|Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 10-20 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | 0
I had SO MANY GOOD THINGS to say about Ersan for about 46 1/2 minutes. Then, with the Bucks needing a key stop to keep the possibility of a win alive, he made one of the most baffling defensive rotations I’ve seen in a while, leaving Jeff Teague with a boulevard that ended immediately at the hoop. Teague promptly slammed the ball like it owed him money, and the game was all but over.
Aside from that, however, he pulled off yet another double-double after taking the previous game off because of injury and was a significant part of the Bucks’ quick start. Second Half Ersan continues to emerge.
|Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 4-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2
Didn’t have his shot, still managed to contribute in a few other ways. But because he doesn’t have any outstanding defensive ability, Middleton’s value nearly evaporates if he can’t make shots.
|Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -4
It was Zaza’s big night returning to Phillips Arena. They even had a video tribute to him during the game. He came out fast with a rebound, steal, assist, and basket in the first couple of possessions, then did a whole bunch of not much for the rest of the game. Another offender in the Teague dunk.
|Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 6-13 FG | 7-8 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | -3
It seemed to me throughout the game that Knight wanted to best Teague, the other object of Milwaukee’s pursuits over the summer. Teague may have bested him statistically (22 points, 8 assists) and emotionally after his game-sealing dunk, but one of those two players committed seven turnovers and the other committed none. It’s not that crazy to wonder which player you’d rather have at this point.
|Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -6
Wolters made another three and played decent defense on Teague, at least in the first half. You’d like to see him get multiples of the other counting stats in 20+ minutes on the floor.
|Jeff Adrien, PF Shot Chart 18 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -5
He started scoring, now he wants to keep scoring. Now if only he could develop a decent midrange game…
|John Henson, C Shot Chart 25 MIN | 5-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -1
He’s starting to find his rhythm again even coming off the bench. The Bucks have a good dilemma at the power forward position because Ilyasova is playing well also, making it hard to keep either one on the bench. If Henson were better equipped to defend against the bulkier centers in the NBA he might supplant Pachulia, but Larry Drew seems hesitant to do so.
|Ramon Sessions, PG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -4
Was well-rounded as usual, but struggled with his outside shot. Like Giannis, I wish he would get back to driving to the hoop instead of hanging out and shooting threes.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 26 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | 0
Giannis began to realize his passing destiny with four assists in his first ten minutes of play. But I’m still waiting on him to use his length to drive to the hoop. Sitting on the perimeter and shooting threes is such a waste of Giannis’ great talents.
I don’t know what Drew did differently to coax a hot start out of his team, but the Bucks looked like a real live NBA team for the first half of the game. He couldn’t do much to combat the Hawks’ run at the end of the game, however, and his decision to leave the defense-less Pachulia/Ilyasova frontcourt pairing on the court contributed to the Hawks’ ability to put the game away. Still, in a season that’s quickly becoming all about development, he’s distributing minutes to ensure that young guys get significant playing time.
Three Things We Saw
- All-World shooter Kyle Korver was held to just three points in the first half, but scored 12 more in the second to help the Hawks come back. Knight was quite effective shadowing him, whereas Sessions and Wolters seems to be the culprits that gave up the crucial open looks.
- Despite a 43-41 rebounding edge and a significant advantage in turnovers (8 vs 21 for the Hawks), the Bucks could not sustain long enough for a victory, instead watching the Hawks slowly chip away and take the lead in the fourth quarter. The ability to secure a lead and come away with a victory remains lacking.
- The classic standup (hack) line is “What is the deal with airline food?” My line is “What is the deal with O.J. Mayo?” Mayo has played all of 7 minutes in the Bucks’ last four games, and Drew elected to go with a three-guard rotation with O.J. on the outside against the Hawks. Something’s going on here.