It’s hard to beat a team three times … or to get four wins for that matter: Celtics 108 – Bucks 100

Another opponent towers over the Bucks. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Another opponent towers over the Bucks. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 Boston Celtics
John Henson, PF 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -10

Jared Sullinger made 3-5 shots out of the post against Henson and got pretty good looks on the two shots he missed. Henson was able to help force him into a couple of turnovers, but overall wasn’t super effective against the Celtics big man. When Sullinger caught outside the post, Henson fared much better, but Drew seems most worried about him down low, with reason. On the other side, it’s striking how much more competent he looks on offense than all of his big man peers on the Bucks. The return of Ersan Ilyasova did Henson no favors, as he saw his minutes dip back under 30 thanks to an additional big man rotation body.

Khris Middleton, PF 33 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +3

A typically solid Middleton game. What’s nice about his game is that it seems like it could easily translate onto a better team. It’s not like he’s starring on this team because he’s doing anything that is unsustainable for him. He’s playing within himself and succeeding. There’s no reason to not expect he couldn’t be an eight to ten point a night guy off the bench for a very good team simply by doing the same things he does for the Bucks. He makes the HELL out of jump shots.

Ekpe Udoh, PF 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -7

Every time he offers a glimpse of hope as a rebounder, it seems like he goes out of his way to put out that flickering ray of light and remind us that he has little to no interest in excelling on the glass. One rebound in 28 minutes. On the plus side, he actually hit two shots that came out of post-up opportunities on Tuesday, leaving him 3-12 out of the post this year. Whew.

Brandon Knight, PG 31 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +2

Neither Knight nor Mayo was able to do much to bother Jordan Crawford, who finished with 25 points on the night, but Knight continues to improve as a conductor of Milwaukee’s offense, specifically in terms of getting the offense up the court quicker and looking for more quick opportunities. He’s been cutting his turnovers game by game and he didn’t turn the ball over all night on Tuesday, even while handing out six assists. Another step forward, despite a poor shooting night. Like it or not, he’s the guy for now. He’s got the most upside and offers a physicality that no point guard on this roster can match.

O.J. Mayo, SG 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +3

Solid night from an efficiency standpoint. It didn’t appear that Mayo did anything different defensively from Saturday to Tuesday, but the results were significantly different. Sometimes, the other team makes shots.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +1

It seems like Ilyasova is constantly either in a game where he gets injured or is in his fist game back from an injury. Tough year for Ersan. He rebounded the ball well on the defensive end after missing Saturday night’s game, but still hasn’t regained that Ersan offensive rebounding magic he’s always had. He grabbed one offensive board Tuesday, but he used to be reliable for at least a couple every night. He had a nice moment where he spotted up after a pick for his typical three from up top, but when a pass never came, he cut to the basket for a layup. I don’t recall seeing that much from him, but it keeps him involved if his teammates miss him, which I suspect they will more often than not this season.

Zaza Pachulia, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | 0

After scoring in double figures in three out of the Bucks first four games this season, he’s done so once in the following 13 games.

Luke Ridnour, PG 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -10

It seems like he’s taking steps towards being a useful rotation player again, but it’s fair to wonder at times what he’s offering the Bucks outside of being a veteran that Nate Wolters couldn’t offer. The answer is probably “the ability to make  3-point shot”, but Ridnour hasn’t been reliable from three this season. Again, it’s early and he has only 14 attempts and he has a history of being able to shoot a bit, but he’s been so … meh.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -11

He’s a fan of the back door cut on the baseline when bigs have the ball in the paint. He got another dunk on another pass from Zaza Pachulia, similar to the one he had on Saturday. Aside from a couple of cuts and a transition alley-oop, it was a quiet night for Giannis. He did block another jump-shot too, when Courtney Lee tried to fire over him early in the second quarter. That’s always fun to see.

Larry Drew

I think he has more confidence in zone defense than he should, but he went away from it when it wasn’t working. I never know how to evaluate Drew. His team isn’t very good and I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do about that. I think people want him to play Wolters, but that probably won’t make much of a difference for the Bucks either in the long or short term. It’s nice to see him getting Giannis minutes, but again, that’s just because Caron Butler is out. Overall, he doesn’t seem to do anything notably good or bad … which is pretty much what everyone expected when he was hired.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Celtics were very excited about the looks they got against the Bucks on Saturday and were probably just as pleased on Tuesday night. Boston made 11-25 3-pointers after having made only 4-19 on Saturday night. The shots fell on Tuesday and the Bucks couldn’t muster enough of a counter punch.
  2. The old cliche states that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. If one team is superior to another and it’s clear, then I suspect it really isn’t that hard. But the Bucks aren’t superior to the Celtics. They had good fortune when Boston missed so many shots in Milwaukee and good fortune as Boston was still learning how to play together when Milwaukee stole a game in Boston earlier this year. But the Bucks aren’t better than the Celtics and the Celtics showed that Tuesday night by controlling practically the entire game.
  3. Check out the Bucksketball Facebook page later today for a chance to win tickets to a much less exciting than I previously imagined Bucks-Nets game on Saturday night.

Categories: Recaps

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  1. Is having Luke Ridnour on the floor really an improvement over Wolters? Luke’s offense continues to struggle. His defense was ridiculous last night (and is most nights)as the Celtics guards shot over him at will. Wolters is bigger, runs the offense better and his skills are at least comparable (if not better)than Ridnour’s. Also, he could really use the experience.

    And, what’s up with using zone defense constantly? Everyone in the NBA knows that teams that plays a lot of zone are conceding they can’t play defense. Is that really the case? Other than Ridnour, the Bucks have guys who can guard 1 on 1. Henson, Ekpe, Middleton, Knight and Giannis can all guard. Pachulia can too, but in a zone his slow feet expose him. C’mon Drew! Be an NBA coach!

    • Upon watching Luke’s defensive possessions, I think only one shot was made over him and that was after he went down to double the post. Can’t remember right now if that shot even went in. I’m not sure he’s a good defender, but I can’t tell if people are ever making shots over him just because he’s smaller. I thought of that before and was going to comment on it, but upon review, couldn’t go with it.

  2. Poor defensive coaching last night. The zone and double teaming left weak side 3point shooter CONSTANTLY wide open….and Critics used it greatly to their advantage!!

    Just sickening to give that same shot up over and over and over and over.Every time BUCKS closed the gap with a run-Celtics went back to that same play and killed our run. Make me vomit!!!