All Good Things Come To An End: Raptors 124 – Bucks 83

Milwaukee Bucks 83 Final
Recap | Box Score
124 Toronto Raptors
Khris Middleton, PF 15 MIN | 1-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -28

Middleton did a solid job helping to hold DeMar DeRozan to a season-low seven points (1-8 FG), but he missed seven shots in 15 minutes, having arguably the worst offensive night in a game that featured A LOT of poor shooting performances. After shooting over 40% from downtown last season, Middleton sits at 29 percent through 13 games.

Jabari Parker, SF 27 MIN | 5-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -31

Coming off of a career-best 23 points against the Nets, Parker was one of few – very few – bright spots. He co-led the Bucks in minutes and was consistently aggressive on offense, repeatedly getting into the paint and finishing or drawing a foul. Defensively, he was a bit hesitant in pick-and-roll situations. On one third quarter possession, in particular, he didn’t help up on a Greivis Vasquez drive, and Vasquez scored easily on a runner. But that awareness will come. A 5-of-12 shooting performance certainly leaves something to be desired, but Parker’s night was among the least-bad, and he showed an ability to use his body to clear space along the baseline on multiple occasions.

Larry Sanders, C 21 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -28

Sanders wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 12 rebounds, but a lot of his damage came against Zaza Pachulia. Larry finished all three of his attempts around the basket, which is a bonus, but he’s now block-less in his last three games and hasn’t seen more than 25 minutes in the month of November.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -18

Starting in place of Giannis, Bayless played the first six minutes of the game and did not see the floor in the second half with the game well out of hand. After a really solid night against the Nets, he followed up with a dud, making almost no impact on either end of the floor. His one turnover, a careless, cross-court pass, led to a fast break opportunity in the midst of a Toronto run that broke the game open.

Brandon Knight, PG 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -25

Knight was never able to truly assert himself, but he was one of only three Bucks to make at least half of his shots. Interestingly, Jason Kidd started Knight out on Terrence Ross, while Bayless defended Kyle Lowry. For the most part, Knight was a non-factor.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 21 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -10

Ersan quietly turned in a decent performance, scoring 14 points off the bench. He knocked down a pair of threes midway through the first quarter that kept Milwaukee in the game (at the time), and he wasn’t afraid to battle with Valanciunas and Amir Johnson underneath the basket. Defensively, he was, well, Ersan, getting lost a on a few occasions, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. He also threw down a thunderous – I use that term rather liberally – dunk in the fourth quarter that slashed the Toronto lead to just 48.

John Henson, C 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -11

Henson played the entire fourth quarter and flashed chemistry with Kendall Marshall in the pick-and-roll. Other than that, though, there wasn’t much to see. Considering he was defended by Greg Stiemsma for most of the fourth, a 2-of-5 shooting performance has to be considered a disappointment.

Zaza Pachulia, C 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -2

The Raptors had 21 second chance points in the first half, due in part to Pachulia’s inability to match Valanciunas’ energy on the glass. He was overmatched as a post defender and committed a careless turnover that led to a fast break and subsequent shooting foul. Still, he had the best plus/minus of any Bucks player (minus-2), so that’s… something?

Nate Wolters, PG 27 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -16

Wolters and Kendall Marshall played the entire fourth quarter and combined to shoot 3-of-15 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. That’s not very good. I’m still not convinced Wolters deserves a nightly spot in the rotation, and this performance certainly didn’t help his case.

Kendall Marshall, PG 24 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -15

Marshall started the third quarter in place of Bayless after sitting the entire first half. As mentioned with Henson, he and Marshall once again demonstrated that they’re a smooth pick-and-roll tandem, and Marshall flashed his elite passing ability on several possessions. However, his jumper was repulsively flat, and it’s hard to stick in a rotation with only one above-average skill. Defensively, he had a difficult time sticking with Lowry, which is by no means a surprise.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 5-7 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -9

Initially doubtful to play, Giannis willed his way onto the court, checking in off the bench midway through the first quarter. He didn’t appear visibly hobbled but was noticeably less aggressive than he was in Wednesday’s stellar performance. The big takeaway is that he got to the free throw line seven times in only 15 minutes. Kidd held him out for the entire second half, probably as a precaution with the game way out of hand.

O.J. Mayo, SG 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4

Mayo made a few nice passes, including one along the baseline that resulted in an assist, but was a complete non-factor in his nine minutes off the bench. He’s looked rejuvenated this season, so it was somewhat surprising that Kidd didn’t throw him out there in the fourth quarter.

Jared Dudley, SG 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -8

I jotted down notes throughout the game and have absolutely nothing about Dudley. Like almost everyone on the roster, he was a non-factor. Worth noting: Dudley and Ilyasova were the only two Bucks who did not commit a turnover. So there’s that. Also worth noting: Bayless got the start in place of Giannis, despite Dudley starting the first nine games of the season.

Jason Kidd
The Bucks came out looking like a team that completely exhausted itself in Wednesday’s triple-overtime thriller. Part of the blame has to fall on Kidd, but most of the credit goes to Toronto, which shot 52% from the floor and hit 15 three-pointers. As poorly as Milwaukee played, Kidd didn’t make any glaringly poor decisions that had much of an effect on the final outcome.

