Bucksketball Podcast

It’s a trap! No, it’s just the Heat and they are big, fast and strong.

| April 26, 2013

Category: Recaps

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An unhappy Brandon Jennings sits on the bench, probably thinking about the waves of defenders Miami sent at him.  (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

An unhappy Brandon Jennings sits on the bench, probably thinking about the waves of defenders Miami sent at him. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Another game against the Miami Heat, another rough night for Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

Milwaukee’s diminutive guards are capable of impressive nights. Nights filled with highlight reel fast breaks, long threes, flashy passes and swaggy celebrations. At their very best, they’re fast, capable of creating turnovers and impressive scorers.

At their worst, Jennings and Ellis still make an impact, just not a positive one. They can be corralled, forced away from the hoop and turned into spot-up shooters that aren’t very good at shooting.

Welcome to game three.

From the outset, Miami made one thing clear: We’re going to throw intense pressure at Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Set a screen for them? We’re commiting both defenders to whichever one of them is handling the ball. We’ll make them give it up to someone near them, because they aren’t going to be able to pass over our sizable  athletic defenders. Example one comes in the first quarter:

After a Larry Sanders screen, Ellis found himself facing two Heat defenders, with a difficult angle to find the only open Bucks player on the court, Luc Mbah a Moute in the right corner.

After a Larry Sanders screen, Ellis found himself facing two Heat defenders, with a difficult angle to find the only open Bucks player on the court, Luc Mbah a Moute in the right corner.

Bucks coach Jim Boylan addressed a question about Miami’s trapping and aggressive defense in the post game.

“One of the problems that we have is our size in the back court,” he said. “We’re not a big team. So when they’re out there trapping and staying with the ball handler like that, they put a lot of pressure on you first of all. Secondly they have good size. So it’s easy for me to stand up here or in the huddle and say, “We’ve got to make a quick pass we’ve got to move that ball we’ve got to take advantage of their double teaming.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to do. And they’re flooding the strong side and cutting off passing angles. That makes it difficult to find the right man, the open man, with a quick pas. It’s usually a cross court type of pass and those are always dangerous because of their speed and activity  That bothered us tonight.”

Another Sanders screen, another terrible angle for a Bucks guard. Jennings was forced away from the hoop and you can actually see him backpedaling here. As Boylan noted, his size doesn't give him much opportunity to see over Chalmers and Haslem.

Another Sanders screen, another terrible angle for a Bucks guard. Jennings was forced away from the hoop and you can actually see him backpedaling here. As Boylan noted, his size doesn’t give him much opportunity to see over Chalmers and Haslem.

But it’s not just Milwaukee’s size that proved an issue. The Bucks were often left unable to exploit mismatches because of talent deficiencies. Whether it was Ekpe Udoh matched up with a smaller player inside or an open Luc Mbah a Moute on the wing, the Bucks often couldn’t exploit opportunities because the players in position to do so just weren’t very good.

Here, after another screen, this one by Ekpe Udoh who immediately got to the post, Chris Andersen completely abandoned his assignment to provide help. Miami overloaded heavy on the strong side and figured the short clock and their size/speed would make things tough for Jennings. This play ended with a Jennings pass, 15-feet over the head of Dunleavy in the corner.

Here, after another screen, this one by Ekpe Udoh who immediately got to the post, Chris Andersen completely abandoned his assignment to provide help. Miami overloaded heavy on the strong side and figured the short clock and their size/speed would make things tough for Jennings. This play ended with a Jennings pass, 15-feet over the head of Dunleavy in the corner.

After an Ilyasova screen, James and Chalmers chase Jennings away from the hoop once again. When James sprints back, he doesn't even bother with Ilyasova, as Wade has already picked him up. Miami's size and speed again make matching up no issue for them, regardless of what switch needs to happen. And they weren't at all concerned about who ended up on Mbah a Moute.

After an Ilyasova screen, James and Chalmers chase Jennings away from the hoop once again. When James sprints back, he doesn’t even bother with Ilyasova, as Wade has already picked him up. Miami’s size and speed again make matching up no issue for them, regardless of what switch needs to happen. And they weren’t at all concerned about who ended up on Mbah a Moute.

Jennings is once again met with a hard hedge, this time from Haslem again, before he passed out to Ellis. Technically, the Bucks with some quick passing could have exploited Miami's aggressiveness, as Wade is deep into the paint, sagging far off Mbah a Moute. A quick pass and swing to Mbah a Moute could have given Milwaukee an open three. But Luc doesn't provide much of a threat and Miami doesn't treat him as if he does.

Jennings is once again met with a hard hedge, this time from Haslem again, before he passed out to Ellis. Technically, the Bucks with some quick passing could have exploited Miami’s aggressiveness, as Wade is deep into the paint, sagging far off Mbah a Moute. A quick pass and swing to Mbah a Moute could have given Milwaukee an open three. But Luc doesn’t provide much of a threat and Miami doesn’t treat him as if he does.

Can the Bucks counter in game four? Maybe. They’ll have to be clever and quick and execute as well as they have all season long. In the first quarter, when Milwaukee was moving the ball fast and hitting three point looks they were getting, it looked like it was possible. But the game goes for 48 minutes. So far, the Bucks have shown they can execute on par or even better than the Heat for roughly 24-30 minutes. After that, the Heat take over.

