Utter awfulness: Suns 116, Bucks 100
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -19
Ilyasova made all six of his two-point shots, some of which came in transition and on cuts to the hoop. His ankle finally appears healthy.
Unfortunately, he’s 0-for-20 on his last 20 three-pointers. Also, his pick-and-roll hedges end up cutting off his teammate as often as they do the ballhandler.
Twice the Suns forced switches on offense that left Ersan on Dragic and twice Dragic got easy layups.
Ilyasova’s horrific turnover happened when he set a screen for Antetokounmpo, let Giannis draw both defenders and rolled free to the hoop — only to dribble smack into Miles Plumlee anyway.
|Larry Sanders, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | -26
He defends well everywhere but on three-pointers, and the Suns/Channing Frye exposed that a bit. Also, two rebounds in 26 minutes is sufficiently terrible for a starting center.
Sanders’ horrific turnover was a short outlet pass to no one.
|Luke Ridnour, PG Shot Chart 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | -20
He shot a corner 20-footer off the side of the backboard, played sour defense, and contributed next to nothing in 21 minutes.
Ridnour’s two horrific turnovers were two cross-court, perimeter gems straight into the hands of Gerald Green.
|Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 36 MIN | 8-12 FG | 8-9 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 25 PTS | -6
Knight played like the point guard everyone wants him to be for one night. In the first half, he singlehandedly kept Milwaukee close as the rest of the Bucks imploded. He spent a lot of the night driving to the hoop and got rewarded with free throws for his efforts.
Knight’s two horrific turnovers were shockingly similar to Ridnour’s. Try a pass fake and a backdoor pass every now and then, fellas?
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 0 PTS | -18
His most disappointing showing of the season: no points, lots of mistakes — most of which ended with P.J. Tucker taking the ball from him.
Antetokounmpo’s horrific turnover was falling prey to a Tucker/Frye trap and then complaining his way into his first technical foul of the season.
|Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +1
Despite coming off the bench, he grabbed more rebounds than any other Buck on a night when Milwaukee equalled their opponents in that category.
Middleton’s horrific turnover occurred when he drove baseline and fired a pass beyond midcourt.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6
18 minutes, zero rebounds.
Udoh’s horrific turnover? N/A. Hallelujah.
|Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +3
Like Mayo (see below), he had a great night firing away on threes and long twos.
Aside from a nice block to end the third quarter, his defense lacked a bit of everything. Shoddy pick-and-roll D directly led to an Archie Goodwin layup and a Channing Frye three-pointer on successive first-half possessions.
Butler’s horrific turnover was a backcourt, crosscourt softy that Ish Smith sniffed out for a dunk.
|Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4
Fun fact: According to Synergy, Wolters has allowed a thrifty 0.7 points per possession as a defender, a mark good enough for 21st in the NBA among qualified defenders.
He should play more than 3 garbage minutes for a team crying, acting out and pleading for a backup point guard.
Did Nate Wolters have a turnover? No.
|Gary Neal, SG Shot Chart 18 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -20
Neal is not a point guard, not even a backup point guard. One savvy hesitation move freed him for a layup, but he has no burst when opponents overplay him and try to poke away his dribble. Plantar fasciitis has robbed him of that.
Neal’s horrific turnover was a dribble spin move that allowed him to knee the ball out of bounds.
|O.J. Mayo, SG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +11
Great shooting and a sneaky high assist total. Of all the subpar veteran defenders (Neal, Ridnour, Butler) Mayo is the one contributing the most sustainable offense to make up for the collective mess happening on the other end.
Mayo’s horrific turnover was a Eurostep-plus-another-step.
Everything’s out of whack. He has two backup point guards — Ridnour and Wolters — and he’s starting one of them and DNP-CD-ing the other one.
Five Things We Saw
Nasty confrontation between Larry Sanders, Gary Neal in Bucks locker room. Neal as he left: “I earn my money. You should try it sometime.”
— Robert Baum (@Thebaumerphx) January 5, 2014
- Easy game summary: Points off turnovers: Phoenix 38, Milwaukee 7. Gerald Green had a +/- rating of +36 mostly because he stole five thoroughly telegraphed passes. He turned two into windmill dunks.
- The Bucks lose a lot of games because their offseason veteran acquisitions — Ridnour, Mayo, Butler, Neal — shoot too many questionable jump shots without probing for a better choice. It’s a shame that the Bucks wasted a night where Mayo and Butler changed things up and got fiery hot on those shots.
I’m outside Bucks locker room and Larry Drew sounded like he was laying into them. Couldn’t make out what was said but it was loud & angry
— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) January 5, 2014
- Sloppy three-point defense.
Exhibit A: Caron Butler guarding noted sniper Frye with around four minutes left in the game:
Exhibit B: Larry Sanders “guarding” Frye on the next possession, 31 seconds later.
Frye made both shots.