|Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -7
Larry Drew said after the game that the Bucks had to pick their poison thanks to all of the matchup problems the Pacers present. The poison they picked? David West in the post against Ersan. Time after time the Pacers powerful power forward caught on the left block and went to work on a defenseless Ilyasova. The result? 30 points on 11-16 FG, 10 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
Ilyasova would have had to do an awful lot on the offensive end to make up for his defensive struggles. He did not do a lot on the offensive end.
|Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 24 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -14
Hit some threes, caught and shot well. Remains consistent and inspiring.
|Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 27 MIN | 1-5 FG | 8-10 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2
While he’s no longer shooting free throws with near record accuracy, he drew a number of fouls and adequately defended Roy Hibbert. To be fair, Hibbert seemed to miss a large number of hooks and short shots around the hoop that didn’t really seem to have a lot to do with Zaza, but still, he was there. If a large portion of life is just showing up, Zaza did very well tonight.
|Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Drew said after the game that Wolters tweaked his ankle in the first half. He tried to give it a go in the second half, but Drew eventually leaned more heavily on Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo and Ramon Sessions for guard play. He indicated though that it was more medical related rather than him just moving away from Wolters, so if you’re on the DEVELOP NATE WOLTERS AT ALL COSTS train, don’t get too worked up just yet.
But, for the record, Wolters wasn’t particularly effective when he was playing. Paul George was often defending him, which was a tough matchup.
|Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 39 MIN | 12-23 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 30 PTS | -8
He was responsible for the lion’s share of Milwaukee’s first half offense, scoring 20 of the team’s 39 points. He sliced up George Hill and Lance Stephenson when they attempted to run him off the 3-point line and made a variety of jumpers, layups and floaters in the lane. He wasn’t able to keep up his torrid pace in the second half, but he did generally help keep Milwaukee’s offense competitive throughout most of the fourth quarter.
|Jeff Adrien, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +5
SO MANY REBOUNDS. He was a physical presence as a rebounder that the Bucks haven’t really had this season. He made the effort to grab every missed shot, even if he didn’t always come up with them, which was fun to watch. And the Pacers front court of David West and Roy Hibbert isn’t one to allow for just any player to stack up rebounds against them. He earned those boards. He even chipped in a lob to Giannis and an elbow jumper for good measure. If he can keep grabbing around 20 minutes the rest of this season, he’ll be fun to watch.
|John Henson, C Shot Chart 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-5 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -6
I don’t know how I didn’t realize this until tonight, but John Henson plays like a fat guy. He often tosses up these awkward looking hook shots that draw guffaws from the crowd watching and probably a few giggles from those unfamiliar with him, but they fall through the hoop regularly because he’s done them ten thousand times before. He uses what little body he has very well to seal off defenders when he catches the ball where he wants and begins to work with his left hand.
He’ll need more at some point if he’s going to be more than JUST a post-up scorer for a bad team, but it was fun to think about this tonight.
|Ramon Sessions, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 1-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -4
He and Knight might be kind of a fun duo. Sessions lacks the shooting ability that Knight has, but can swing back and forth between the one and two in the same way. Plus, he’s more aggressive than Wolters, so he presents defenses with more of a threat that has to be accounted for, which could open things up a bit for Knight. We’ll see how it develops. They were -2 on the night in 13 minutes together, which isn’t terrible against a team like Indiana.
Always with the foul drawing. A line up with him and Giannis might bring games to a grinding free throw related halt.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +2
He was often charged with the tough task of defending Paul George, which wasn’t something he did with particular effectiveness. But All-Stars are going to put up All-Star numbers pretty regularly, so it’s hard to sweat that. He caught a couple of lobs and almost finished an aggressive dunk at the buzzer in the third quarter. He keeps drawing fouls, moving the ball and making little plays and he’s starting to rebound again. The second half of February has been way better than the first half for him, which is fun.
|O.J. Mayo, SG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -14
Enjoys shooting threes and jump shots. Did so with some limited success on Saturday. He hit a couple of threes in the fourth quarter that made things interesting, but otherwise wasn’t much of a threat for Indiana to worry about.
The decision to swap out Adrien after his fifth foul with Ilyasova backfired. Ilyasova couldn’t bring enough on offense to make up for his physical limitations against West. But give Drew credit: Before the game he said he’d have to throw Adrien and Sessions into the mix and let them “sink or swim”. He was not afraid to do so, but I suppose there shouldn’t have been much reason to worry he would have been. He’ll definitely do some lineup experimentation.
Two Things We Saw
- A group of Pacers fans sat near the luxury boxes on the Pacers baseline and (respectfully) taunted the Bucks and their fans all night. They brought enough energy that it seemed Milwaukee’s own fan group, Sector Seven, brought it a bit more too. The crowd was already lively and awaiting both Glenn Robinson and Coolio, so it all made for a pretty solid atmosphere at the BMOBC Saturday night.
- Robinson’s ceremony was … a bit unceremonious. During a timeout, he came to center court after a short video and thanked the usual suspect – the Bucks, Senator Kohl and the fans – before taking a seat courtside. He signed autographs and the like before the game, but it all seemed a little … lacking. He had less time on the court Saturday night than the Rim Rockers. He isn’t necessarily a spotlight seeker, but you’d think something more could have been done. A Q and A? A longer highlight video? I’m not creative enough to come up with something, but something more than a couple minutes of tribute may have been cool.