Bucks lose, Mayo ejected: Pelicans 112, Bucks 104

Mayo gets his exit pointed out to him. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Mayo gets his exit pointed out to him. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Milwaukee Bucks 104 Recap | Box Score 112 New Orleans Pelicans
Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 10-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -6

The Bucks did not make a three-pointer in seven tries in the first half, but Middleton came out firing in the second half, scoring 15 points on 6/8 shooting (3/4 3FG). A nice offensive showing, but his 25 overall points were matched down to the point (on fewer shot attempts) by Tyreke Evans.

Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -11

Pachulia has reached the stage in his career where if he has the ball in the restricted area and there’s a defender between him and the rim, he needs to kick the ball back out. His shots from there are simply too easy to defend. On the other hand, he’s always a good passer and his defense was better in this game than it had been in a while.

John Henson, C Shot Chart 23 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -3

Foul trouble limited Henson in the first half, but after the intermission, the Bucks fed Henson in the low post. It started badly with couple of ugly misses, but soon after Henson got into a terrific rhythm.

Henson’s success seems to vary proportionately with how close to the hoop he is when he gets the ball. If he’s six feet away, he maneuvers and scores. If he’s ten feet away, he makes a perfectly legitimate post move and misses the shot. If he’s 17 feet away, he gets antsy to get rid of the ball and throws a shaky pass that has a 25% chance of getting picked off.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 41 MIN | 5-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -6

He missed a lot of shots. Apart from that, I like that when he double-teamed the post on one occasion tonight, he actually went all the way to the ball and got a hand on it instead of getting beaten on a pass that got behind him.

Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2

Wolters keeps losing minutes to Ramon Sessions without really ever doing anything wrong. I suppose that’s a good problem to have. Also: he led the Bucks’ starters in +/- rating again. That happens often.

Jeff Adrien, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 10-11 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +1

A career-high 20 points! Another double double! His best defensive performance as a Buck! How is this happening? I mean, I thought he’d be a nice fit and that he’d have plenty of motivation given his pending free agency, but he set a career-high in points in consecutive games.

Miroslav Raduljica, C Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +5

His performance begs for the chicken-and-egg question: Was Miroslav awful because he hasn’t played in so long, or has Miroslav not played in so long because he’s awful? I tend to lean toward the former, but regardless, Raduljica ended up on an Anthony Davis posterization of the worst possible variety. Davis nearly rode him bareback after the dunk.

Ramon Sessions, PG Shot Chart 28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-7 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -6

The Bucks were at their best in this game in the second quarter when Adrien became a stone wall on defense, and he translated that into outlet passes to Sessions. The Bucks held an 18-8 edge on the Pelicans in fast break points in large part because Sessions looks to push the ball.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -13

Charles F. Gardner tweeted that Larry Drew said Giannis had been taking too may threes lately. This game won’t help his case any. For the second straight game, though, Giannis dropped off a nice feed while slicing through the lane off the dribble. I’m certain that’s what Drew hopes to see more of.

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

He tried to fight through a Greg Stiemsma pick and Stiemsma caught his arm, then moved that arm up and behind Mayo’s back. O.J. took offense and snapped back with a full-force blow to the neck of Stiemsma. After a video review, Mayo got tossed. I wouldn’t be shocked if he missed a game or two more.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks gave the wrong players space. All game long, they played up close on Tyreke Evans (25 points, 9/13 FG) as if he were a deadly shooter. (Bonjour, Monsieur Middleton. Je ne comprends pas.)            Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 12.13.05 AM
  2. All the while, the Bucks left actual competent NBA shooters open for three-point tries. Anthony Morrow scored 12 fourth quarter points on jumpers (including a four-point play).
  3. In the last 10 or so games, the Bucks still have more blowout wins than they do blowout losses. They are a competitive NBA team, for better or worse, with Adrien and Sessions added to a hard-working group of young players. Their offense is way ahead of where it was four months ago.
  4. Anthony Davis was the best player in this game and it wasn’t close. He’s so good.

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  1. Whoa… I love the passion that Adrien is expressing on the court. After a made basket with whistle for and 1,he flex the bicep for the viewers-nice. Don’t get much of this as a BUCKS fan,….loving it!!!

    The BIG ? – can we sign him during off-season. Should we sign him , or is this just a fluke? I know that this style of play can help energize the team….UGH-well let’s just enjoy the show while he is here.


  2. I can’t shake this feeling that KL, and the staff at Bucksketball in general, are being fairly hard on Khris and underappreciating his play. Yes, yes, you say a lot of the right things about him being a fine player and such, but it all seems so unenthusiastic, and even at times begrudging.
    Remembering that Khris is only in his second season, that he played sparingly last year for the Pistons, that he’s only 22, that he’s playing on a dysfunctional and dismal team with the Bucks… I’d think there’d be a lot more excitement for him — especially when he puts up 25 points on only 17 shots, and adds 4 assists.
    I think it was Jeremy who was talking about consistency just a day or two ago; who on the Bucks has been more consistently solid and at times outstanding than Khris? As for his defense last night, how did it compare to the rest of the players on the Bucks… Ramon Sessions, for example, who graded out as an “A” player. In general, is Khris a slacker on defense, lazy, incompetent, clueless… for this stage of his career?
    Maybe I’m wrong about this. The Bucksketball guys might be able to counter with statistical breakdowns and their own approving quotes about Khris from articles past — but I’m not feeling genuine appreciation and excitement for a guy exceeding all expectations under difficult circumstances with apparently an excellent attitude. We might have something special in Khris, and I’d hate to lose him due to respectful indifference or even faint praise.

    • If I graded Khris on offense alone, it would have been an A. Go back and watch him on defense. It was maddening. He played Tyreke Evans exactly the wrong way — playing up too close and letting him drive by — and Evans netted an even more efficient 25 points than Khris did.