Bucks clinch tie for worst record; Giannis runs the (backup) point: Wizards 104 — Bucks 91
|Jeff Adrien, PF 31 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-8 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 11 PTS | -5
This game was something of a mixed bag for Adrien. He made some shots, got himself to the free throw line and grabbed enough rebounds to snag a double-double. But on a night when the Bucks desperately needed a third offensive playmaker (in the absence of Brandon Knight), Adrien failed trying to do a bit more than he usually does. Five turnovers, 0 assists and some big chunks of time eaten off the shot clock were the result.
|Khris Middleton, PF 42 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -14
Great shooting from three on a night where not many players — on either team — were doing so. But it was his job to guard Bradley Beal, who ended up the game’s high scorer with 26 points. In the third quarter, the two players staged an old-school “anything you can do, I can do better” type of shootout. Middleton made it a close contest, but eventually lost the battle to Beal.
On defending John Wall and Bradley Beal, Larry Drew said, “I thought for the most part we did OK with them. I thought, um, well, let me take that back. Beal got it GOING.”
|Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -8
A perfectly Zaza type of game, with the usual handful of assists — including a few gems. The shorthanded Bucks played the Wizards to a draw in the paint too. But Pachulia had four of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers. After one of them, the Bucks called timeout and he and Adrien had the kind of constructive, loud prolonged discussion (the kind of discussion that teammates who get along have from time to time) on how the play should have been run.
|Ramon Sessions, PG 42 MIN | 6-16 FG | 8-10 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -7
A solid outing for Sessions. He scored 20 points on 16 shots while finding his teammates in nice spots with some of his passes. From time to time, he’ll make like Allen Iverson and draw so much attention on a drive to the hoop that his missed layup becomes a de facto assist for a rebounding teammate.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 43 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -12
Giannis was both the Bucks’ starting shooting guard and backup point guard, hence the 43 minutes. Trevor Ariza had him a bit rattled in the game’s opening minutes, but he settled in after that. He’s getting better at chasing opponents off the three-point line. He was also robbed of a clever chasedown block that was wrongly ruled a goaltend.
On offense, he did his best work when settling in for pullups — hitting a pair of shots and faking another before passing to Adrien for an open layup.
Things to improve: free throws, making things happen off the dribble as a point guard, limiting turnovers. But all in all, a nice effort given the circumstances. See below for more on his surprise point guard duty.
|Chris Wright, SF 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -6
He had one putback dunk in the first half and another strong drive later on that looked dunkable but ended in a missed layup. He tried to force the issue a little bit on offense in the second half and it coincided with a stretch where the Wizards pulled away.
|Miroslav Raduljica, C 17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -10
Lots of good stuff from Raduljica. I joked about him goofing off in warmups, but he came in and made a real impact. He immediately scored on a lefty layup, and then on a hook shot. He cleaned up on the defensive glass and did a fair bit of very physical bumping with Marcin Gortat. On one play, he got stuck guarding Trevor Ariza driving to the hoop after a pick-and-roll switch. He moved his feet, cut off Ariza at the baseline and forced him into a bad pass. Other than two ugly jumpers, a really solid performance from Raduljica.
|John Henson, C 24 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -3
Great footwork, great shotmaking, but he left something to be desired in the stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters when the Wizards were making their run. Henson lost his man on defense, threw a backdoor pass to Adrien when Adrien wasn’t cutting, and turned over a bobbled defensive rebound when he snapped it through his legs like Frank Winters.
Drew gets a good grade by default because he used his 8 guys in what was essentially the only rotation of bodies that was available to him. When Giannis was running point, it may have served him a bit better to set screens on the ball for Giannis instead of away from it for the shooters, but it’s hard to implement that stuff with no advance notice.
Five Things We Saw
- Right before tipoff, Brandon Knight was scratched from the lineup with a hip bruise sustained in a fall Friday against Cleveland. That left Ramon Sessions and Giannis Antetokounmpo as the team’s only legitimate guards. Giannis got caught a little bit <off guard> by the news.
“I was like shocked a little bit. I was like, ‘Who is out?’ After they told me it was Brandon, I said, ‘Oh my God. Now I have to be the point (guard). I was a little bit nervous at the beginning but as the game was going on, I felt comfortable.”
- The Bucks had 20 turnovers and that was what Drew regretted most. He was pleased with his team’s effort, save for the turnovers. “We tried to make plays that weren’t there and they resulted in turnovers.”
- Ramon Sessions, point guard, on Giannis Antetokounmpo playing point, “It’s funny, because in practice lately he’s been playing at the point with the second unit. I think it was comfortable for him in his first game actually out there doing that, but he did well. He’s learning and you can’t ask much more from a 19 year old.”
- Giannis said that he and his brother have been invited to the training camp for the Greek national team that will play in the World Championships. He also said it starts July 28 and will last 45 days. “It’s a pride to play for your country. To go out there and represent your country in the World Cup; it’s an honor for us. Two from my own family? Two brothers going out there and playing against other people? It’s nice.” He also said that he’ll work out with his brother in Milwaukee and be busy with Summer League.
- The Bucks have clinched at least a tie for the worst record. Rejoice, for you have suffered and earned a moment of solace.