Better isn’t best: Heat 98 – Bucks 86
|Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 33 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -6Milwaukee did a better job dealing with LeBron James on Tuesday night and as always, that starts with Luc Mbah a Moute. Before the series started I suspected Milwaukee’s defensive specialist would have to play 30 minutes a night, but there was a good part of me that hoped I wasn’t right. So far, I’ve been right. Terrifyingly right, when it comes to Luc.
He’s important, but considering how much of a team effort it is to defend James, that’s a lot of four on five on offense the Bucks are playing out there. He’s not killing them on offense, but he’s more or less just hanging out in the corner, not a real threat most of the time. The Heat aren’t playing off of him to the extent that it’s changing every play, but the Bucks desperately need more offense.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 29 MIN | 9-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +5He established himself early and looked far more comfortable in game two than in game one. The Heat are always going to make Ersan put the ball on the ground and make a move off the dribble if they can. They realize that Ers is a deadly shooter and a mediocre creator.
To Milwaukee’s credit and Ersan’s credit, he was moving around a ton all night. The Bucks weren’t just relying on him popping out after screens or filling back to the perimeter while action was else where, he was cutting towards the hoop more than ever adn generally very active off the ball. The Bucks countered Miami’s defensive moves on Ers in game one well.
But only getting your most productive offensive player out there for 29 minutes seems like a problem.
|Larry Sanders, C 28 MIN | 6-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | 0Way more typical Larry. 4-of-4 within five feet. A dunk, a couple short hooks that he was able to drop in. He was much more natural and, for whatever reason, had far more space to operate. Miami seemed pretty aggressive in trapping on pick and rolls, which gave Sanders room to get to the basket or take open jumpers. He obliged and finished well.|
|Monta Ellis, PG 34 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -5Given how ineffective Jennings was, I’m moderately surprised that Boylan didn’t end up running with the Ellis-Redick back court really. But you never know when either Jennings or Ellis is going to start to get going. It was surprising to see Ellis so restrained, but it was pretty clear that Miami put an emphasis on cutting off any lanes he had with extra defenders looming.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 41 MIN | 3-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -15Very disappointing. Milwaukee needs four or five threes out of Jennings at minimum. He got looks that were good enough and wasn’t really forcing the issue, but the results weren’t there. This is a results business and he didn’t deliver. The first two games of this series are pretty much perfect for Jennings. Game one: get hopes up with strong performance. Game two: lay a complete egg. Game three: no one knows what to expect.|
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 25 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -12Didn’t play at all in the first quarter? Seemed very strange, especially with Daniels, Redick and Henson getting some burn. Dunleavy helped spark an 8-0 Bucks run in the second quarter that saw them briefly take a 35-33 lead. Every moment he’s on the bench and Daniels is on the court drives me insane. Also, lineups with both of them, crazy.|
|Marquis Daniels, SF 15 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -15Made some shots at the hoop, generally looked more effective, was apart of Milwaukee’s worst lineups on the night, but that’s probably more Boylan than Daniels. I still don’t think he should take any minutes away from Dunleavy … or Ilyasova for that matter.
He played the first five minutes of the fourth quarter as Milwaukee’s power forward. Over that stretch, the Bucks allowed six offensive rebounds and saw a 68-65 Heat lead turn into a 83-69 Heat lead.
|J.J. Redick, SG 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -3With Ellis and Jennings both logging big minutes and the Heat generally being a larger team on the wing, the stock of the Harris-Redick trade was at an all-time low Tuesday night. Just eight minutes for Milwaukee’s prized mid-season acquisition. We’ve still yet to see a Jennings-Ellis-Redick lineup in this series, which has to have something to do with either the total ineffectiveness of those lineups over the regular season or the impracticality of playing three small guards against the Heat at once. But if Redick can’t play the three, there really aren’t many minutes available if the Bucks are completely tied into the idea of Jennings suddenly getting hot, which they probably are.|
|Samuel Dalembert, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | No word on whether or not he left Miami with a lease signed.|
|Jim BoylanAgain: Marquis Daniels started the fourth quarter as Milwaukee’s power forward. In a lineup that included Ish Smith. I like Ish, but there’s a time and a place for everyone and Tuesday was neither for him. Milwaukee has been so bad on offense, they needed some kind of punch so badly, but going to Ish instead of sitting Jennings for Redick was questionable. I think the idea behind it was driven by Ish’s speed and athleticism, two things Redick lacks, but Milwaukee needs some threes, Jim.|
Three Things We Saw
- It’s very difficult to see what Milwaukee is capable of doing better, outside of making more threes and shooting better on free throws (10-17 at the line). Doing those two things and playing exactly as well as they did on Tuesday would make for an interesting game three, especially with a loud Bradley Center crowd.
- It seemed like LeBron James was more or less coasting through the game. I can’t tell if that’s because Milwaukee worked hard to remove him or if he just decided to take it easy on Tuesaday night and let Chris Andersen do the heavy lifting. Wait … what? Andersen was a difference maker again. His offensive rebounding early in the fourth and attacks to the rim swung the game for Miami and made a nail-biter into a junior blowout.
- As much as I think Milwaukee’s shooting could come around … I’m equally as certain Miami’s will too. The Heat made just six of 19 three-point attempts and Ray Allen missed one open three after the next. I think he might stop doing that eventually. That’d be trouble.
Tags: Miami Heat