No good: Nuggets 101 – Bucks 90

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Denver Nuggets 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 35 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -11

He was able to pad his stats a bit as the game wound down. This was really an eight point, nine or 10 rebound game masquerading as something much better. In a season where he’s had trouble finding him for open looks, playing without the team’s best creator hardly did anything to help that effort. He’s hardly the guy you expect to step up when someone like Knight is out.

Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 28 MIN | 2-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -12

The Bucks needed someone to be attacking and creating on offense. Middleton is not yet that guy.

Caron Butler, SF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -9

Shot jumpers fairly well again. 12 of his 17 shots were outside of the paint. He provided some offense, which the team badly needed, but did little to help anyone else get their own offense. Milwaukee may as well had just let him put up 25 shots to see if he could shoot them into a reasonable chance of winning.

Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 24 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -12

He aggravated Timofey Mozgov into fouling out and the two exchanged words as Mozgov was removed from the game. This was all he did well. Mozgov had 14 points and nine rebounds, so he was too bothered to be productive either.

Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -15

He certainly can’t do it alone. Wolters looked okay, but he looks a lot better when he’s got more talented players out there with him. He isn’t a point guard that props everyone else up and brings them to another level. That’d be a lot of expect out of a rookie second round pick. Maybe he can be a guy like that some day. Tonight, he did some attacking and appeared to try and produce a bit more offense than usual for a team badly in need of some.

Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1

Played two minutes, handed out two fouls, was never heard from again.

John Henson, C Shot Chart 25 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 12 PTS | 0

Eight shots with no Brandon Knight? That was a bit disappointing. There were some possessions where he was the focal point, but not many. He didn’t really seem to catch too many double teams, so I was surprised the Bucks weren’t pounding it into him as often as possible. He was unable to provide much resistance against either Mozgov or Kenneth Faried.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 32 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +4

Another game in which he did a little bit of everything. He had a couple steal and dunk combinations that thrilled and at least one block shot that caused both oooos and ahhhhs. He remains the biggest reason to watch the team. Giannis even got a shot at backup point guard thanks to the trade earlier in the day and no Brandon Knight. He didn’t do too much with it and split the duty with OJ Mayo, but it was a fun thing to see.

O.J. Mayo, SG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +1

Six of his eight shots were jumpers. His pear shapedness and long absence will probably keep him largely on the perimeter for a while, even more than he has been all season. Larry Drew said nice things about his defense after the game and he did genuinely seem to battle with Wilson Chandler in the post on a handful of occasions. But, also, this.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets had a possession in which they caused confusion for the Bucks by getting down the court fast, which had Caron Butler and Ersan Ilyasova scrambling to guard Mozgov and another big who I can’t recall. But Butler was stuck on Mozgov and the Nuggets recognized it and passed it to him while he bullied Butler inside. The Bucks came with a hard double as the pass was in the air. Mozgov tip passed it to Fournier for a corner three. He missed the three, but Faried came in uncontested for an offensive rebound dunk. It was beautiful. It was the sort of play the Bucks never make this season.
  2. Milwaukee was a bit depleted, but really, they just had nothing for Faried and Ramon Sessions standing on Gary Neal’s shoulders wouldn’t have helped against him. He was too energetic and physical. Once Ersan attempted to guard him on the perimeter and Faried attacked hard into the paint. He lost Ers with a crossover and finished with the easiest layup I’ve seen a power forward get out of a dribble drive this season.

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  1. I must have been watching a different Ersan because I think a D would be generous. He was likely the Bucks worst defensive player, missed easy close-in shots, put the ball on the floor a few times with expected results……I see people blame Brandon Knight for Ersan’s slump, you say Ersan missed Brandon last night, I say let’s put the blame on Ersan…he has been horrible

    • Agree, Ersan has been horrible this year. If they would have traded him yesterday they would have received really bad value in return. If he follows his usual trend he will play better down the stretch and maybe have better trade value at draft time.

    • I think people blame Knight because he isn’t a great passer, but at least he creates some sort of offense, which kind of opens things up a bit for Ersan. Ers TRIED to do so much yesterday, which I owed a bit to Knight being out. That’s why I was a bit less harsh on him than you.

      But I see where you are coming from.

  2. Yikes! 31 shots for Ers and Caron!?! That’s a distressing and depressing number going forward.
    Just a theory: All the shooting from those two tends to suck the life out of the team. As a result, the guys who refuse to be selfish suffer.
    Khris and John took just 17 shots combined compared to the 31 for Ers/Caron; also, they played 53 minutes total compared to 66.
    To me, that’s upside-down for the future of the Bucks, besides being a major downer if it continues the rest of the season. I’m interested to read thoughts from others.

    • I think Khris’ ankle is giving him trouble, his shot seemed off last night, didn’t seem as quick getting it off as usual.