Outwit and outlast: Bucks 109 – Jazz 108

Plenty of chaos throughout Milwaukee’s overtime win over the Jazz Monday night. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Utah Jazz 108 Final
Recap | Box Score
109 Milwaukee Bucks
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +10

Personally, with Ilyasova so ineffective down the stretch, I would have loved to see Luc slide down for a while and see if he could put a stop to the Paul Millsap show, but it seems like he’s strictly a three in the Jim Boylan Era. He has not exactly flourished there though.

Ersan Ilyasova, SF 31 MIN | 3-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +1

He’s been doing pretty much everything right lately, so Ersan can be afforded a bad game. And a bad game this was. He couldn’t get many shots to fall, which isn’t inexcusable, we’ve all been there. But Ersan had nothing for Paul Millsap for the vast majority of the fourth quarter and overtime. And when Ersan would switch off Millsap, Enes Kanter would beat him inside for rebounds. Rough night on both ends.

Larry Sanders, C 40 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 16 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 6 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +5

It was looking bad for the Bucks on defense late in the game … until the Jazz started attacking the guy who might be the league’s best defensive payer this season. Utah went at Sanders on each of their last three or four attempts. The Jazz were stopped each time. When you look back at this game, know the Bucks absolutely could not have won without Larry Sanders.

Monta Ellis, PG 44 MIN | 15-21 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 34 PTS | +8

Dude is playing crazy right now. He’s finishing, he’s hitting jumpers, he’s doing everything on offense anyone could ever have wanted him to do. He’s still doing some gambling on the other end, but it’s much easier to overlook that sort of thing when he’s getting four steals and shooting nearly 60%.

Brandon Jennings, PG 47 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 17 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +4

If he hadn’t had 19 assists against the Raptors on Saturday, the 17 he had against the Jazz would be a new career high. So he’s certainly been impressive as a pass first point guard over his past two games. More impressive in that regard than he’s ever before been. We’ve seen short bursts of great from Jennings before, but never this type of burst or this type of great. It’s going to be very interesting to see if this sort of play holds up.

Samuel Dalembert, C 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | 0

Dalembert was a help against a very physical Jazz front line. He moves slowly, but he has some serious power. When he fouls someone, he typically stops them from getting a shot off, which is one of those things you don’t realize is useful until Ilyasova nicks a guy and he gets an and-1.

J.J. Redick, SG 30 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -16

What’s crazy about Redick so far is that he still hasn’t really hit his stride. He missed at least three WIDE OPEN threes that I’m thinking he’s typically about 60% on. When he really starts hitting, he’s going to be pretty lethal, especially if Jennings is still dishing out assists left and right.

Three Things We Saw

  1. It’s tempting to toss up a Mission Accomplished banner and celebrate the brand new Brandon Jennings after his ridiculous assist totals in the past two games, but I urge more patience. Everything looks great now and Milwaukee’s back court duo has quite literally never played a better game together. But they played against Randy Foye and Earl Watson who combined for – zero points. Not the stiffest competition. So let’s not kill Brandon Jennings when he has a bad week or deify him when he has a good one.Give it time.
  2. Milwaukee has now won four straight and sits two games above .500 heading into Los Angeles and Oakland to pay the Clippers and Warriors, a pair of tough Western Conference playoff teams. Golden State has struggled lately, so an opportunity rests ahead for the Bucks there.
  3. The Jazz were without three starters Monday night and Marvin Williams barely played. I don’t want to rain on parades, but that’s two straight games where the opposition was missing a critical piece or pieces and Milwaukee had to go to overtime to win. Something to be aware of.

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  1. I love Pass-First Brandon Jennings, one of my favorite players to watch. Much better than Shoot-First Jennings.

    Its not just a coincidence that he has adjusted his playing style the past few games. Whether it was his benching, the success Ellis had at pg, or the numerous sports-columnist and blogger criticisms that have been budding up across the web, something has brought on a change.

    This team is funny.