There’s little reason to believe game four will be any different.

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About the Author ()

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.

Comments (11)

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  1. Jay says:

    It’s clear that the Bucks can’t compete at this level for more than 30 minutes. Also – Miami is double & triple teaming whoever has the ball for the Bucks – and the Bucks can’t break free. Passing to a perimeter three works …. until they start missing shots (like last night). I fear that game 4 is going to be the worst game yet. The off season also scares me …. who’s going to be a Buck next year?? Maybe it’s time to start over.

    • SillyBilly says:

      Its most definetely time to start over, and not because we are going to get swept by the Heat, they are the best team in over a decade.

      Its time to start over because this squad as currently constructed isn’t going to get much better but the Wizards, Pistons and Sixers will.

      Its time to start over because the Bucks have finished in a similar position for the past decade and it has done little to help ticket sales, fan enthusiasm, or overall revenue.

      The Bucks are due for a rebuilding and rebranding campaign more than any franchise in the NBA, and avoiding the threat of relocation might just depend on it.

  2. Bizzucks says:

    Was it me, or did it seem like the Buck’s almost expected to win this game without trying much? They came out hot and had a nice lead, but once they had that lead they put it on cruise. Although, and I know I always say this, but the damn refereeing was kind of bad again last night. Don’t remember specifically when it was, but we were up 9 before the half I think and there was a clear foul on Jennings at the hoop and nothing was called, then we turned it over and an easy 3 for Ray-Ray, followed by another 3 and it’s only 3 point lead. Again, I cannot stress enough how frustrated with officiating I get, just because a team has a “reputation” for being physical, or they have a “superstar(s)” they can get away with fouls all the time. Even a high energy guy like Birdman, who’s pushing and swatting all day, barely gets called. Frustrating.

    But also, the Heat are frickin’ good, and even if the calls went exactly the opposite way, we’d still lose, thought maybe it would be closer for longer.

    • MIA_Studd says:

      Classy fan! Im a Heat fan since 2004 and to be honest the officiating on this series has been aweful in terms of how many calls the Heat get… I HATE when we get phantom calls, I like winning fair and square so people cant blame the refs… although, even if it was fair, the heat would have cruised against the bucks anyway…

      • DukeH says:

        While I agree we still lose even if the officiating is fair, I just makes it almost unwatchable. I don’t spend my free time watching sports only to start cussing because the refs are free to make any call they want without any repercussions whatsoever.

  3. jseed says:

    Very basketball IQ posts. I simply concur. And still, Go Bucks. Heat may be a excellent team, but they are not mine. Season still not over and confident we will win the next game. Go Bucks.

  4. SikmaForThree says:

    The most frustrating part of game 3 for me wasn’t the officiating, wasn’t the talent discrepency… it was that when the going got tough in the latter stages of the third quarter, the Bucks simply threw up their hands and gave up. No fight, no creativity, no effort and no heart… that’s what I saw for the final 15 minutes of that game and it made me thank GOD that I wasn’t stuck in that arena crowd with an $80 ticket. Careless turnovers, selfish shots, jogging, no movement off the ball, no timeouts or adjustments, just totally and completely conceded the game, and ultimately the series… cuz its over. They got fairly beat in games 1 and 2… they gave up in game 3. Maybe we still lose, but show some professionalism and pride… the fans deserve that much.

  5. bucks1988 says:

    I think its time to start over. i cant see anybody in free agency that will turn this team around. Let everybody go and with the extra cap room, take on bad contracts connected with picks from teams close to the tax line. 2014 and 2015 drafts should be stacked. The drafts have been crappy the last few years; that’s why the teams that suck still suck.

    • SillyBilly says:

      Yes start over, signing a Josh Smith would be a big mistake. Same goes for Jennings and Ellis. Bite the bullet and fight through a couple of bad seasons. Not committing long-term contracts to unworthy players right now will give us a fighting chance in the future.

      For next year I would welcome a skeleton roster of short-term deals and grim playoff hopes with open arms. If the Bucks want to get the city of Milwaukee excited they have to think long-term.

      • Sfisch says:

        I generally agree with the idea of starting
        over (building around Larry and John Henson),
        but I think the pain of doing so could be
        mitigated if we get a top point-guard in
        the draft (as close to Damian Lillad as
        possible); plus get a veteran point guard to
        help out (someone like Andre Miller); plus
        get the best coach possible (maybe Jeff Van
        Gundy or Byron Scott, but I’m interested in
        other ideas).

        If we get good leadership, that should help
        with the development of the younger guys and
        perhaps keep the team respectable.

        I have liked what I’ve seen from Ersan and Luc.
        It seems as though they’ve stepped up for us
        in the playoffs. It’s fun to watch Luc taking the
        ball strong to the hoop. If he improves on that
        and also develops a medium-range jumper, he could
        be a solid starter for the short-term or a good
        bench player.

        Really disappointed not to see John Henson for
        30 minutes per game and Ish for maybe 20. It’s
        not as if the guys playing ahead of them are all
        that great.

        Thought the Bucks showed some spark and spunk
        in Game 2, but were mostly lackluster in Game 3.
        It was a sad way to treat the home crowd.