Offense without Mayo? Yikes: Bulls 105 – Bucks 84

This game was ... out of reach pretty quick. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
This game was … out of reach pretty quick. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 84 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Chicago Bulls
Khris Middleton, SF 26 MIN | 2-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -14

Sans OJ Mayo, Middleton got the shot int he starting lineup as Caron Butler slid down to the four. He was aggressive with the ball in his hands, as he’s been all preseason. He stayed active on offense off the ball as well and moved around well. Like most players on the Bucks though, he was hurt by a lack of anyone to create for him.

Larry Sanders, C 26 MIN | 4-6 FG | 4-8 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -24

He hit a couple of difficult running hook type shots in the first half and cleaned up a couple messes at the rim. But he wasn’t able to serve as much of a deterrent against the Bulls offense and he struggled as a rebounder again. I’d like to say he was so aggressively going for blocks that he missed out of a few rebounds, but there were times when he just failed to box anyone out and got outworked on the glass. As a rebounder and defender, he wasn’t great and he is pretty much being paid to be.

Gary Neal, PG 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | -27

Gary Neal can get shots for Gary Neal. That’s clear. And even if he’s not really getting shots, but more forced to take shots, he can do that too. Happily. Neal was really Milwaukee’s only fairly productive offensive player, but he was loose with the ball, hence the five turnovers.

Brandon Knight, PG 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -21

Four assists seems like a big benchmark for Knight. He hardly even had the ball in Milwaukee’s half court offense. The Bucks badly needed for someone to step up and create shots for teammates. Knight did not do that. He had a couple of nice finishes at the rim that were a tribute to his strength and potential as a finisher, but again, he looked more like a good backup combo guard and less like a starting point guard.

John Henson, PF 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 5-9 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -9

Sweeping hooks, a handful of blocks, a bunch of rebounds and a rough night at the free throw line. We kind of know what we’re getting from Henson and it’s kind of pleasurable to watch and reflect on. Would be cool if he could do something else on offense outside of the big sweeping left hook.

Zaza Pachulia, C 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 4-7 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -1

He’s back. In his first action since the middle of last season, Pachulia looked like he never missed a day. He doesn’t have to work to get back his explosiveness or anything, as he never really had any to begin with, so it seemed a bit easier for him to get back in sync on the court. He was active around the rim and willing to mix it up with anyone, which is what he does.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 27 MIN | 1-5 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -1

On a day in which he became even more of a centerpiece of the Bucks nationally, Giannis didn’t really look comfortable until he was amongst reserves late in the game. You almost feel compelled to beg for him to take the ball the length of the court every time he grabs a rebound, but he didn’t start doing so until late in the game. Results were mixed (free throws, blocking calls and a charge), but he looked good once he started being assertive and/or confident.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Sometimes a lot goes right and then people say, “Wow, there was a lot to like about this thing that we’re talking about.” Monday was not one of those times. Monday was pretty much the exact opposite of one of those times.If you hear that the Bucks looked out of sync because they have a lot of new faces and that’s why they turned the ball over 21 times, you’ve heard wrong. So many unforced errors. At least three travels where a guy just shuffled his feet before moving. There were some out of sync moments, but there were way more sloppy moments that were much more troubling.
  2. Ersan Ilyasova and OJ Mayo did not play. Ilyasova probably won’t play for a while, but Mayo was out for personal reasons. Not sure when he’ll return, but he’ll be back sooner than Ilyasova almost certainly.
  3. Chicago out-rebounded the Bucks 52-31. Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer and Nazr Muhammad moved the Bucks bigs around as they pleased and grabbed both offensive and defensive rebounds with ease. That’s the sort of thing that you’d expect to happen when the Bucks start Caron Butler at the power forward position though. More pressing was Sanders absentee effort on the glass though, as noted earlier.

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  1. Hey Jeremy, love your blog. Looking to do something similar, but more focused on the marketing aspects of sports organizations. Thanks for the inspiration and most importantly, GO BUCKS!