Super Splash Bro-verwhelmed: Warriors 115 – Bucks 110

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Reunions! (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks 110 Recap | Box Score 115 Golden State Warriors
Ersan Ilyasova, PF Shot Chart 19 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -2

Just never really got it going until near the end of the game, but due to the necessity of using Henson as a center when Pachulia goes out he got plenty of playing time. It doesn’t look like Second Half Ersan is going to emerge this year.

Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 4-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -6

Seems to be going through a shooting slump as of late, but that’s definitely more tolerable if he can contribute some assists and a steal or two.

Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +1

Not getting wrecked on defense and providing some passing in the high post is about all you can hope for from Zaza at this point in his career.

Nate Wolters, PG Shot Chart 10 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9

Fractured his left hand early in the game, leading to MUCH SADNESS.

Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 38 MIN | 9-16 FG | 8-12 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | +1

On two occasions in the first half, he used his quickness to drive and kick out to open three-point shooters for some neat assists. That’s something that I don’t think he would have seen and executed at the beginning of the year, which bodes well for his development. He continues to do the heavy lifting on offense, which may not be ideal but is a necessity given the performance of the rest of the team.

Jeff Adrien, PF Shot Chart 23 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +1

I think every team could use a guy who just battles down low, gets rebounds, and cleans up near the basket. Adrien did that very well even after taking three stitches above his eye early in the game. Some of his work against Andrew Bogut was especially impressive given Bogut’s size and defensive prowess.

John Henson, C Shot Chart 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -4

I was worried that Henson would struggle against the Warriors’ big front line as he primarily served as Pachulia’s backup. But he mostly held his own on both ends and found a few ways to contribute. It still amazes me how hard he’ll work to get a lefty hook when he could have a far easier right handed shot. Diversifying his offensive repertoire is one of the several things he’ll need work on over the summer to continue improving.

Ramon Sessions, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | -3

Brandon Knight seems to be rubbing off on him more than he’s rubbing off on Knight. That’s not really the way I’d hoped this would work.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 3-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -4

He was in attack mode early, which was a welcome change from previous games. At this point in his development, Giannis can probably do the greatest amount of damage in transition and I’d be pretty content if he just did a bunch of that for the rest of the year.

Larry Drew

In recent weeks, he’s brought the Bucks from miserable to competitive against good teams. There are a lot of things to question about his coaching, but it should also be noted that he has wrung some improvement out of the team as well. We’ll get some more insight into his strategy as he adapts his lineups and rotations to deal with the gap left by Wolters’ injury.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks came out flat at the beginning of both halves only to catch up in the beginning of the following quarter. I’m not sure if they should start serving coffee in the locker room or provide smelling salts or what have you, but if the team could at least keep pace during those early stretches they wouldn’t have to expend a ton of energy to make up the difference.
  2. Were it not for the potent combination of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (60 points combined), the Bucks would have had a real chance to win this game. They led in points in the paint (58 to 52), and held the Warriors to under 30% from three but gave up several backbreaking shots in the final minutes that couldn’t be overcome.
  3. For the last several games, Henson has served as the primary backup at center for Pachulia. That explains why he hasn’t been inserted into the starting lineup or played significant minutes as a power forward. It’s a difficult position for Henson, because at this point in his career he doesn’t really have the strength or bulk to deal with most opposing centers and he also provides little spacing when he plays power forward next to another player who can’t shoot. Until he develops one or the other (or Raduljica is reintroduced into the center rotation), it’s difficult to play him starters’ minutes while relying on him to fill in when Pachulia sits.
  4. Hanging around against good teams is probably the best thing the Bucks can hope for given the course of the season. Even if they don’t pull out those wins, it’s a significant improvement over some of the team’s earlier efforts.

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  1. The Bucks sure are getting better.

    -Knight, Giannis, Sessions, Wolters,Henson, Middleton etc can fly up and down the court with anybody. Nice challenge against a very good Warriors team (not to mention the Blazers).

    -We may be seeing Knight turning into a budding star before our eyes. Great explosiveness, speed, strong enough to finish at the rim (reminds a bit of Ellis), 3s are improving. Also love his team attitude. Imagine how tough he woud be if we had a front court player who could score?

    Tank control:

    -Drew is getting desperate to control the tank because the team is getting so much better.

    – Solution: Final 6-8 minutes of every game always feature Za Za and Ersan. That’s his last remaining tank control. I never thought in a million years this season we would be “treated” to 30 minutes of Za Za on a nightly basis.

    Tank on.

  2. I appreciate Mitch helping to explain the situation with John Henson.
    What I’m not getting is why no one at Bucksketball (except Ian) and none of the fans on this site seem to care that he has been jerked around by the Bucks all season, often played out of position and generally given irregular minutes. This really blows my mind.
    If this lack of concern about John as a player and a person is indicative of Bucks’ fans as a whole, I would advise him to get out of town as fast as he can, to find a team with fans who might actually treat him with some respect and some kindness. I’m embarrassed as a Bucks fan to see John treated with such indifference. I’m wondering if we deserve a good team, or even to have an NBA team at all.

  3. “Brandon Knight seems to be rubbing off on him more than he’s rubbing off on Knight. That’s not really the way I’d hoped this would work.”

    Sigh. Cheap shot not worthy of the site. Not to mention totally wrong.

    Knight’s PER is in the top half of the league’s point guards and would rank 7th among SGs.

    I would hope Knight would rub off on any other Buck player, as he’s consistently been Milawukee’s best player all season.

    • I meant that in terms of playing style more than anything else. I had hoped that bringing in Sessions would help Knight develop his distributing skills and become a more complete point guard. Instead, it seems like Sessions has developed a similar mentality to Knight in that he spends a lot of his time looking to score and his assist totals have fallen off. It wasn’t a knock on the skills or value of either.

      And it’s not like I’m insulting Brandon Knight. I gave him one of the best grades on the team, and I like him as a player. But he also has some room to improve and I’d like to see him do that.