As Tobias Harris sat with one knee on the ground, arm extended into a balled up fist in celebration after hitting a three that would lead either to overtime or a regulation Orlando Magic win over the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquis Daniels pleaded with the ref to undo the mistake he just made, I could only imagine what it felt like to be John Hammond at that moment.
“He has to be absolutely sick right now,” I said.
Could there be a worse scenario playing out on whatever television screen he was watching? Forget Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade alternately dunking and blocking each other’s shots, THIS was Nightmare Fuel.
John Hammond’s Bucks, the team that traded away a 20-year-old prospect the team would have had control over for at four more seasons specifically so they could try and move up a spot or two in the playoffs, were likely going to lose to the 19 win Orlando Magic, due in large part to that 20-year-old prospect’s late game three and his overall performance, one of the greatest games statistically a 20-year-old has ever had in the NBA.
And if that weren’t enough, when the game stretched into overtime and it became clear with 12 seconds that the Magic had wrapped up a victory, that 20-year-old then busted out and dropped an enthusiastic slam on his old squad, complete with a chest thumping that seemed to scream, “I will make Milwaukee regret trading me.”
In the words of the immortal Mike Dunleavy: “Not the best result for the Bucks.”
|Marquis Daniels, SF 37 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -21He plays defense pretty well. If he isn’t doing that, he doesn’t really need to be playing at all. He had tons of trouble doing it against Tobias Harris on Wednesday night. Specifically on Orlando’s last possession of regulation. With the Bucks up three, Orlando inbounded the ball to Harris with his back facing the hoop he was 35-feet away from. Daniels did not foul. Harris faced up. Daniels did not foul. Harris made a move to the basket, crossed Daniels over and got separation to get a look from three. Daniels decided to foul, as Harris began to get into his shooting motion. He hit the three. He earned a free throw too. It could certainly be argued that the call was bad, but Daniels could have fouled immediately and avoided the entire catastrophe.|
|Larry Sanders, C 15 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -16His fall on Wednesday resembled his fall in Denver earlier this season very closely. He missed some time after that one and it’s reasonable to suspect he’ll miss some time again. Sanders attacked the rim from the wing and hit the ground after going up for a dunk, falling flat on his back. Fortunately he didn’t hit his head or anything and he’s a pretty sturdy guy, so we’re not talking a T.J. Ford level injury, but it was still a scary moment. Best wishes to Milwaukee’s best player.|
|Brandon Jennings, PG 6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -8However he injured his left achilles was less obvious than how Sanders hurt his back. He quietly left the game, quietly left the bench and wasn’t seen again after he came out with 5:47 to play in the first quarter. Best wishes to him as well.|
|Monta Ellis, PG 47 MIN | 7-27 FG | 6-10 FT | 7 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -11Without his two most productive running mates or Ersan Ilyasova, he was left to carry the offensive burden. He got his shots up, but didn’t have much success. Really damning were all of the wide open 3-point attempts Ellis missed that could have really made a difference and the two free throws he missed in the last 19 seconds.|
|Gustavo Ayon, PF 22 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +15He’s generally productive when given minutes, but is prone to some silly fouls and turnovers. His rebounding effort was fairly strong and he was Milwaukee’s best bet to body up against a dominant Nik Vucevic. Oddly enough, Milwaukee was much better defensively once Sanders came out of the game and a good part of that was due to Ayon’s physicality with Magic bigs.|
|John Henson, PF 41 MIN | 7-17 FG | 3-5 FT | 25 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 7 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -2Monster stat line. Bucks fans had been waiting for Henson’s shot-blocking all season and he delivered in droves against the Magic. His hands were so quick and his arms so long, Orlando didn’t even seem to suspect many of his swats. Plus, he dove to the rim as Larry does so often and got a number of easy dunks off of those cuts, which is all he’s really asked to do offensively.|
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 37 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +2He was a big part of why the Bucks were winning in the fourth quarter and why the Bucks blew this one in the fourth quarter.
His shooting, passing and rebounding all came together in one of his most complete games of the season. Unfortunately, he was the inbounder who failed to get off a pass within five seconds with the Bucks up five and just 39 seconds remaining. Doh.
Two Things We Saw
- Tobias Harris: 30 points, 19 rebounds. 20-year-olds to do that: Harris and Lebron James. And it’s not like Harris just got garbage points against a bad team. He did this against a team that qualified for the playoffs. He was all over the offensive glass and finishing at the rim constantly. Everyone is furious.
- I’m going to refer to the Bucks as a team that has qualified for the playoffs rather than a playoff team going forward. It feels disingenuous to me to call this group a playoff team, as they may be one of the five worst playoff teams in recent memory. I know, I know, I’m a hater and I’m the worst. But the reason I’m hard on them is because if this team succeeds temporarily with this shell of a roster, it will only feed the idea that it could work long term.