(Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brandon Knight’s impressive play wasn’t enough to propel the Bucks to a win. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
111 Charlotte Bobcats
Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 41 MIN | 7-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +2

It was a shame that the last three minutes of the fourth quarter went so poorly for Middleton, especially when he had played such a sharp, efficient game until then. His technical (which probably should have been a flagrant foul when he popped Josh McRoberts in the face with an elbow) didn’t end up hurting the team, but some poor defensive play and missed shots in the end of regulation helped the Bobcats force overtime, and his last-ditch shot at the end of overtime was ruled a two-pointed when his feet were over the line. Still, he’s been a pleasant surprise since he came over seemingly as a throw-in in the Jennings/Knight trade.

Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +7

As we’ve learned, Butler isn’t afraid to shoot, even when he’s not hitting his shots. He continued that trend tonight, taking a bunch of threes and hitting…. well…. one of them. It might be advisable for him to focus more on mentoring the young players and less on jacking up shots at every opportunity.

Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 19 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +13

Raduljica was called upon to body up with Al Jefferson in the early stages of the game and held his own. His minutes were limited as Larry Drew leaned heavily on John Henson late in the game, but he was proficient on offense and seems to be picking up the flow of NBA games.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 11-23 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 14 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | +7

He drove, he dished, he scored. Knight showed a glimpse of his potential tonight as he set a career high in assists. I was especially impressed on one fast break when he drove to the basket and located Butler for an open jumper instead of forcing a shot at the rim where he was at a disadvantage. He still took too many shots but Knight was much improved in distributing and helping his teammates find good shots.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 36 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +3

Giannis had an absolutely sublime sequence in which he drew two fouls on Josh McRoberts, drilled a three-pointer, and finished an emphatic dunk. In addition, he played excellent defense on an inbound play late in the game, using his length to disrupt a Bobcats play. If there’s a complaint to be lobbied against him yet, it’s that he disappears for entire segments of the game. When he’s engaged and active, we see impressive results that I mentioned above. The next step in his development will be to play more complete games. It’s impressive how much of an impact he’s had so far, and if Giannis can extend his flashes of brilliance into significant minutes he can become a truly special player in the NBA.

John Henson, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -16

He, like Middleton, missed some crucial shots late in regulation and has shown no indication that he can hit jumpers with regularity. That lack of range definitely showed in overtime when Bucks struggled to score against a Bobcats defense that didn’t have to respect Henson outside of the lane.

That being said, Henson continued his defensive assault with six blocks and played a huge role in defending the Cats in late-game situations and forcing the overtime period. His offensive game has a ways to go, but that’s alright if he can provide a significant impact on the defensive end. It remains to be seen if he and Larry Sanders will be able to co-exist when the latter returns from his injury.

Ekpe Udoh, PF Shot Chart 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9

I saw him get two rebounds (one offensive, one defensive) in a row. It was like seeing a unicorn.

Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -8

He hit a couple of shots and played the careful brand of basketball we’ve come to expect from him. Nate was particularly impressive on one streak to the basket that he converted for points, but otherwise didn’t contribute much.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 12 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1

Ridnour played almost exclusively in a two-guard lineup with Wolters and gave the team serviceable bench minutes, which should probably be his role at this point.

O.J. Mayo, SG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | -3

He gets kudos for making a crunch time shot to force the game into overtime and nearly completing a points-rebounds double-double. But Mayo hasn’t really shown the shooting acumen that earned him a (relatively) big contract this year. A consistent scoring threat at the wing would greatly benefit the team at this point, but Mayo has not shown more than flashes.

Larry Drew

I honestly can’t tell if the team’s end-of-game (and end-of-overtime) struggles are due to coaching or player decisions. While Mayo and Middleton both hit shots in those end-game scenarios tonight, it just seems like the Bucks can’t finish close games on a strong note. That’s been a problem since before Drew was the coach, but it also hasn’t been much better since he came in.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks came roaring out of the gates, scoring 33 points in the first quarter against a good Bobcats defense. However, the Bucks’ own defense wasn’t up to the task in the second quarter and let the Cats right back into it. Consistent play remains a concern, and the team has not been able to maintain leads this year. Successful teams do that. Big surprise, but the Bucks are not a successful team.
  2. I said this earlier in the recap and often on Twitter during the game, but Knight really looked good as a point guard in this game. He’s minimized turnovers – only two in his last three games – while dishing out 28 assists in that same time period. While he still shoots a lot, you can see his talent and the potential he has to be a great distributor. Also, he’s still only 22 years old. So that’s fun.
  3. In their third matchup with the Bobcats this season, the Bucks came the closest to pulling out a victory against Charlotte. If this trend continues, the Bucks should have a guaranteed victory in these two teams’ final matchup on March 16… right? I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.
  4. This makes 6 overtime games for the Bucks so far this season. Their record in those games? 1-5. That’s not great.