seems to be something going on behind the scenes, maybe Jennings was hoping for Ellis to be traded in the Josh Smith deal. Whatever’s going on, it needs to stop. Jennings needs to grow up and help this team, rather than being a major distraction!

      • Its only one game, I wouldnt read too much into it yet.

        Even if Jennings is upset about the trade I think he will eventually remember that he is in a contract year and needs to demonstrate his value as it could mean the difference in millions of dollars come free agency. This whole 3-guard rotation should straighten itself out. Redick is such a smart and fundamentally sound player I wouldn’t be surprised if his style rubbed off on Brandon and Monta a bit.

        • Yeah…Brandon may not express himself in a very mature manner, but I still think his frustration had more to do with him not getting the refs to make calls when he got hacked, but got two quick calls and a seat on the bench in the first quarter…handing Ellis the PG spot.

          He didn’t have THAT bad of a game and Teague was hanging all over him every time he was on the floor. He’ll bounce back.

  5. Tough one to watch in the BC last night only because of the outcome, but I enjoyed the electricity that JJ’s presence brought to the place last night. Jennings just looked off & frustrated, I figured if anyone was going to potentially be upset with minutes, etc it would be Monta, but last night was kind of “his night” with the bobblehead and all. Going forward, I think Monta should be that 6th man off of the bench. Brandon, JJ, Luc, Ersan, and Larry. Luc’s minutes will ultimately be the real one to take hit though, I would imagine.

    I don’t know though, these next 8 games or so will say a lot about this team. Some very tough match-up’s coming up…

    • It was tough to watch those 14 3-point conversions, especially went most of them were adequately defended. Just another close lose, but I certainly liked the energy the team displayed.

      Redick is more than just a 3-point threat or spot up jump shooter. He’s a great team player and hard worker and more athletic than I though.

      JJ makes FTs look so simple, too bad he wasn’t on the team for those games against the Nets!

  6. How about giving Sammy a B+ for his performance last evening?

    No he didn’t have a crazy 30+ point performance, but he did play with passion. He was running the floor, playing defense, standing up for teammates and of course our only player capable of handling ZaZa. That pass from Redick to Sam and the great finish was a thing of beauty, especially when you consider the fact that Redick just joined the team.

    I thought Sam and Henson played some great minutes for us last evening!

    • Agreed!

      I didn’t know Sam was as agile and athletic
      as he’s shown. Nice surprise!

      It was great to see him stand up to ZaZa, very
      stern but not out of control.

      Also hope to keep seeing more of Henson!

    • I agree. So much attention was focused on the guards because of the new kid on the team, but I raised by eyebrows more than once on nice plays by the front-court players. Fun to watch Henson & Dalembert working it!

  7. Great effort last nite…so painful it comes in ANOTHER late game fizzle LOSS. Abundance of issues during last 8 mins. of game-especially last 3 mins. 10 pt lead with 8min, 7 pt lead at 3:15 left…ouch!

    I have serious concerns about retaining 8th seed ( although I hope its still possible!) with the teams lack of ability to close out seemingly ANY opponent. I have been critical of Ellis, but he played decent at PG
    position last nite. Not GREAT, but certainly not poor either. So late in season to mess around with player roles-but after losing 7 of 8 why not search for something to change this teams issues.

    Again, we BUCKS fans are filled with sorrow …. but we must remain supportive and try to feel positive – negativity just never helps solve anything. Go BUCKS GO

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