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.