Razed by Wolves: Wolves 107 – Bucks 98

Minnesota Timberwolves 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 98 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, SF 37 MIN | 12-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 29 PTS | -6The only thing that kept the game competitive early was Ilyasova’s offensive rebounding. He was easily the best performer of the night – continuing his strong play of late. The only caveat is that the offense stalled when Ilyasova was substituted in the game for JJ Redick late in the game. Not Ilyasova’s fault, Boylan just picked the wrong guard to sub for.
Larry Sanders, C 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -4Ellis was assigned to guard Ricky Rubio to start the game. Rubio then went 5/5 from three to start the game. The damning thing isn’t that Rubio went 5/5 – it’s that he had five open three-point attempts to begin with. This isn’t 100% Ellis’s fault. After the game, Boylan cited that when someone went doubled in the interior, no one was rotating to help on the helper’s shooter. Who was supposed to be rotating to Rubio? I don’t know and clearly the Bucks don’t either. At the half, the Bucks made defensive adjustments to stop the Wolves shooters which allowed Nikola Pekovic to run wild in the second half. Sanders is a great defender, but he can’t do it all and guarding strong post players is never going to be a strength. The Bucks have clearly surrounded him with too many poor defenders for his defense to shine at all anymore.
Monta Ellis, PG 39 MIN | 7-20 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 18 PTS | -8The “Monta Ellis is an underrated passer” meme has reached the point where Ellis back to being an overrated passer. Ok, this isn’t a meme so much as it’s a thing I’m probably imagining. Dump-offs to Sanders when both guys are deep in the paint is easy for Ellis because Ellis can open up space for other guys and is pretty good at finding guys once their open. Plus, there’s a lot of room for error for that kind of pass so you never really notice Ellis’s inaccuracy in those situations. It’s the kick-outs, entry passes, transitions, and cross-court passe that he’s just garbage at because he’s not a very accurate passer. Half the battle is getting it to the open guy, the other half is putting it in a spot for that guy to score. Ellis is exceptional in one area and poor in another.
Brandon Jennings, PG 36 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -11Remember when I wrote that Boylan picked the wrong guard for Ilyasova to sub in for. I was totally talking about Jennings. Don’t let the eight assists fool you, he was a total non-factor the entire night and the offense was better when he was on the bench.
Mike Dunleavy, SF 32 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +4Dunleavy brought the total package for this game: some threes, timely saves of some wild Ellis passes, and the offense just looked better when he was around. It’s not a lot, but when he’s playing well, you’re glad he’s there.
J.J. Redick, SG 23 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +4Redick had a bad game, but there’s a reason he was +4. He moves, he creates space for his teammates. He’s a guy that can contribute positively even when he’s playing poorly.
Jim BoylanI really enjoy Boylan’s transformation from “glad I’m here, let’s get to work” guy to “I’m barely holding in the utter contempt for the way my team plays defense” guy in just over 40 games. This might not be the way it actually is, but it’s the reality I choose to accept. Just like Boylan chooses to play horrible defenders.

One Thing We Saw

  1. No extra important things happened. We’re all just miserable and heading toward oblivion. The Bucks prove the maxim: we receive the playoff seed we choose to accept.

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  1. Ummm, what’s the alternative for Boylan? To not play Redick, Jennings, Ellis, Dunleavy and Ilyasova because they suck at defense? I guess you could make a case for him not to play Jennings as much, because Jennings kind of sucks at everything, including offense. I think it’s just the personnel on the team, most guys can’t or choose not to play defense, and those that play defense can’t score, i.e. Udoh, Luc, Daniels, Ish.

    This team just isn’t very good, and we’ve squandered our opportunity to move up in playoff seeding. The Heat will obliterate this team, but at least the Bucks get to be on national TV for once, that’s the reality of the Bucks’ situation.

    • http://www.nba.com/statistics/efficiency.html

      “I guess you could make a case for him not to play Jennings as much, because Jennings kind of sucks at everything, including offense.”

      You might be surprised to see that Jennings efficiency last night was +16 while Ellis was +7.

      The +/- stat in a box score is pretty useless because if Jennings is playing with Udoh,Quis & LRMBM while Ellis is playing with Sanders, Dunleavy& Ilyasova one would expect Jennings +/- to be less than Ellis even if Jennings played a better game.

      Jennings is struggling along with the lot of them, but I don’t agree that Jennings is THE problem and should be moved to the end of the bench.

  2. One thing coach Boylan could do would be to reduce
    minutes for Brandon and Monta. They would be expected
    to put more effort into their defense while they’re
    out on the floor. Laziness on defense would be the
    signal to take them out. Maybe 30-36 minutes per guy.
    It’s not as though the Bucks have been doing that great
    playing these two in the 40-minute range.

    Are Ish and Gustavo so bad that they don’t deserve any
    minutes at all, or barely enough minutes to mention?
    If these guys are so utterly incompetent, then that
    trade with Orlando is looking even more doubtful.

    What the Bucks seem to really need right now is a
    take-charge point guard who can break down defenses
    with the dribble and find open teammates with deft
    passing. For the short-term at least, can Ish provide
    any of these skills on at least a part-time basis?

    Why isn’t John Henson playing? I thing he could help us
    right now for 15-20 minutes per game. The guys ahead
    of him aren’t that irreplaceable, are they?

    In general, is the coach suffering for lack of good
    players or are the players suffering for lack of good
    coaching — or a combination of both?

    Maybe it’s me, but are the Bucks in serious disarray and
    becoming more and more demoralized and dismal by the week?
    I truly hope they can turn it around, somehow, and fast!
    There’s certainly no use in coddling anyone who isn’t
    giving maximum effort physically and mentally, and who
    isn’t playing for the team.

  3. I thought Jeremy wrote this due to the hate on Brandon Jennings but I guess Bucksketball just really doesn’t like the guy. For example, see the poll that has been up for ages now. Yes his defense sucks, but most point guards blow at defense. Jennings misses out on at least 2 assists per game because teammates can’t make layups. I’ve never seen any team miss so many layups in a season, its beyond ridiculous. Ask Dunleavy, Ilyasova, Jennings, Ellis, Sanders, what is so hard about a layup? This team sucks but we put all the blame on Jennings, even though Scott Skiles (offensively) and Jim Boylan (offense and defense) are horrible and I will bet my left nut that these guys never head coach again in the NBA. Monta Ellis gets pick pocketed so easily its hilarious but yes Jennings gets all the blame.

    • Monta Ellis is a gamer. He will give you the same high effort game every time. Jennings is emotional and his game reflects that. Why would you defend a guy that doesn’t even want to be here?

    • I think the key word describing Jennings in the game breakdown is the word “irrelevant”, which is exactly what he’s been for most of this post all star break stretch, minus his 3 game phase where he went nuts with assists. It’s not that he’s playing that poorly, he’s just reduced his presence to the point where his performance has little to no impact. Maybe it is the emotional aspect that Unicef points out… But I think he’s been playing lately with a total lack of emotion… The guy seems like he’s checked out. Funny that just 6 weeks ago we were talking about Jennings getting snubbed by the All Star selections… Seems like a silly debate now…

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