Ersan + no one = miserable: Raptors 116 – Bucks 94

Ersan good. Everyone else bad. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ersan good. Everyone else bad. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
116 Toronto Raptors
Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 11-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 29 PTS | +3

It only took about three months, but when I saw Ersan shoot, I actually had the expectation that his shot was going to go in. He struggled badly early on last season as well, before playing very well once he established himself in Jim Boylan’s rotation. But I can’t help but wonder if an $8 million player is really worth that if he’s only that player for about half the season?

Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -25

His night was summed up near the end of the first half when he received a pass on the break from OJ Mayo … and immediately fumbled it out of bounds. He couldn’t make a shot or do much, though it’s nice to see him dish out five assists on a night he played very poorly.

Larry Sanders, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -3

Zero technical fouls. Zero flagrant fouls. Not ejected. He’s reset the bar for himself, so this night felt like kind of a success, despite 25% shooting and an impressive performance from his positional counterpart Jonas Valanciunas.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -5

Played perfectly average offensive basketball, which he’s prone to doing. But everyone on the Bucks failed defensively Monday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -13

More and more, Giannis is coming off curls with a mission. He’ll catch and swipe the ball, then look to make a decision about what comes next. The man who lingered in corners like he was waiting for a bus is looking like a distant memory on nights like this one. His aggression is a pleasure.

John Henson, PF Shot Chart 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -23

He looked a lot like the healthy version of Henson that we’ve grown to love. Quickly upon checking in for the first time, Milwaukee ran a play to get him a look in the post, though he whiffed on the hook shot. He had a very strong put back dunk at one point as well. But neither he nor Sanders defended Valanciunas well.

Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -22


Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 4 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +7

‘Slav is in a tough spot with Sanders and Henson both healthy and Ersan coming back to life. He isn’t fighting for many minutes with Ekpe Udoh, who did not play, but there are still big men blocking him, especially when Milwaukee uses either Butler or Middleton at the four. So he’ll sit and wait and contribute when he gets his chances.

Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -10

He still looks completely different as a point guard than Brandon Knight in a lot of good ways. He’s a better passer in the pick and roll, partly because Knight has so much athletic ability that he can get into the paint. But Knight is often out of control when he enters the paint, so it doesn’t pay off as much as it seems like it should. Ridnour understands his limitations better, probably because he has many more limitations. But knowing is half the battle, so say the good folks who made the G.I. Joe cartoon when I was a child.

O.J. Mayo, SG Shot Chart 18 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -26


Two Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee went 9-for-19 on 3-pointers, but only attempted five in the second half. I’m not sure if blame should be thrown at the Bucks for abandoning what cut a large lead down to eight at half or if kudos should be showered upon the Raptors for limiting Milwaukee’s attempts. The Bucks aren’t going to win many games in which they attempt only five threes in a half.
  2. I’ve long been critical of anyone and everyone who has referred to Ersan Ilyasova as a small forward or even asked about lineups with him at that position. But last night, for one glorious (miserable?) minute, the Bucks rolled out a lineup with Sanders-Henson-Ilyasova all in there together. I guess when things get this far out of control, why not experiment with whatever. Seems like Ilyasova wouldn’t be able to guard on the perimeter, but I’m not sure Caron Butler can either. “Screw it” may as well be the motto at this point.

Categories: Recaps

Tags: ,,,,,,,,


  1. “Seems like Ilyasova wouldn’t be able to guard on the perimeter, but I’m not sure Caron Butler can either. “Screw it” may as well be the motto at this point.”

    Caron was actually playing SG at that point.

    Also, another interesting lineup:
    Ridnour, Mayo, Middleton, Butler, Henson

    70-83, 3Q
    1:32 Khris Middleton enters the game for Ersan Ilyasova
    1:32 Caron Butler enters the game for Giannis Antetokounmpo

    75-96, 4Q
    8:52 Official timeout


    80-101, 4Q
    6:48 Raptors Full timeout
    6:48 Larry Sanders enters the game for John Henson

    80-105, 4Q
    5:39 Giannis Antetokounmpo enters the game for Khris Middleton
    5:39 Brandon Knight enters the game for Luke Ridnour

    I couldn’t believe how long he stuck with a lineup that seemed so ineffective. Especially Middleton offensively. I couldn’t believe when no changes were made after that official timeout. I was ready to see Wolters and Raduljica come in.

  2. Coach Drew has been awful at substituting players in and out. Can’t figure it out…he will stick with a group far too long while opponent’s open up significant leads.

    I can’t do any better…im no nba coach-but I think Coach Drew has the players to insert in order to switch momentum during game. GO big when necessary…GO smaller when necessary…mix it up when necessary. We have NOTHING TO LOSE….we won’t be moving up the standings regardless. However,…a few wins would go looooooong way for team moral.


