Losing that lovin’ feelin’: Blazers 91 – Bucks 82

Lopez, probably about to score, probably after an offensive rebound. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Lopez, probably about to score, probably after an offensive rebound. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Milwaukee Bucks
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.
Rest of game: 3-10 FG, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 7 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.

Larry Drew

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Categories: Recaps

Tags: ,,,,,,,


  1. Well the attendance would go up if Giannis’s playing time went up and didn’t have to watch Butler jack up jumpshots.

    • Giannis and Middleton both getting playing time over Butler would help my interest as would the offense running primarily through J.Henson at Center or Power Forward (The dude needs to be on the floor as much as possible. If he’s at danger of fouling out a lot – oh well).

  2. Well, the losing continues, and our chances of missing the playoffs and getting a solid pick in a loaded draft increases. So that’s a positive to hang on to.

    -The point guards may have been our one major positive tonight. Ridnour certainly does a better job of creating offense for himself and therefore making offense for others just by attracting defensive attention, and it showed in the first quarter/half. Wolters must be taking notes, because over the last couple games he’s been much more aggressive. More turnovers, yes, but he’s making the defense work instead of playing super conservative and hoping Mayo or Butler makes a contested three pointer.

    -Speaking of Mayo and Butler, holy crap. When they’re not scoring the basketball, they’re not worth playing. Butler in particular drives me insane with his poor isolation jumpers, killing what little offense the Bucks may have. At least Mayo will occasionally drive and hell, even make a play for a teammate at times.

    Part of it is due to all the injuries, but Drew seems mostly unable to motivate this team. Effort has been a major problem through the first ten games of this year, maybe due to tired legs, or because of the losing streak.

    I guess we can just hope for more Giannis as the season goes on, and be very pleased if we manage to land a high draft pick.

  3. First if all I believe that Henson, Middleton and Nate have earned the right to hav their minutes not only increased but they should see more time on the court together. The most frustrating thing about this team are the vets. Each one of these vets know damn well that they are not stars ( I dare not use the term superstars ), they know they have never been option 1 or 2 their entire careers. Role players and good bench players are each one of them from OJ on down. Yet each one of them see this as an opportunity to be ‘ The Man’ and it is downright comical. Even Luke tonight, solid first half and then he starts feeling himself at halftime and he is 3 for 10 in second half and missed several open teammates on offense. The vets need to move the ball more than the Young Bucks. At least the Young Bucks attempt to move the ball on offense, show energy on defense and actually know how to run a fast breat. Have you seen OJ, Neal and Mayo run a fast break. It’s embarrassing to middle school girls basketball. Giannis should get 1/3 of each Butler and Udoh’s time, nuff said. C’mon Drew, let the Young Bucks out, we’ll fill the seats, win a few more games, still won’t make the playoffs and they will get the experience they need.

    P.S. I think we can all say, ‘hey Detroit, thanks for the trade!’

  4. Pingback: Daybreak Doppler: Gearing Up For The Battle For Paul Bunyan’s Axe | PocketDoppler.com

    • They were both, meh. I’m not sure what the fascination is with Middleton. He’s a guy who can make shots. Unclear what else he’s capable of.

  5. Seems like a lot of fans on this site are excited about Khris Middleton — but Jeremy & Co., and Larry Drew, not so much.

    I’ve been saying that we need a true point guard for months, but little to no response from Jeremy & Co., nor from the other fans on this site. Maybe I’m wrong, but it would be nice to get some discussion about this, including who might be out there at the point guard position to help us.

    If coach Drew is being given a “mandate” of any kind, I’m concerned, deeply concerned. Is there meddling from John Hammond and Herb Kohl? I know I’ve been criticized for continually bringing up a certain former player who is now with the Magic — and perhaps some of that criticism is justified — but one of my major concerns associated with the above transaction goes to the deeper question of how this team is being coached and managed and owned. As I’ve written, even if the unnamed player I’m referring to turns out to be a bust, it was still a stupid trade as a matter of principle and “process” (to use, I think, one of Jeremy’s words).
    Besides the unmentionable trade thus referenced, I’ve questioned a lot of the front-office decisions about the draft, free-agency, and the point position. Plus, one of the main things Vince Lombardi did when he came to the Packers (after a 1-10-1 season) was to make sure the front office stopped interfering with the coach. If the front office is flawed, then we’ll never win, no matter how many lottery picks we get.

