O.J. Mayo (24 points) and the Bucks combined to make half of their three-point attempts (12-for-24) and the Bucks shot their way to a 120-107 win over the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
Giannis excited to win two straight games for first time in Bucks career. He doesn’t care that it’s pre-season.
— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) October 21, 2014
It’s a winning streak of practice games!
The game did maintain a decent air of intensity for a preseason match. The Bucks evened their record to 3-3 in a game where the clear-cut best player, Carmelo Anthony (24 points) led both teams in minutes with 31. Milwaukee limited Anthony to 7 makes on 22 attempts, and much of the Bucks’ best defense on Melo came with Antetokounmpo guarding him — even though it did get Giannis in some early foul trouble.
The Bucks, realizing that the Knicks lack a serious rim protector with Amar’e Stoudemire playing center, took to attacking the rim early and often. Together Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combined to shoot 20 free throw attempts.
When Jabari gets a defensive rebound and isn’t buried under the basket when he gets it, he is pushing it. There’s no hesitation at all and that’s a beautiful thing.
Nate Wolters got some extended run late when Antetokounmpo got into foul trouble. For the game, Wolters made all 5 of his shots, including a three-pointer and a bunch of pretty floaters in the lane.
Mayo did more than shoot in this game. He isn’t the world’s greatest defender, but he uses his hands and feet to be a reasonable pest. Also, his 24 points also came without forcing any unnecessary attempts. Mayo is passing the ball well and often (3 assists), almost to a fault. There were a couple of times when he forced difficult passes where he could have easily put up a shot.
John Henson (11 points, 10 rebounds) got the start at center with Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia missing the game due to illness/injury. Henson shooting free throws is still a problem. He still has the form of a 40% shooter. On the other hand, Henson and and former UNC teammate Kendall Marshall have excellent pick-and-roll chemistry.
The Bucks’ bench shooters continued to stroke the three-point shot. They will be a fine luxury in the regular season if Mayo (50%), Jared Dudley (66.7%) and Jerryd Bayless (37.5%) continue to shoot anywhere near as well as they are shooting at the moment.
Michael Eric’s Bucks’ career probably ends in a couple of days, but he did a fine job as the roll man in the pick-and-roll. He finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, an assist and a steal.