Broken backcourt: Thunder 109 – Bucks 99
|Marquis Daniels, SF 32 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -4
Kevin Durant is not Kobe Bryant. Because he’s better. He’s bigger, faster and more unpredictable. Daniels predictably played Durant tough, but couldn’t provide too much resistance as Durant went for 11 points in the fourth quarter, 30 for the whole game. More of a problem for Daniels on Saturday was three turnovers late in the fourth quarter, all within about two minutes of each other. It’s tough to have him out or have him in, because of both his defense and his offense. Such is life for the Bucks.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 34 MIN | 12-22 FG | 1-1 FT | 14 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 29 PTS | +4
He’s consistently doing all of the things that make him a valuable player. With Serge Ibaka covering him quite a bit, he was able to camp outside while Oklahoma City’s shot-blocking expert reigned in the paint, blocking shot after shot. Ilyasova countered that with solid 3-point shooting, his typical strong effort on the glass and a starring offensive role. It wasn’t enough, but he was the biggest reason Milwaukee kept this as close as it was.
|Larry Sanders, C 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -9
Something happened between Sanders and Nick Collison that caused Milwaukee’s center to hit his opponent with an elbow. The refs noticed and only issued the temperamental big with a warning. The very next possession, Sanders hit Collison again. And he picked up yet another technical foul, his league-leading 14th of the year. Also, he failed to block a shot, while Ibaka tossed eight aside. Not Sanders’ finest game.
|Monta Ellis, PG 39 MIN | 3-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -2
|Brandon Jennings, PG 38 MIN | 3-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -21
Just as much yikes.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 6-6 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -1
With Milwaukee’s backcourt struggling, the least likely resource for scoring on the Bucks roster stepped up. Udoh made his hay in the paint, hitting short jumpers, drawing fouls and finishing around the hoop a tad. He combined his points with an uncanny rebounding effort, something you kind of expect from him, as a good defensive player, but never see.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Did not play in the second half, was generally ineffective in the first. In 19 games since the Redick trade, he’s shooting under 40%, but above 40% from three. His playing time has dipped a bit and he’s been more of a regular bench guy, than a would be sixth man of the year candidate that he seemed like for much of last season.
He was thrilled with the effort of his guys when he spoke after the game. He commended how hard they played and said if they continued to play like that the rest of the season, they’d be okay. Maybe he recognized that the Thunder are simply too good of a team and that allowing 53% shooting to OKC just comes with the territory of playing against them. But that’s a helluva shooting night to give up and then be okay with. Hm.
Three Things We Saw
- The Bucks rarely get blown out. That’s something they are very good at. On most nights, they are pretty competitive and they led by five in the fourth quarter on Saturday. But with Ellis and Jennings both struggling so badly to make shots, they didn’t really stand much of a chance. Kudos to them for keeping it close.
- For as annoying as it is that Sanders keeps picking up technicals, he actually did a pretty good job of avoiding confrontations with refs on Saturday. He walked off a couple of calls he didn’t agree with and when he was hit with one after his elbow he walked to the other end of the court and took it in stride. Progress, I guess?
- Before the game Boylan talked about adding Ish Smith to the rotation and how it may help to get him in there to get Ellis and Jennings a blow here and there to keep their minutes down.But Ish didn’t play. The Thunder are a helluva team, so it makes sense that Jennings and Ellis would get the minutes. Given how much they struggled though, it seemed like as good a night as any to get Ish some run. Ah well.