Bucks hold on for first win of preseason

(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
New York Knicks 95 FinalRecap | Box Score 105 Milwaukee Bucks
Caron Butler, SF 37 MIN | 9-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +24I think I’ve forgotten what it was like for a Buck perimeter player to make nine of 13 shots. It’s nice that he can make a shot when left open. It’s an outright windfall if he keeps creating open looks for himself like he did in this game.
Khris Middleton, SF 16 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -1Not Middleton’s finest effort. He got blasted by an off-ball screen on an out-of-bounds play that resulted in his man scoring a wide-open three. He got caught in a Monta double-team: Didn’t get close enough to effectively double, but lost his own man anyway. Melo seemed to enjoy his attempts at defense.
Larry Sanders, C 25 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-8 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +2The Knicks committed a number of silly fouls on Sanders when he was trying to score. Larry can be better, especially on the glass, but he played Tyson Chandler to a draw. He went way up to grab a key rebound over Chandler when the game was close in the last few minutes.
Luke Ridnour, PG 35 MIN | 6-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +19If the Bucks are really in win-now mode, can they afford to sit Ridnour in favor of Brandon Knight? The offense clicked under Luke in a way it didn’t under Knight this preseason. The side-to-side ball movement was evident in a way it hadn’t been up until now.
O.J. Mayo, SG 36 MIN | 8-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +21This game was far more intense than any preseason game has a right to be. There was much jawing and bravado, and Mayo was in the midst of a lot of it. He took and made a lot of shots in key moments, while also nabbing four steals.
Zaza Pachulia, C 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 5-9 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +3Every one of his assists seemingly led to a wide-open layup or dunk. He also added four offensive rebounds. For what it’s worth, Cole Aldrich slowed him down a bit more than Andrea Bargnani did.
Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 11.01.32 AM Nate Wolters, PG 14 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -4The Knicks tried some traps and full-court pressure, and Wolters did a decent job fighting through it without a turnover. But he has a little of Brandon Jennings Syndrome: he can maneuver a tight dribble to probe a defense for a shot, but the actual execution of it is erratic.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -9The Alphabet guarded Carmelo Anthony on a number of possessions. At the start, Giannis’ length seemed to bother Melo, but if it did, it only served to spur Anthony on later.

Carmelo buried an iso three over Giannis at the end of the third quarter when the Knicks were surging. (A momentum play, if you believe in that sort of thing.) Also fouled Anthony on a three, but it was a questionable call.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Butler, Mayo, Ridnour and Gary Neal combined for 29-48 FG (60.4%). They scored 79 points on those 48 shots.
  2. The one area in which the perimeter guys suffered? High passes/lobs to Sanders, especially out of the pick and roll. The timing isn’t there yet. They had more missed connections than Craigslist.
  3. The quality of this game — both from the Knicks and the Bucks — marked a vast improvement over anything else this preseason. Both teams wanted to win, and Knicks’ coach Mike Woodson even inserted Anthony back in the game late to try to eke out a comeback win.
  4. 16 offensive rebounds for the Knicks. The Bucks are routinely holding their opponents under the 43% threshold they set for themselves, but they consistently shoot themselves in the foot with missed rebounding chances. New York stayed alive in this game by scoring on second chances.
  5. Aaron Rodgers was at the game.

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  1. It seems to me that Nate Wolters in the halfcourt seems to dribble “defensively” if that makes any sense. He has a really good handle but instead of using it to attack he just reacts to defenders reaching and wants to make sure he doesn’t get stripped. I think when he gets some confidence he can be a real contributor for an NBA team.

    Ridnour looked very good 2nite, I have never believed in Brandon Knight and I dont see much evidence to support the fact that he is a “true” point guard…if they way to contend this season I think #13 is their best answer.

    • Personally I think Ridnour is a capable starter if surrounded with the right cast. People are quick to write him off because he isn’t very athletic, but he’s always been an offensive catalyst with a great midrange game and a tireless will to probe the defense. The Bucks offense will rely on a cast of jump shooters and three point shooters that will make their success feast or famine, and I think Ridnours skills fit much better offensively with this team than Knight’s do at the current moment. Knight has the edge on Defense and maybe on transition scoring, but Ridnour is better at everything else at this point with a huge advantage in half-court execution.

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  3. Some encouraging things from these guys last night. Helps to have the Milwaukee Bucks win in Green Bay too!

    As long as they stay healthy, this team might surprise everyone.

    Go Bucks!