    • wow im amazed at your whole comment here, at the same time you have to give it to the guy for putting up 17 assists playing pass first yet still score 20 and a hugeeeeee 3

  2. larry was key to winning defensively in the 2nd half, but i dont see how everyone is so quick to ignore the fact that derrick favors scored i think it was 8 out of their 10 fist points on larry and than continued more throughout that quarter and the 2nd. i dont understand the jazz rotation (theyre best players dont even start yet they finish every game with them) if favors was in at the end of game or OT i think it would have been a pretty disappointing night for the bucks.

  3. I would have no problem giving Jennings a big contract IF this is the “Last two games Jennings” is what we’d be investing in… I hate to be pessimistic, but I dont know if I am expecting these crazy assist nights to last. At the same point, if we could get this day in, day out from Ellis, I’d sign him for what he wants. …But will it keep up?

    The Clippers and Warriors should be good tests…

  4. Ever get that sinking feeling, like this is as good as the Bucks will ever get. Jennings playing better than he has pretty much all year, Monta is on a tear and Larry is being LARRY SANDERS! Yet, every game is super close and they can never just win an easy one. These aren’t exactly the top tier of the NBA that they are facing either.

    Winning close games is better than just losing or losing close games, but I’m just hoping that they don’t revert back to the earlier version of Bucks teams and follow a nice win streak with a 1-5 run as they have been prone to do.

    • I think your glass is half empty. Even good teams have close calls with mediocre competition.

      The Raptors mish-mash line-up really couldn’t have played better than they did with Lucas on fire and Amir Johnson playing really well, and the Bucks found a way to pull out the win.

      In last nights game Ilyasova and Dunleavy couldn’t have played worse yet the Bucks found a way to win.

      If the Bucks can continue to play team ball I think we will see some bigger margin wins coming.

      • That mish-mash Toronto team is actually playing better than people think. Despite a poor 4-point performance from Bogut, Golden State needed to put up 42-points in the 4th quarter to get by Toronto at home last night!

  5. I think Brandon Jennings is having a “Kobe Bryant Moment” these last couple of games. I think he took some of the recent criticism about his shoot first, past second mentality to heart, and is out to prove his critics wrong, just like Kobe did earlier in the year. It’s been fun to watch, but I have a feeling he’ll be back to his old self soon. I do hope he sees how having more balance to his game, however, HELPS his entire game! His passes are better, his shots are more selective and thus, better, his turnovers stay down, and he maximizes his worth to this team.

    That being said… MAN is this team fun to watch right now! I think Redick has given this team some lineup flexibility they’ve been missing all season, and taken pressure off both BJ and Monta, and their performances have reflected an ease and looseness that allows them all to play at a very high level! These last couple of games are the types of games the Bucks were losing just 3 or 4 weeks ago, and now they’re finishing and pulling out the W, even when some of their important players (Ersan) have poor performances. Thats an AWESOME sign, and hopefully they can keep it up through this next stretch of tough games…

  6. Is this success the product of the coach finally defining the roles for Jennings and Ellis?

    Instead of turning these two loose and having them both play point and scoring guards at the same time (which did happen while they were on the floor together) perhaps the division of their roles being more clearly defined is helping both of them to excel in those roles.

  7. TOLD Y’ALL!!! where’s Steve at?

    a couple of notes: kind of ironic, when Brandon was asked on ESPN Radio if he would be a guy teams targeted this offseason he said “If I keep playing at this level, and we keep winning, then yeah”.. Dude if you played like this and we were winning you’d already have your extension Dufus.

    And our 4th quarter defense has been atrocious with the occasional Larry Wow play.. If we play this porous against the Clips it’s gonna get ugly, even if they aren’t at their top level right now.

  8. happyfeethustle

    Who here is feeling UPBEAT…?? I am! After the Redick trade, most of us were feeling let down about J. Smith staying put. I admit that I was too-but I reminded everyone to think positive-negativity would not help us.

    4 game win streak- 2 decent opponents in Texas, 2 FAIR opponents at home. Yes, it took back2 back OTs, but lets all remember that not long ago the Bucks were finding ways to LOSE close games. Now it seems they are finding ways to GRIND out wins in close games. That is improvement now matter WHO the opponent is!! Body language has improved, even when trailing late in regulation- and results only ENFORCE the given efforts.

