Victory: Bucks 104 – Pistons 101

Brandon Knight does his best Brandon Jennings impersonation. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Brandon Knight does his best Brandon Jennings impersonation. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Detroit Pistons 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
104 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -12

He slid down to the three and started on the wing for the first time … possibly ever? Maybe he did this in his rookie season, but under Scott Skiles, he was strictly a four. Against a Pistons team that tossed Josh Smith out there as a three, it wasn’t such a mismatch that the Bucks couldn’t manage. Smith was ineffective all game and Ersan had a quietly productive evening, complete with a couple of offensive rebounds that led to easy buckets.

Ekpe Udoh, PF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -15

He’s never had a “loud” 24 minutes in his career, has he? It was difficult to remember much about Ekpe after this game, as it often is.

John Henson, C Shot Chart 21 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -4

He got into some foul trouble against Greg Monroe very early on that saddled him to the bench in the first quarter. Strong play from some reserves and some small lineup matching left Henson on the bench more than his play.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 5-17 FG | 4-8 FT | 7 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 16 PTS | -1

He made some seriously poor decisions, none worse than his long jumper out of a pick and roll after Milwaukee got possession late in a game. Perhaps the decision wasn’t as bad as his execution, as Brandon Jennings was able to reach in and block his shot after catching up to him in the half court. But he could have possibly found something with the rolling John Henson. Nine assists are a great number for him, but this was a seriously unbalanced performance, as indicated by his shooting line and free throw line. Control remains an issue.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 26 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -18

He’s another guy who was victim to the success of the Milwaukee bench. Giannis wasn’t ineffective as much as Caron Butler was great. And he still hasn’t shown that he can step up and be a primary offensive option for the Bucks. I’m not sure that is going to be his style for quite some time, actually I’m sure it isn’t.

Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +20

It feels like it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the super effective shooting version of Middleton. He reached doubled figures in scoring for just the second time in January and this was only the second time since December 28 that he made at least two threes.

Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 12-21 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 30 PTS | +16

His shot chart is sick.


I’m not sure Caron Butler making 10-11 2-point shots is going to be a sustainable thing, but good for him. He was very active all game long, all over the court, as evidenced by the seven rebounds and five assists. Butler joked about being well rested after all his time on the bench after the game and was in great spirits. It’s interesting to see how different everything looks for the team when one guy is capable of being a focal point offensively.

Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 20 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +17

Against the very athletic and intimidating front court of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, ‘Slav battled admirably. He used his body very well to get physical with them and found open space near the rim on offense to either finish on passes from teammates or grab offensive rebounds. He actually got to a few loose balls way out of his area too that really seemed to impress Larry Drew.

I can’t recall him closing a close game – there’s so precious few of those with this team – this season, so it was good to see him play with such confidence as Drew stuck with him down the stretch.

Larry Drew

The last time these teams played, Detroit out-rebounded the Bucks 55-43, led by 36 from Monroe and Drummond. Drew countered with a big lineup and surely made rebounding a big focus when addressing the team. It paid off. Milwaukee out-rebounded Detroit 45-40.

Three Things We Saw

  1. There was an interesting play late in the game. Drummond was called for goaltending on a layup from Brandon Knight. Initially it looked clean, but then it looked like it hit the backboard, which most thought made it automatic goaltending. It did hit the backboard, but just barely nicked the corner/side. The refs made a judgement call that it had no chance of going in and reversed the goaltend, leading to a jump ball that the Bucks ended up winning, leading to the aforementioned poor shot from Knight.
  2. Brandon Jennings was a great scorer through three quarter. The pass first point guard was 11-19 FG for 28 points. He finished 11-23 FG with 30 points. He took very similar shots in the fourth quarter, but as we’ve seen so many times before, he just started missing them. That’s the kind of thing that can happen when a player takes a high percentage of tough shots. He looked like he really wanted this one while he was on the court; he was very adamantly complaining when things went wrong. Ultimately, more went wrong for him and Detroit than went right.
  3. This was Milwaukee’s first win in 2014. It’s been a long road, but the team seemed thrilled and relieved almost to the point of embarrassment after the win. Caron Butler especially soaked in the positive attention from reporters after the game. I don’t think these guys hate each other or that there’s serious unrest in the locker room. I think they all just hate losing and sometimes it boils over.