    I truly like Jeremy & Co., enjoy their writings, value their opinions, and appreciate this forum to agree and disagree with them in a heated but respectful way. (I really try to keep it positive even in disagreement.) I’ve gotten a couple of responses from them of late — and am sincerely grateful — yet I think it would be good to address the matters raised in these comments (or at least say why these comments don’t seem worthy of addressing).

    I passionately think these matters go to the heart of why the fans are having trouble getting excited about this team. As a loyal and at times ardent fan of the Bucks for 40-plus years, I know I’m discouraged. I’d like to get a good feeling going again.

    • They for sure need a point guard. That’s obvious. The main goal of this season is to figure out whether or not Brandon Knight is that guy. Unless it’s Knight, the point guard that will get the majority of the starts for the Bucks at that position for the next five years isn’t on the roster.

      I’m not sure that there is a worthwhile young point guard waiting to be acquired, ala Bledsoe last season, right now. If there isn’t, then there’s no need to press the issue this season, because it would take away minutes from a healthy Knight, who has to be the point guard this season.

      • Thanks for your interaction, Jeremy.
        Don’t know, but my impression of Middleton is that he plays good defense and that he is a team guy. At this point, it’s mostly a hunch, but he seems promising.
        As far as point guard, I understand your point about Brandon Knight and wanting to give him an opportunity. My concern is that while Brandon strives to grow on the job — and this could take some time — his teammates will get discouraged by the lack of creativity and distribution from the point. The offense seems so stagnant that it could stunt the development of our young guys and thwart their enthusiasm. More than any other position, the point guard affects the whole team.
        So it’s a delicate situation. My hope has been to acquire a more natural point guard to not necessarily replace Brandon and Nate, but to possibly complement and mentor them. We could trade a couple of our players not named Larry, John, or Khris along with a 2nd-round pick. I’d hope for a veteran along the lines of Andre Miller with savvy and leadership, or a younger guy who is dynamic at taking the ball to the hoop and has more of a knack for the position than Brandon has at least for now.
        I’ll be keeping my eyes open for guys on other teams who might be able to give a sense of direction and boost of excitment to our players and fans.

  6. Hey Jeremy. I have some LOVE for Middleton. You say he only a guy who makes shots , that’s NOT a huge plus for this hokey pokey offense??? REALLY??? He has a nice mid range jumper, a decent 3 ball, AND he is only player I see consistently CUT off ball to the rim. I noticed two such specific plays last night. He finished them too!!! We need guys that will slash in paint/baseline. You want veterans to pass more….someone needs to move on the floor. Middleton earns his points by cutting…not just standing solitary waiting for ball.

    As far as attendance is concerned, I’ve not met many people that ENJOY watching their home team get beaten. Let’s face facts, this start(2-8) will hurt attendance for remainder of year. 4times as many losses as wins…who will spend $$$$ on that?? The local media won’t even bother giving Bucks any coverage during it sports news.
    Coach Drew must find a way to get a few wins.

    As for me, I try to stay positive through each loss (notice Wolters finish at rim last night? SWEET),that’s something to be positive about!! Go Bucks

  7. Here’s the litmus test to determine if the Bucks are tanking.

    If Epke, Za Za, Luke and Butler are in the starting lineup- they are tanking. Especially Epke. What possible justification can there be for starting Epke Udoh?

    You have Henson, Ersan, Wolters and Middleton all playing limited minutes most nights. All are obviously or at least arguably the better choice to start. Remember- all the above starters (except for Butler) were brought to Milwaukee as backups so why not play them that way?

    Throw the fans a bone and start the best guys and also play the Greek 20 minutes a night no matter what. If not, watch attendance dwindle to next to nothing. Would you pay to go to a Bucks game right now????????

    • I would actually counter that argument…if they are playing the veterans that would imply that they are trying to win now. If they play the rookies/young guys that would mean that they are trying to develop them for the future. However, I think that this roster just isnt very talented right now and no matter who they put on the court may result in inadvertent tanking

  8. You are correct rowe49 –

    Seattle Bucks,…..that actually sounds ok. Don’t think it can’t happen. A 20 win season , and A BLANK shot in the draft….perfect storm.

    Team MUST get some wins,and soon!!