Swept away: Bucks 108 – Lakers 105
|Khris Middleton, PF Shot Chart 31 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -6
I typically don’t notice the passing of Khris Middleton, but he definitely seemed engaged with the whereabouts of his teammates, specifically John Henson, on Thursday. For most of the game at least. He had a sweet lob while driving down the middle of the paint that Henson stretched far to get and finish. Then he found Henson on a couple of other occasions, once off the dribble and once while standing still that should have resulted in baskets. Unfortunately, Middleton was Milwaukee’s inbounder late and first, couldn’t find a teammate, forcing a timeout with under a minute to play, then almost was intercepted with the Bucks up two and just seconds remaining.
|Jeff Adrien, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +2
Adrien had some of his typical rebounding zest, but was completely manhandled by the taller, more skilled Jordan Hill. Hill went over the top of Adrien repeatedly, both to grab rebounds and finish around the hoop. Adrien has some length, but Hill felt like he had a mismatch and an opportunity whenever a shot went up for a board. He finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds (nine offensive).
|Zaza Pachulia, C Shot Chart 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +7
Sometimes I bet chills run up the spine of Hakeem Olajuwon and he has no idea why. Well, if he watched the Bucks, he’d know it was just Zaza Pachulia trying another post move and failing miserably. He’s fine out of the high post, but when he’s catching and making moves, GUH. Short jumpers and putbacks. Know your strengths and play to them, Zaza.
|Ramon Sessions, PG Shot Chart 42 MIN | 5-10 FG | 11-14 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +6
Larry Drew said he had both Ramon Sessions and Brandon Knight running more pick and rolls than the team has run all season and the eye test backed that up. It seemed like every time down the court either Knight or Sessions was reading the defense after getting a ball screen. Sessions thrived in this sort of atmosphere, especially against a defensive team as soft as the Lakers. His skill for getting to the line is beyond impressive. Also, he’s now hit 12-27 on threes since joining the Bucks.
|Brandon Knight, PG Shot Chart 46 MIN | 12-21 FG | 4-6 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 30 PTS | -2
If Knight could just pick up a few things from Sessions about how to read a defense and have a little more patience rather than continuously barrel into the lane or step back for jumpers after he gets a screen, he could really be some kind of point guard. His tools are so sound and he’s been very good as a finisher. He just doesn’t do the little point guard things that you see guys like Sessions and Kendall Marshall do.
|Ekpe Udoh, PF Shot Chart 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1
Did Ekpe stuff. Made a jumper too.
|John Henson, C Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 4-7 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2
Henson got a little feisty on the offensive glass a few times and converted his floppy hook to earn an and-1 off an offensive board at one point. It would have been nice to see more of him on a night where Adrien was so over-matched defensively.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 10 PTS | +11
He sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter, which ended his night, but he played well before that. One of the fun developments over the course of this season has been watching Giannis react to rebounds. Early in the season he looked for guards immediately and did nothing without them. He’s gradually advanced to where he is now: Grab a board and go. That’s dope.
The increase in pick and rolls made for a much more enjoyable Bucks team. It only took 70 games or wherever we’re at to make that move. Oh well. The lack of John Henson was strange, given how the game was playing out. I’m sure people will be unhappy about this and those people have a justifiable cause here.
Three Things We Saw
- I mentioned Marshall before and boy was he a treat for me to watch. I love point guards that move the ball well and he has no hesitations about getting the ball out of his own hands. He loves long passes to guys open further down the court. Why bother dribbling when you can move it quicker? He’ll immediately fire pocket passes in pick and roll scenarios to bigs like Chris Kaman who are at least competent from mid range. He was a pleasure to watch and it’s clear the Lakers did a great job to pull him out of the D-League. Milwaukee didn’t have a roster spot when he was available, but they would have been wise to dump the Butler, Ridnour, Neal Trio (worst band ever) much sooner if it meant getting back Sessions and possibly finding room for Marshall. Sessions and Marshall are my kind of point guards.
If Knight could add some of Marshall’s game, but be able to change pace and act as a scorer when need be too, he would be absolutely dynamite.
- The Bucks are now 1.5 games ahead of the Sixers for the top odds in the lottery. See KL’s post from earlier for how each team’s schedule stacks up the rest of the way.
- Milwaukee swept the season series with Los Angeles. BIG NIGHT, right?! Not so much. Drew was asked about whether or not the sweep was something the team could take pride in. He thought on it for a moment and then said it was not something to take pride in. I thought that was appropriate.