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  1. Watching Jennings in person again was like seeing an old girlfriend struggling through a mismatched relationship with the douchebag she left you for. You’re not necessarily HAPPY she’s unhappy, but you’re super stoked it’s no longer your problem. The first three quarters I just kept thinking, “There’s no way he keeps this up, unless he goes for 50.” And bingo, just like that, those fade-away threes and wild drives stopped connecting and their offense sputtered down the stretch.

    So much fun to be there for a winner. Caron balling on his bobblehead night was the icing on the cake, and that’s a great point about the team not necessarily disliking each other so much as disliking losing.

    Anyone know where Sanders and Mayo were?

  2. It felt so good to see a win; I can only imagine how good it must have felt for the players. I only had to watch all those losses.
    Nice to see Caron so pumped & happy. Think that’s good for his role modeling.
    And I share the surprise & pleasure at seeing Miroslav get to those loose balls. He’s got good hands and may not be fast down the court, but has quick reflexes or something… I’m happy to see Miroslav play & play well.
    We actually have 3 promising rookies. Hammond did a great job w/o a high pick.
    Why won’t Drew play Nate? Knight does not need 41 minutes, nor did he deserve them as he played.

  3. Middleton’s D on Stuckey on the final play salted the game away. The Bucks bracketed Jennings with 3 players and Middleton made a timely switch to cover an otherwise wide open shooter in the corner. Nice work and a nice win.

  4. I’m a bucks fan that forced to listen them on the radio except for a few games a year (I live in the u.p. where we get fsn Detroit and cable provider doesn’t carry league pass) I was wonderful to see them beat Jennings and the pistons. the locker room of late is proof why ranking doesn’t work. you need to win a few games here and there. the young players on the bucks need to learn how to win. if this team ends up historically bad it will hurt there future. hopefully they can end with 20-25 wins and go into the offseason with expectations of improving. Go Bucks! How bout a little win streak now!

  5. A good one to win over the old Brandon. With the Cavs on Friday, this is THE time to get the first back to back wins of the year. Imagine how these guys will feel if they win two in a row!? We’re going streaking!!

    Also, Larry out with a cold? Dude, you missed how many games because of your fun at the club? Grow up and do your job. Take some Nyquil like Drew Brees, he doesn’t let a cold stop him. For the best I suppose, since then ‘Slav got to play (and play well).

  6. Thanks for the clarification on the goaltending play. I was listening on the radio and it wasn’t clear why it was waved off. I’m glad Raduljica played well.

  7. It’s amazing how much the Bucks are dying for someone who can really score in the front line. Notice Caron goes big with 30 and that seems to somewhat settle the team down to just do their jobs.

    All season long we have beem struggling because we don’t have anyone that can create and score up front. Nice to see a little change last night.

  8. In keeping with Jane, I thought Miroslav was fantastic in the fourth… seemed like he got his hands, or at least his fingers, on about ten loose balls, and that all of them ended up with him or one of the other Bucks. What a great find he might be! I’m wondering if it might work out really well to pair him often with either of our thin men in Larry and John; that could be a good threesome at the 4-5 positions with maybe Ersan mixed in as well.

    To a lesser extent, I thought Khris was excellent in the 4th quarter, too, doing all the little things that help a team win, including an alley-oop assist to John, and the super defensive play at the end mentioned by Scott. I think Khris is a keeper.

    I’m really happy for Caron to excel on his bobblehead night, but I’m wary, too, of where this could lead. I don’t think he’s young enough to be the guy to lead the scoring attack on a consistent basis, but it seems like he’s determined to mega-shoot every game, anyway. If I remember correctly, it was just this week that one of the writers at Bucksketball said basically he was terrible on defense.
    I don’t get the impression that he wants to be a veteran leader or mentor on this team, or that he would be happy in a significant but subordinate role. In any case, he doesn’t seem to be part of our long-term plans, and I’d trade him today if possible. I’d be happy to find out I was wrong about Caron, but his success last night could pose problems as far as developing our young players.

  9. completely unrelated to the game BUT, what’s our tradable team assets for the upcoming draft? obviously we wont give up our future top 5 pick, but dont we have a slew of 2nd rounders plus some *cough* tradable talent to maybe get another first rounder this year? am I TOO over excited for this draft?