|Caron Butler, SF 33 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 14 PTS | -8
Butler looked like the only Buck that came to play in the first half. He was a aggressive and was scoring when everyone else was struggling. Even so, Butler was just as much a part of the problem in the first half as everyone else on the team. Very little ball movement and player movement happened in the first half. This created tough looks for everyone. Butler just converted on those tough looks a little better than everyone else in the first half. Butler didn’t stay a problem. When everyone else started moving the ball, Butler was just as willing to pass as everyone else. He hit a three that tied the game at 80 that capped off a big run that he was a part of.
|Khris Middleton, SF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | -2
Middleton didn’t do much of anything and was too anxious to get his shot going when the rest of the team was struggling in the first half. He did play good defense on Carmelo Anthony without fouling.
|Larry Sanders, C 12 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -8
It’s hard to be the face of the franchise if you can’t play. Pablo Prigioni, Raymond Felton, and Tyson Chandler attacked and got Sanders into foul trouble early and often. In the short spurts that Sanders was on the court, Sanders looked very much like the rebounder and defender that fans’ expect. Sanders’ absence was a big reason why the Bucks fell behind early and couldn’t pull out a victory in the end.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 36 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -10
Same as Butler. He was a part of the problem in the first, but got better as the game went on. When the Bucks were able to run, Mayo looked good in transition. He’ll look even better without Iman Shumpert guarding him.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 20 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +2
Ilyasova hasn’t played basketball in three weeks, but he looked phenomenal. Ilyasova was the spark plug for the Bucks run in the third quarter. He steadied the Bucks offense as he popped for some easy jumpers. He’s very selective with his shots unlike SOME PEOPLE (*cough*cough* Gary Neal).
|Zaza Pachulia, C 34 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -3
Pachulia was the best Bucks player on the floor. He set killer picks and was a sturdy veteran for Wolters to work off of. He absolutely out-played Andrea Bargnani which was a big reason for the comeback. When the Bucks had trouble creating offense, Pachulia was able to score some points off of offensive rebounds. Pachulia was a big contributor on a night that Larry Drew wanted to play small.
|Nate Wolters, PG 30 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -3
Brandon Knight went down with a strained right hamstring within the first two minutes of the game. And with Luke Ridnour out with a sore back Wolters was called upon to run the offense. There’s no sugar-coating it – Wolters was a detriment to the team in the first half. He was two seconds too slow on everything he did. He couldn’t stay in front of Pablo Prigioni. He was telegraphing his passes. As the game went on, he made a few good plays because of his effort and his confidence went up. He ran some really competent pick-and-rolls with Zaza Pachulia. He started putting guys in spots where they could score. He got much better as the game went on and that’s all you can ask from a second round pick thrust into that situation.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -3
Antetokounmpo’s scored the first of what is hopefully many points. There is a slight concern that he could get in his own way for playing time if he keeps fouling on defense.
|Gary Neal, SG 32 MIN | 6-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | 0
Gary Neal has a green light which is going to give me a heart attack. This is the part where someone is supposed to say that the Bucks need to create looks for Neal by running off screens and setting up picks and handoffs for him. That is just a waste of time because Neal is just going to shoot it regardless of whether he’s open or has eight guys in his face.
Injuries forced Larry Drew to make a lot of tough decisions. And whatever he said at halftime definitely worked. But his decision to stick with a a lineup without a true power forward in the closing minutes when the Bucks really needed rebounding cost them the game. However, getting contributions from the bench now will pay off later. It’s a long season and this is just one game.
Three Things We Saw
- The difference in this game is the difference between Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani. With Chandler, the Knicks could play pressure defense knowing that Chandler will be there to cover any mistakes. Bargnani restored the confidence in the Bucks offense.
- Nate Wolters needs to get a faster shot and start the offense sooner. In general, just make everything faster.
- A lot of Bucks players preferred taking midrange shots on the right side this game. Will this trend continue? And was that part of the reason why spacing was off to start the game. If that’s something that holds up, then the Bucks are going to have spacing issues all season.