Losing that lovin’ feelin': Blazers 91 – Bucks 82
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 19 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -9
He had a double-double last game.
|Caron Butler, SF 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -9
He returned to the court after missing Milwaukee’s last two games with an injured shoulder.Unfortunately for the Bucks, he was one of the team’s most effective rebounders, which tells you a lot about the team’s current state of rebounding. Butler was neither effective nor ineffective, but he likely earned the scorn of Bucks fans worldwide by playing 29 more minutes than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
|Luke Ridnour, PG 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -10
First quarter: 3-4 FG, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 6 points.
It was good to see him back functioning with a bit more normalcy. He looked decisive and sharp, especially in that impressive first quarter. As the game went on, his impact was less obvious, but it’s clear he can make a defense react to him and create something for a teammate here and there. Those are both qualities the Bucks need a lot of right now.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -10
If Mayo isn’t scoring, it seems like the Bucks aren’t scoring. It was very strange to see him play just 25 minutes, given how important he’s seemed to have been to the Bucks offense. He did a bad job defending Wes Matthews early in the game, so that may have played into his minute limitation.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 22 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +1
In his first game back from an ankle injury that cost him six games, Ilyasova didn’t make a huge impact. The Bucks badly needed help on the defensive glass and while Ilyasova is at least average as a defensive rebounder historically, he provided little on Wednesday night. It will probably take him a few games, ala Ridnour, before he’s really, truly back.
|John Henson, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -1
Unremarkable, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who feels good about him playing only seven more minutes than Ekpe Udoh, who was barely able to produce so much as a stat on the evening. If Henson could return to last season’s rebounding ways, while still blocking shots, it’s safe to assume minutes would start flying his way.
I asked Drew about figuring out who should and shouldn’t be playing late in a close game after this one and he didn’t seem to have much of an answer, not that he can be blamed given the in flux state of his roster this season. Most would like to see him playing Giannis more and Butler less but his mandate is to win and he thinks Butler gives him a better chance. We’ll check back on that in a couple months.
Four Things We Saw
- The Blazers have now won nine straight games. The Bucks have now lost six straight. Given that the Blazers have Aldridge and Lillard, these really are two teams heading in the opposite directions.
- Portland grabbed 16 offensive rebounds. Drew attributed this loss at least in part to Milwaukee’s inability to close out possessions defensively by grabbing rebounds.
- The Bucks were 5-14 from 3-point range. Threes had been the most successful and important part of the Bucks offense through eight games, so Portland’s ability to run them off the 3-point line was huge. Meanwhile, the Blazers connected on 11-31 3FG. Quite a difference those deep balls made.
- Equally as disappointing as the Bucks on Wednesday? Attendance.
I know that the Bucks haven’t been great. And I know that the Blazers don’t have a star. But 11,789 people? That’s pretty low, even for a weekday. If Milwaukee ever wanted a reputation as a basketball town, this is not the way to earn it. The Blazers are a very good team that plays a style that’s enjoyable. They even have former Marquette star Wesley Matthews. And the Bucks even did their first Milwaukee Originals shirt package deal. But still, only 11,879.
Bummer. Milwaukee is very much not in love with this Bucks team.