  3. If Luke is an upgrade over Brandon in many ways, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about adding another point guard to team. Consider which of our veterans won’t likely be here in a year or two, and trade a couple of them for a more natural and nuanced point guard — which would also leave open a roster spot if we want to do something else.
    The reason I’m so big on this is that this season looks to continue as so utterly miserable without someone at the point to direct and distribute. Let’s at least try someone else.
    I hope we don’t get down on Khris or neglect him the way some people seemed to do with Tobias last season. It’s hard to excel on a team in such disarray! Even us amateurs know how deflating it can be to play on a team where the ball isn’t moving around, and guys are jacking up shots all around, and chaos rules over cohesion and cooperation.
    If we have to trade one of our young guys — which I’m extremely reluctant to do, and only as a last resort — let’s get something much, much better than what we got from the Magic last year, and more lasting.
    I’m skeptical that a lottery pick will turn things around next year if we don’t start turning things around now. Check out the Cavs and Wizards… even if those teams do get it together with all of the top picks on their rosters, it’s not as though it’s a given, or that it’s going to happen overnight. Plus, even if we get a LeBron, or Carmelo, or Dwight… well, how did that work out for the teams that drafted them?

    • “Plus, even if we get a LeBron, or Carmelo, or Dwight… well, how did that work out for the teams that drafted them?”

      2003-10 Cleveland Cavaliers: 349-225 (.608), 1 Finals appearance, 1 EC Finals appearance, 5 total playoff appearances

      2004-2012 Orlando Magic: 371-269 (.578) 1 Finals appearance, 1 EC Finals appearance, 5 total playoff appearances

      2003-2011 Denver Nuggets: 388-268 (.591) 1 WC Finals appearance, 8 total playoff appearances.

      What is your definition of “working out”, anyways?

      • Is that what you guys really want, a player who teases you with spectacular stats, but only moderate success, and then skips town? Do you really want to buy tickets and jerseys, and invest your cheers until your throat is sore, for selfish mercenaries who are biding their time until they get a better deal? (Sure, honey, we had some great times dating for the last six years, until you dumped me and married that hottie from your office?)
        What kind of hard recoveries have the Cavs and Magic been having ever since they were jilted by their superstar draft picks? At least the Nuggets got something for Carmelo, maybe even did better in the exchange — but when they did have him, how much playoff success did they have in all those years?
        Plus, if Carmelo is the kind of player I think he is, I don’t want a guy who is going to be a hyper-shooting ball hog and black hole. At least LeBron will pass the ball; all he did wrong was basically tell his hometown to go to hell with a smile on his face, then pack his beachwear and nightclub attire for South Beach. As for Dwight, do you really want that kind of exasperating and sickening soap opera for the Bucks?
        At least we have some young guys on the Bucks now — plus possibly a couple of vets — who seem like good guys, though it’s hard to tell. (Please, Giannis, don’t change!!!) I hope our front office and coaching staff are rewarding the good ones with minutes and appreciation, while making plans to move the selfish ones out.
        I know sports is somewhat of a business, but if there’s no loyalty from all sides (players, management, fans), and there’s no continuity in rosters, then I’m about ready to move away from pro sports, and to stop caring if the Bucks move away from Milwaukee. If all Bucks stands for is Dollar Bills, then screw it — they can become the Seattle StarBucks.
        However, maybe there is hope: The Packers had something like 95% of their roster this season with guys who had only played for the Packers in their entire careers. The Spurs seem to keep their core guys. Maybe it can be done! Maybe we should have higher standards.

        • Also, BigDog, if you’re the one who called me a lone wolf in a negative way, as though I like instigating dissent for the fun of it, then I hope these comments are evidence that I am sincerely passionate about what I say, and that I’m sincerely sick and tired of the Bucks being a loser and laughingstock for all these years.
          If players don’t want to come to Milwaukee, it’s because of the front office, not the city — Milwaukee is just fine as a city! (I don’t want the players who pick their city based on strip clubs, anyway.)
          What I don’t get is how I seem to get so much heat on this site while Herb Kohl and John Hammond basically get a pass for running a slipshod organization that is an embarrassment to Milwaukee.
          For example, Ted, does anyone ever ask why the front office doesn’t have any roster space, and thus doesn’t have much flexibility, and why it used up its roster space on broken down has-beens (with possible exceptions)? For Jeremy and Mitch, does anyone ask why Brandon Knight has to be our point guard for the entire season; is that what we really want, or is that what Kohl/Hammond want? Are we not allowed to even consider alternatives while we’re almost last in scoring? Also, Ted, why can’t we look into the D-League; are those guys really so inferior compared to some of the guys we had over the last few years, including right now?
          No hard feelings to anyone, but I am kinda hurt by the flack and resistance I get at times. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I have anger issues like Larry. Maybe I’m widely hated, or at least disliked, or dismissed as an annoying crank… and people wish I would just go away, including Jeremy and Mitch. However, my final question would be: Is this a place for respectful but passionate discussion and debate, or is it a public relations site for the Bucks’ front office, where we make endless excuses for their endless blunders and give them ten years or more to give us a winning team with a measure of class?

