Bull Shot: Bulls 91 – Bucks 90

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson, PF 36 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -6

Every game is another reminder that I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Larry Sanders, if only to see what happens when Henson moves back to the power forward spot. Again, he was over-matched trying to hold the Bulls off the glass essentially by himself. Other than fighting a losing battle on the glass, Henson played pretty well, doing a lot of the things that have made him successful.

Khris Middleton, PF 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1

For a moment, it looked like he had won the game for Milwaukee. His left-handed floater gave Milwaukee a two point lead with 29 seconds to play. After the play broke down, he was able to get a clean look off the dribble from 12-feet out. Sure, it was a tough look, but he’s capable of creating something for himself, just not great looks for himself. Another fairly solid game from him otherwise. He’d be smart to watch the HELL out of Mike Dunleavy tapes, specifically tonight’s tape.

Ekpe Udoh, PF 33 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | 0

This is not the rebounding partner Henson needs. Udoh was blown away by Boozer and Noah all night long. He is not good at rebounding. He’s a minus. Also, he isn’t much for offense either. Disaster. I suspect Ersan will be back in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.

Brandon Knight, PG 29 MIN | 3-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -11

Half the time, Knight looks fantastic. The other half of the time, he looks completely out of control.

O.J. Mayo, SG 29 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -9

Mayo was having an okay game, until there was about a minute and a half left. First, he fouled Mike Dunleavy shooting a three, which meant he gave the Bulls three points. Then, he came down on the other end, with the Bucks up two and shot a quick, errant three. It was a terrible shot that came out of nowhere, completely out of whatever flow the Bucks could have had on offense. Outside of those two moves, he wasn’t bad, but those were two TERRIBLE plays.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 24 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +5

One time he hit a jump shot. A bunch of other times he faded away from the hoop, praying he could get up a shot. Sometimes he got those shots up, sometimes they were blocked by Carlos Boozer, of all people. Either way, they never went in.

Gary Neal, SG 19 MIN | 5-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +5

His complete offensive arsenal was on display. He made a couple of forays into the paint that went pretty well, he hit a couple of threes, he drew some fouls. This was a very good Gary Neal game. He even threw a lob to Giannis one time. Late in the game, Milwaukee inbounded the ball to him right on the sideline and he was tied up by Joakim Noah. I’m hesitant to blame him for catching in a bad spot; that was just a terrible job by everyone.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 24 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +1

Larry Drew said Giannis played his most complete game of the season. He was an aggressive rebounder, he was calling for lobs and getting to the line. He faked a handoff and spun into the paint, then drove for a dunk. A pretty solid game overall, though he still stood to the side frequently on offense.

Larry Drew

Drew said four guys were in the right spot and one player was out of position on the shot that led to Khris Middleton’s miraculous jumper. He wasn’t sure if he needed to be more clear about who should be where coming out of timeouts or if guys needed to focus more. One thing he was sure of was that everyone needed to do a better job executing down the stretch or else this team would continue to blow any leads they have late.

Three Things We Saw

  1. So many Bulls fans, as usual. Losing to the Bulls in Milwaukee is always a bummer, because everyone wearing red and black just feels a little too good about themselves afterwards.
  2. Chicago outrebounded Milwaukeee 44-38 and had 17 offensive rebounds. That’s a problem. Noah, Gibson and Boozer were way more physical than anyone the Bucks trotted out at center and power forward and probably swung the game with their intensity and physicality.
  3. Oh, how did Chicago win, you ask? Mike Dunleavy banked in a three with five seconds left with the Bulls down two. He came off a double screen and Henson was a split second too late in jumping out to contest the shot. Of course that’s how it ended.

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  1. That didn’t look like a jump ball on Neal! My understanding is you have to have the ball tied up for at least 3 seconds for it to be a jump ball. It just seemed like the ref called a jump ball way to fast. Noah barely had him tied up and Neal yanked the ball back out of his hands, but the ref had already called a jump ball.

