Victory: Bucks 104 – Pistons 101
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.