A shotmaker steps forward: Bucks 109 — Wizards 105
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 28 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +8
The jump shots could have been a little tighter, the defense could have been a bit less slow, and he got stuck with a bunch of fouls trying to induce charges.
|John Henson, PF 45 MIN | 8-10 FG | 3-5 FT | 17 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +11
An all-around terrific game for Henson. His grade would be higher, but he’s set a higher standard for himself as a rim protector than he did last season. The Bucks wouldn’t have won this game without his rigorous body of work on the glass.
He even threw in a righty hook shot for good measure.
|Khris Middleton, PF 47 MIN | 11-22 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 29 PTS | +7
Khris Middleton makes shots. Khris Middleton makes shots. Khris Middleton makes shots. I’d go on, but then it would look chalkboard penance meted out to Jeremy.
He tied his career-high in points by halftime, and his shooting form never wavered in 47 minutes. Even his misses looked like they were going to go in.
Even with Washington rookie Glen Rice, Jr. in the building, Middleton was far and away the player who most resembled Glen Rice.
|Brandon Knight, PG 33 MIN | 6-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +8
After the game, John Henson made a point of lauding on Knight’s defense late against a suddenly hot John Wall. Considering that Knight also made the game’s two most important shots AND helped his big men immensely on the defensive glass, that’s strong praise. Four turnovers are forgivable when he uses his dribble to probe his way to the restricted area.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 39 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +4
He took a couple of stiffarms to the face and ribcage and played through them. He was also one cog of a seamless defensive effort in overtime that held the Wizards without a field goal. It’s good when he makes a presence beyond that of being a scorer.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 33 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -12
He probably shouldn’t have even played this game because of injury, but he gutted his way through 33 minutes including a few surprisingly polished offensive moves. He shook off an early bout of bobbly hands to make a solid contribution.
|Nate Wolters, PG 17 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4
Larry Drew said before the game that he would try to find some minutes for Wolters soon and sure enough, when Knight got an early 2nd foul, Wolters got the call. After the game, he said, “I haven’t played for a little bit. It’s been a couple of games. It took a couple of minutes just to get a little rhythm.”
He also said that John Wall has been his toughest defensive assignment to date. Wolters had a hard time defending Wall without reaching, but he did what he always does: run the offense.
For what it’s worth, he traded highlight plays with Eric Maynor and Jan Vesely, who are probably the Wizards’ two weakest links at the moment.
|Luke Ridnour, PG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7
Larry Drew didn’t do Ridnour any favors by putting him in against John Wall instead of Eric Maynor. He didn’t have much of a shot of staying in front of Wall.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3
Giannis threw down one high-soaring dunk, just missed an even more ambitious one, and brought a smile of disbelief to Otto Porter’s face in Porter’s NBA debut. All in all, not a bad 19th birthday.
He didn’t use Gary Neal. That’s a trend to keep an eye on.
Three Things We Saw
- A number of the Bucks players had pockets of fans inside the Verizon Center, but the loudest and most visually distinct one was the group of South Dakota St. fans present to cheer for Nate Wolters. Larry Sanders spotted the group and pointed them out to Nate.
- Larry Drew called a 20-second timeout 26 seconds into the game before the Bucks ever ran a play on offense. He must have seen a defensive breakdown that he didn’t like, and John Henson appeared to be the target of Drew’s wrath.
- Henson after the game:”To win games, we’re going to have to grind it out. It’s not going to be pretty. We’re not going to blow anybody out of the water — just to be honest. That’s kind of how we’ve got to win.”