The Bucks struggled with Mike James on Tuesday. Seriously. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks 115 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Dunleavy, SF 38 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +1

A second straight start with Luc Mbah a Moute still out and Dunleavy delivered a solid game offensively, but he and the rest of the Bucks had trouble corralling Vince Carter all night. Carter abused Milwaukee in pick and rolls, especially in the fourth quarter. Either Dunleavy needs to get over the screen quicker or bigs needed to help out harder, because Carter caught fire in the fourth and finished Milwaukee with three big threes.

Larry Sanders, C 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7

Dirk gives everyone in the league trouble, even the great Larry Sanders. He plays so far from the hoop, that he took Sanders out of his comfort zone all night and Milwaukee’s defense suffered for it. Sanders couldn’t be in both places – on Dirk and in the paint – at once, so he kind of ended up floating in between. He still blocked some shots, but he was less effective defensively than he typically is.

Monta Ellis, PG 41 MIN | 12-24 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 32 PTS | -6

Boylan said after the game that Monta looks far more explosive over the past two or three weeks. That he’s seeing more elevation on his jumper than he had previously, which seems to have help him hit at a more consistent rate. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but whatever is going on, it’s been quite a positive trend for Monta Ellis, offensive centerpiece.

Brandon Jennings, PG 27 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -21

Mike James had his way with Jennings and the Bucks pick and roll defense. When Jennings got help, James attacked the help and either got good shots or just finished right over them. Sometimes James blew right by Jennings, who stood there as if he expected help that was absent. Jennings was pretty much a non-factor on offense. So it was that kind of night for him.

Ekpe Udoh, PF 25 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -3

Ekpe had a very, right place at the right time offensive outing. He was left undefended for a dunk. He caught an Ayon airball and finished, he rolled to the hoop without a defender near him for a dunk on a pick and roll and then he tipped in an offensive rebound for his final basket. He made one nice move and made one jump shot, but for the most part he just made the most of every situation he was in offensively. Not something you’d expect again, but, hey, good night.

J.J. Redick, SG 31 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +11

It’s so weird that Redick is playing well and not hitting threes. I don’t know what to think about that. He had an opportunity to bring Milwaukee within four late in the fourth with a three that would have blown the roof off, but it just rimmed out. He’s close. When he starts hitting, it’ll be something. The Redick and Ellis lineup looked pretty good again, especially with Jennings struggling as much as he did.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Dallas took eight threes in transition and connected on four. One of the others led to a foul on the Bucks on the offensive rebound. Those were all big plays that were mainly the result of the Bucks slacking on getting back and matching up. But those are the kinds of things that happen to a team that’s played as often and traveled as much as the Bucks lately. Hard to be too upset about one night where they had trouble getting back.
  2. Milwaukee’s pick and roll defense continues to be a deeper issue, one worth more concern than transition threes. Jennings was turned inside and out by Mike James. MIKE JAMES. It’s hard not to focus so much on that. But it goes beyond him, as Vince Carter showed throughout the fourth quarter. Milwaukee’s bigs gave a lot of space to guards after the screens and Mavericks ball handlers were just fine with using that space to get buckets. The Bucks don’t have a bunch of slow, plodding big men either. Sanders and Udoh specifically have to do a little more to deter an open shot while being able to get back to their guy.