A grizzly ending: Grizzlies 82 – Bucks 77
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 2-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +2
His rebounds were up, though at least a handful (depending on what you qualify as a “handful” of rebounds – I say three at least) of his boards were tipped attempts at the basket. Good to see him rebound well and take a charge too, on a night he wasn’t shooting very well again. He also held his own against Zach Randolph in the post, absorbing a lot of contact as Memphis played through the imposing big man early. Randolph finished just 2-10 from the field and Ersan played a big role there.
|Larry Sanders, C Shot Chart 37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +5
Believe it or not, Sanders was pretty much on an island for his game tying 3-point attempt with two seconds left. HENCE THE ISLAND ABOVE. To say the play broke down would be an understatement. Sanders was in the game to set a screen and only set a screen according to Larry Drew. Drew said there were three other options to be explored and all of them fell apart once the Grizzlies got physical with cutters and put pressure on Brandon Knight, the ball handler.
Sanders did not make the three. He played better than terrible and looked the part of active big man. Also no technicals, which I’m now required to mention by Bucks law. He struggled near the hoop though, as the shot chart showed.
|Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 43 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -2
He spent a lot of time playing point guard, which generally makes the Bucks a better team, because he’s a point guard and Brandon Knight really isn’t. He makes much better decisions and that makes a world of difference.
|Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 27 PTS | +9
More and more he’s looking like a very competent, capable, even possibly desirable combo guard. That does not make him a starting point guard though, which is the role he plays on this team. He’s like a character from a Holiday Inn Express commercial, only he must stay at Holiday Inn before every game this season, because he assumes this role that he isn’t cut out for with great confidence every night.
Ridnour played a bit more point guard than usual when they shared the court together on Wednesday, which helped free Knight up to make shots off the ball. But that final play has to fall partly on Knight, who failed to initiate and was massively disrupted by Mike Conley.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +6
He battled foul trouble for a large portion of the game, but came alive late with a fun alley-oop to Sanders and some aggressive drives to the basket. Overall, this wasn’t what he had in mind for the Greek Game I’m sure.
|John Henson, PF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 13 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -12
His numbers look pretty good in the box score, with the exception of his shooting line, but he was outplayed and out bounced by Ed Davis quite a bit. Davis looked like the springy young big man from North Carolina while Henson couldn’t quite get off the ground as quick or finish on his up and down hook shot. Rebounds though.
|Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -17
He was out of the starting lineup again thanks to a sprained ankle that he’s battling. He really needs to be makings shots to be effective, as he doesn’t do enough else better than guys playing in front of him. Rindour at the two gives Knight an opportunity to bounce over there sometimes, which lets Knight make plays off the ball and with it in his hands. He does both those things better than Middleton, who’s really still largely a catch and shoot guy. If he’s that kind of guy who can’t shoot, that’s a problem.
|Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +7
He looks very comfortable when Milwaukee is in a zone on defense. He also looks comfortable when he’s got the ball in the post against a smaller defender on offense, so he can take his time and either square up and shoot over or get up a fadeaway. Other than those scenarios, he just looks like he forces action an awful lot and ends up with bad shots.
Late game execution has been a huge issue for the Bucks. It’s led to multiple overtimes and multiple losses. It reared its head as a problem against the Grizzlies again, which at least meant the Bucks weren’t getting blown out. But it’s on Drew to find a way to not only call the right play late, but get his guys to actually pull it off.
Two Things We Saw
- Milwaukee scored just 10 points in the first quarter and hardly looked like a pro basketball team. At one point, the Bucks missed 15 consecutive shots. Fortunately, they started making shots again in the second and third quarters, scoring 25 points in each, which seemed almost miraculous.
- Randolph and the hobbled Marc Gasol combined for just 6 points on 2-14 FG … but that wasn’t enough for the Bucks to take advantage of. A frisky Grizzly bench combined for 44 points, led by 15 from James Johnson. JAMES JOHNSON! Milwaukee seemed to close out too hard on shooters time and time again and the Grizzlies often took advantage with drives to the basket that led to points.