  2. I agree…less than 2 seconds-terrible call by the zebra.
    For those fans who love every loss we can muster,what a great job tonight. For those of us fans who like home court WIN,…this one is very hard to live with!
    I hate to say it,my faith in coach Drew is lost. Ball control and clock management, and the ability to close out a game….all insufficient tonight. Pardon me now,I must GO VOMIT again…. f#@kin BUCKS

  3. Anyone not currently on the Giannis bandwagon it is time to hop on. I, like most people expected to see a much more raw player than what Giannis is showing. Seeing this kind of play, which deserves NBA minutes now, is saying something from a kid that is only just turning 19. I know it is hard to be saying this confidently but i think the Bucks may have a real shot at a future. which is hard to say coming from someone who has never been around for a successful Bucks franchise.

  4. It was very painful to watch Dunleavy deliver the final blow. Does that now qualify him for an episode of how to hate watch Mike Dunleavy? Yish.

  5. Time for a bit of a rant: Some of the many reasons the Bucks are an awful franchise.

    Today’s lesson- The Bucks constantly aquire players and then ask them to do things they cannot.

    -Brandon Knight is not a point guard. He provides speed, athleticism, defense and youth. But why can’t the organation see he has literally zero point guard skills?

    -Starting Ekpe Udoh. Ekpe has little to no discernable NBA skills. Possibly the worst rebounder per minutes played in the league. Also, he cannot score. But ALL the Bucks ask him to do is help Henson on the glass which he obviously can’t do.

    Ersan is terrible in his current role. He looks now, and did last year, absolutely pathetic coming off the bench. His play right now is beyond bad. Also, he is killing his trade value. Start Ersan!

    Asking John Henson to play center against much bigger, heavier players. The few struggles Henson’s has had this year always seem to go back to getting pushed around by bigger players. Henson is not a center.

    Asking Larry Sanders to be the face of the franchise. Sanders can play big time defense. Other than that, he has few legitimate NBA skills. Also, there are some real indications he may be a truly unstable person. Too many fights on the court and off, numerous ejections, bar brawls and twitter nonsense to feel secure about his future in Milwaukee much less his mental health.

    Going back some years-

    – Asking Bogut to be a #1 scoring option. For years.

    – Asking Redd to be a franchise type player.

    – Signing career journey man Tim Thomas to a 56 million dollar contract when we had #1 pick Glenn Robinson, at the same position, still in his prime.

    Finally, the numerous draft (Joe Alex. Yi. Tj Ford) and trade mistakes (Bogut, Ray, Tobias) that has left us with a squad that probably would stuggle to beat Kentucky.

    This is what it’s like to be a truly awful organization.

    • Hey, rowe49, it was good reading your “bit of a rant”… some good things to think about. Just prior to logging on, I was watching a program on the NFL channel about the 10 greatest Packers of all time, which included Paul Hornung at #6. When Hornung came to the Packers as a much-heralded Heisman trophy winner in the mid-1950s (actually awhile before I was born), he quickly went from top to flop, and actually sat on the bench for a team that won only one game for the entire 1958 season. He was considered to be not good enough of a passer to play his college position of quarterback; too slow for halfback; not strong enough for fullback. He was on the verge of leaving the league.
      When Vince Lombardi came along, he was able to provide some discipline, some encouragement, some direction; and he was able to take all of Hornung’s skills to help turn him into one of the greatest all-around players of all time. A couple of other apparent failures that Lombardi helped coach up into hall of famers are Bart Starr (weak arm, weak leader) and Ray Nitschke (nut case). See John Eisenberg’s book on Lombardi’s first season.
      So this speaks to your point of putting guys in the right positions to succeed, as well as giving them the all of the right kinds of coaching to succeed in those positions.
      That’s why I’ve been frustrated when reading that Tobias Harris doesn’t have a real position in the NBA; or that Khris Middleton is too limited in his abilities to ever be more than an average player; or that Ish Smith is a bad shooter (so was Magic Johnson, plus Rajon Rondo and Ricky Rubio seem to be coming along in that area); or when I’m told that we shouldn’t sign another point guard because there’s no one out there who could ever amount to anything (no offense at all intended to anyone who believes those things, just serious but respectful disagreement, especially when it seems that guys are written off so off-handedly). It’s quite possible that all of these things could be true about certain guys not being all that good, but it’s also possible that with the right kind of opportunities, guys who appeared to be going nowhere in the NBA could be solid to star players. What kills me is when guys aren’t really given a good opportunity to succeed, when they are dismissed prematurely, almost casually.
      Point being, even with lottery picks for the next five seasons, the Bucks probably will still be lousy and lackluster… unless we have top coaching and top management.