    The pass first mentality of B.J. is wonderful, and encourages teammates to look for open shooters as well. Sanders could have forced a ill-advised turn around hook late in O.T.- but he found Redick open outside the 3point line. That is GREAT vision in such a high stress situation.

    Are we still an 8th seed : Yep – Will we make it past 1st round playoffs: Nope. Will the BMO BC be rockin : Oh YEAH :) Lets all enjoy this, the TEAM has given us reason to CHEER


  9. Who are these two guys in the Bucks backcourt,
    and what did they do with Brandon and Monta?!?

    First of all, just gotta hand it to our dynamic
    duo, and let them and us savor the moment a little…

    What I’m hearing and sensing in the above posts is
    a willingness to embrace Brandon and Monta but a
    wariness that they could fall back into old ways.
    I like to think it’s fair to say that we really like
    you guys and are really rooting for you. When we criticize,
    it’s because we do care, about the Bucks and also about
    you two guys as well. We’d even really like you stay
    with the Bucks at a generous (but not extravagant) salary
    if you are really committed to the team and the city.

    That means consistent physical and mental effort and a
    certain selflessness that puts the team first. We don’t
    expect you to be perfect, mind you, but we want to see
    more of what you gave us the last two-to-four games.
    Even somewhere close to what you’ve been doing would be
    wonderful, especially in regards to approach and attitude.

    It could be great going forward, for you and the fans.
    One thing Milwaukee fans can offer, I like to think,
    is a real great relationship with our players, a real bond,
    a real loyalty. We’ll meet you at least half way.

    Wow!!! It’s been great, Brandon and Monta. So exciting, but
    also oh so satisfying. It’s great to see you display your
    potential as players and as teammates. Please keep it up.

  10. It would have been such ashame to lose this game with all 3 guards shooting 50% or better. The offensive rebounding, with the obviously 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances made this game close. Without Utah’s ability for being in the right place at the right time, this game would have been a blow out.

    That’s fine, a win is a win and this was much more exciting, just as the past 7-games had been. The Bucks are now starting to win those close games and their spacing and passing is so much better since the Redick trade.

    The only problem I had with last night’s game was the obvious intent to go with the 3 guard lineup, despite the fact that we couldn’t rebound the ball. Utah is a ton on the inside and it would have been worse if Jefferson played. Even without Jefferson, their 3 front court men Favors, Millsap and Kanter had 39 rebounds between the 3 of them. The Bucks team only had 42 rebounds! The only guy that could matchup with Kanter and the rest of Utah’s physical front-court was Samuel Dalembert.

    Of course Ersan made that one critical 3-point shot, but he just couldn’t match up well on either end with Utah’s front. I just think that with Larry jumping up for the blocks, we needed to play Dalembert, along with Sanders in the front court, especially with the 3-guard rotation against teams like Utah.

    Great game, but I’d like to see a blow out so we can see more of Henson and if Ayon has game. Henson would be pushed around like a rag doll against Utah, unless he played the 3, but Ayon seems to have the body type that would have matched up well against Utah.

    Keep it going Bucks, only 3-games out of that 4th playoff spot! GO BUCKS!

    • Since Ersan, Luc, Ekpe and John are all
      somewhat of the same build, it seems like
      we need to draft or trade for a bulkier
      player for our frontcourt. It would be nice
      to see some minutes for Ayon, and some more
      minutes for John.

      That schedule coming up does seem rough.
      I’d also be quite happy with 3-3. These
      swings on the West Coast, and also back-to-back
      games, seem like good times to play our bench
      guys, especially in the first half, to infuse
      the team with some extra energy and enthusiasm.

  11. Next 6-games are at the Clippers, Golden State and Sacramento. Then back home against Dallas, who will definitely be out for revenge, at Washington (who’s been playing so well and especially at home and against 500 or better teams) and back home against the defending champ’s Miami Heat.

    I’d say a 3-3 record in these next 6-games would be very good and a 4-2 record would be incredible!