Giannis came to play: Thunder 101-Bucks 85

Giannis Antetokounmpo got going early with pair of dunks (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo got going early with pair of dunks
(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 85 FinalRecap | Box Score 101 Oklahoma City Thunder
Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 3-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -12

Middleton started the game in place of Ridnour. Larry Drew wanted to counter the size of the number one rebounding team in the NBA with a super-lengthy, tall starting lineup of his own. He also wanted to a defender against Durant.

I don’t want to put down Middleton because he gives a lot of good effort, but I need to start speaking out against the idea that he’s a good defender. He doesn’t work around screens well. Even when there isn’t a screen, he’s not particularly great at staying in front of a guy who wants to get to the basket. But he puts forth good effort and can put a hand out when a guy is taking a jumper.

Larry Sanders, C Shot Chart 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Sanders was ejected after elbowing Steven Adams in the face. I’ve been there before – when I can either let something slide, but instead I decide to make the malicious decision that hurts myself and others. I empathize with Sanders a lot. I used to have a lot of anger problems. In some ways, I still do, but I’ve more or less have my anger issues under control. I put years of work into doing that and I had help. I also don’t have the weight of a franchise and the expectations of a fanbase on my shoulders. It’s another incident in a very long season for Sanders. There will be more.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -18

Without Ridnour in the starting lineup, Knight wasn’t able to get the rest of the offense going to start the game. This isn’t particularly surprising to most people. But he looked good in the second half. When the Thunder went small, Knight was able to take advantage and slice through the defense for some lay-ups.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -10

This is about six points and some polish away from what the ideal Antetokounmpo performance looks like. He made some great cuts and lovely drives (blew past Ibaka at one point). He passed up good shots to set up great shots for his team. Plus, he had fire. Durant is Antetokounmpo’s favorite player and today he showed that he wanted to belong and could belong in the same league as Durant.

Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -8

I just like the way that Raduljica dives to the basket after setting a screen. He’s not fast, but there’s so much weight behind him that no one bothers to get in his way. The Thunder left the intimidating big man open for a few easy buckets tonight.

Larry Drew

All I really want from Drew is for him to give Antetokounmpo 30+ minutes a game. He got 38 tonight, so I’m happy.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks started the game missing their first ten shots. Including their scoreless stretch the end their game against the Chicago Bulls, the Bucks had a streak where they went 0-21.
  2. Antetokounmpo was guarding Durant at one point. He got held up by a screen above the three point line. Durant blew past and Antetokounmpo was about four steps behind him. Easy shot for Durant, right? NOPE. Giannis flies in from behind and swats him into the stratosphere.

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  1. Love- Giannis. He showed exactly why Bucks fans have a good reason to be excited about his potential. Two big blocks on Durant, rebounded the basketball, and had some nice scoring opportunities. He needs to settle himself down a bit though: too often he’s leaping over people and landing hard on the floor. Or he’s going to have a busted tailbone by the end of the season.

    His three point shot has gone south as well. He needs to drain them to keep the defense honest, and make his slashing opportunities even easier.

    Hate- Sanders. As Ian said, I understand anger. I was quick to anger when I was growing up, and had a hard time controlling it. What eventually allowed me to get it under control was the realization of how it affects others. Sanders now needs to realize how it affects others, as well as himself.

    He had the effort coming back, but it seems to be all but gone, and his attitude keeps getting worse. And all it does is give Neal’s comment more merit. C’mon, Sanders: you have Milwaukee, and every Bucks fan’s support. Get it together and show them why we kept our faith in you.

    • Nicely said, Kevin.
      Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting some help, Larry. I’m hoping the Bucks will be firm with Larry, but also reach out to him with whatever he needs. The other guys on the Bucks are looking to see if he’s treated not only as an investment, but as an individual. For everyone concerned with and concerned about the Bucks and their players, let’s take care of this right away. God bless you, Larry, but you’ve got to get it together.

  2. Scott Williams.

    Here’s your chance to make your mark as an Asst. Coach.

    Grab Sanders. Attach yourself to his hip. Get him on track.


  3. Let’s all face facts here. Sanders is obviously a complete emotional wreck. He cannot be trusted on the court or off the court and this whole situation is just going to get worse. The audacity of Sanders to consider himself a leader or face of the franchise is mind boggling. Please just keep Giannis away from this cancer and try to get rid of Sanders at the first opportunity.

  4. My biggest concern… poisoning of the team,poison in locker room,poisonous relationships between players and Coach.
    If we are trying to rebuild…having solid foundation is number 1 !!! As things stand now,our future is in jeopardy with Sanders and his temper issues. In order for players to respect and follow coaching,they first much respect the COACH! If coach can’t lasso in Sanders and his temper,how can other players be expected to respect Coach Drew?

    Mr. Sanders, I love the passion you have for the game. I really enjoy the many BLOCKS and DUNKS you have given ! Please consider how much success is in the future of BUCKS with you as our Center. Do whatever is necessary to HARNESS your “internal fire” , and use it as a positive impact.We NEED YA LARRY,and would be very sad to LOSE you. Sincerely,we NEED YOU LARRY!!!!

  5. Larry Sanders Really Needs to Keep Himself More Under Control…I Love the Blocktopus, but Not His Temper! You Got to Learn to Keep Things More Under Control…It Seems like You Have a Target on Your Back That Everyone Sees and Will Do Anything to Push All Your Buttons to Get You to Lose Your Temper! Please Try to Ignore That and Just Concentrate on Your Game! Your Team Needs You and so Do Us Fans…You’ve Lost Enough PT When You were on the Injury List for Getting Into a Fight at a Bar! Please Seek for Anger Management or Something Larry…Hate to Lose Our Blocktopus …GO BUCKS!!!

  6. Anger issues or not, Larry Sanders is getting paid 10 million fucking dollars a year… to get kicked out half of the games and get his ass whooped at a bar? He’s a joke, he’s a disease, get rid of him. Get a top 15 pick for him. He’s a fucking joke and a bum. So much talent so little brains.

    • “He’s a joke, he’s a disease, get rid of him. Get a top 15 pick for him. He’s a fucking joke and a bum.”

      He’s a joke, disease, and a bum, but HEY, he must be worth a top 15 pick!