          • I don’t really have time to match you essay-for-essay, but your broken record act might be part of the reason that you get resistance or not answered or whatever.

        • I’d sure rather have a half decade of being a legitimate contender over what’s happened over the last decade for the Bucks, that’s for sure. Like it or not, star players are the way you win in today’s NBA. You may not like how they act or their character or whatever-which is fine-but if you want to see the Bucks be successful, then you want them to have a star player. And where do those players come from? More often than not, the lottery.

          My point was that those players brought success with them – the Cavs and Magic, in particular, were legitimate title contenders with Lebron or Dwight. They also ran up against one of the great dynasty teams in the Lakers that denied them each a title. LeBron singlehandedly brought Cleveland from the bottom of the league to within a few games of winning it all. But hey, since he wasn’t a perfect, loyal choirboy I suppose they should have passed up the best player in a generation for a “good guy”, right?

          As far as leaving – they’re looking out for their best interests. If their best interest was to stay where they were, don’t you think they would have? Guys want to win championships, simple as that. Try to tell the best player in the league that he should stay where he is and pass up his chance to achieve his goals. Sure, loyalty counts, but shouldn’t the players’ wishes count as well?

          And it really comes back down to – would you rather have success for a while, or no success at all?

          • BigDog hit it right on the head…SFish sometimes I think you are just trolling us all with some of the things you say..what do u think is realistically the ceiling of this Bucks franchise in the next 5 years?

          • So if the Bucks were #1 in the draft and LeBron was sitting there, you wouldn’t take him? Pretty sure you’d be reminding everyone every day that the Bucks had a chance at LeBron and instead took Darko Milicich or whatever the hell his name was.

          • I truly don’t know what trolling is, but I will say that I’ve been a huge Bucks fan since the days of their one championship when I was about age 8, and that everything I write on this site comes from the heart. Yes, I agree that I may be a broken record at times, that I tend to get carried away, and that I may be somewhat wild, whacky and weird — but I am totally sincere. I thought a sports site like this was one of the few places left in America where I could be a little over the top — perhaps wrongly, or to a fault — but I try to be respectful and even kind to everyone.
            Mostly, I try to generate discussion: Why isn’t Tobias playing? Doesn’t he rate 15 or 20 minutes? Is it sound to bring in 11 new guys in one season, and especially without a true point guard? Who might we consider adding at point guard… maybe Kendall Marshall? Why are we so concerned about Ish’s shooting but not Nate’s? Scott Suggs looked good to me in summer league… how about giving him a try? Would a good nickname for Giannis be the Greek Antelope? I tend to be opinionated; but know that I could very well be wrong; and am really interested in what others think.
            My more subtle comments don’t get much positive response, and neither do my edgier ones. That probably shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but I guess it does. I know I could always leave and bother other people on other blogs, but have been reluctant to do so. Again no hard feelings, even with sometimes hurt feelings, or disappointed ones. I’m still learning to accept things in life the way they are, at least to some extent. I really do wish and pray the best for everyone, and try to be largely positive.
            I do wish I got some credit for many of my intuitions about players being right on the mark, far exceeding even my own expectations, to the point where there’s a lot of luck involved. Whether the guys I’ve talked about thrive or not in the long run, it’s been uncanny how well they’ve done in the short run… Kendall with 16 assists last night, Scott averaging 17 points on about 49% shooting, including 43% from the arc, even Ish doing pretty well of late, Tobias rounding back into form after an ankle injury, Khris Middleton, Miroslav… my hunches and impressions are all on record.
            As an example, I never dreamed that Tobias would excel as he did last season for the Magic, including a 30 point/19 rebound game last April against the Bucks, the best performance ever by a 20-year-old except for LeBron (as Jeremy pointed out). You might say in response that Tobias’ masterpiece was only against the Bucks, but then where does that leave the Bucks of last season, and then again, where does that leave the Bucks of this season? To be relevant, what kinds of crazy moves are the front office plotting right now as we approach this trade deadline? Is anyone else TERRIFIED?
            Finally, I think covering our eyes, putting our fingers in our ears, and twiddling our thumbs waiting for a top lottery pick is a formula for quite possible serious disappointment (as well as likely hand fatigue). Again, one of my repetitive comments/questions: How long do we give our front office to turn things around? At least one of us is getting old, more or less cranky, and perhaps a little senile.