The Raptors came out hot, shot it well from all over the floor, and continued to shoot it well throughout the night.His use of Sanders/Pachulia continues to be confusing, as was the decision to start Marshall in the second half. Sure, given the situation, it didn’t *really* matter, but we’re yet to really see consistent rotations on a game-to-game basis. And for what it’s worth, holding Giannis, who probably would have played if it was up to him, out in the second half was the right decision.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks had 12 team turnovers by 11 different players. Brandon Knight was the only player to commit more than one. I don’t know why I find that so interesting.
  2. The biggest takeaway from this game is that the fans in Toronto really, really like Bruno Caboclo. In his first action of the season, the 2014 first-round pick was serenaded with “BRUNO!” chants for the better part of his 12 minutes.
  3. Eighty-six of Toronto’s 114 points came from outside the paint. Even with the score out of hand, the Raptors relied heavily on outside shooting. That’s somewhat encouraging, as teams simply aren’t going to convert at such an efficient clip night in and night out. The Bucks finished with 34 points in the paint, well below their season average of 48.6, which ranks third in the league.
  4. The Bucks were out-rebounded 57-30 overall and 15-8 on the offensive glass. Valanciunas and Johnson controlled the boards when they were in the game, and the Bucks simply didn’t get to a lot of the loose balls/long rebounds that they’ve been able to control recently. Rebounding hasn’t been as much of an issue this season, compared to last, and Friday’s extreme differential can be chalked up, in part, to Milwaukee’s 37% shooting.
  5. Honestly, I don’t know what this game means. Does it bring down expectations, which, to be fair, were probably getting a little out of control after Wednesday’s game? Absolutely. But, at the same time, I don’t know that a 41-point loss necessarily means this team’s 7-5 start is meaningless. The Raptors made 15 three-pointers and seemed to hit everything around the basket. Much of the onus falls on the Bucks’ defense, but good teams like Toronto, which sits atop the East, by the way, have nights like that. I don’t know what the next month or so will hold, but Saturday’s matchup with Washington will reveal a lot about this team’s ability to bounce back.

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  1. I totally get it having an off game after such an emotional night on a back-to-back, but wow that was horrible. Burn the tape on that one.

  2. Jabari Parker was 5-12 from the field, NOT 5-16.

    Jabari played very well. When he gets more comfortable in the offense, and the rest of the offense looks for him more, it will be a welcome scene!

  3. I’m still sticking with John and Kendall — along with our other young guys, but they are generally getting their minutes to work out their ups and downs, while John and Kendall seem to be held to a higher standard.

    John got another one of those frustrating and embarrassing and insulting 3-minute stints in the first half, and next was seen during ultra-garbage time at the end of the game. If Jason Kidd was seting out purposely to discourage the guy, he couldn’t be doing a better job. Bucksketball, by the way, doesn’t seem to care much about John’s ill-treatment, but then they didn’t care much about Tobias, either.

    Kendall hasn’t played at all of late, and as noted in the recap, was kept out of the game for the entire first half before being given the starting assignment in the second half — in other words, talk about being put into a tough spot. Even in those disadvantageous conditions, Kendall showed a naturalness and presence at point guard that no one else on the team possesses, and he got better and better as he shook off the rust from being left so very often at the very end of the bench

    Yes, Kendall went 2-8, but nobody seemed to care all that much that Brandon Knight went 5-20 against the Nets. If Kendall has issues on defense, so apparently does Jabari, but Bucksketball seems to brush off Jabari’s deficiencies by telling us that he’ll figure it out with experience. Kendall doesn’t seem to get that benefit of the doubt from Bucksketball, and in this recap is basically written off as not deserving to be in the regular rotation — even though he hasn’t had anywhere close to a fair chance to play for the entire season.

    Bucksketball is certainly entitled to its opinions with players, but it doesn’t seem to show much imagination or daring. Getting behind Giannis and Jabari is pretty easy, but what about the younger guys who aren’t as obvious? Bucksketball was apathetic when Tobias was underappreciated and then traded, and it’s apathetic about John now; it yawned at Khris Middleton’s efforts last season, and i’m wondering if it might turn on him with his slow start this season as an outside shooter (even though he’s been given choppy minutes and apparently has been dealing with a leg injury).

    Another thing about Bucksketball is that it will come back at me in a minute with a sharp reply, but seems to be truly soft and deferential when it comes to critiquing Bucks coaching and management. If a guy doesn’t play with the Bucks, then, according to Bucksketball, the coach and GM must have a good reason, and who are we to really question them with anything more than a mild unease.

    As I’ve written several times on several occasions, Bucksketball does a lot of good things, and I look forward to it’s coverage of the Bucks. My major concern is that while it has no problem shooting back at me, it seems to really play it safe when it comes to supporting less heralded players and taking on the powers-that-be with the Bucks.

    • Swisch I’m right along with you in wanting to see Henson and Marshall get more time on the court in meaningful minutes, but you HAVE to agree that last night was not good for either of them.

      Starting with Marshall, the difference between Knight shooting 5-20 and Marshall shooting 2-8 is most teams know Knight is explosive and can put up numbers. Knight is shooting 42.5% and 35.6% from 3 against starting defenses. Marshall is shooting 28.6% and 30% from 3 (albeit in a lot less minutes) against what I would call non-starting defenses. And before you start with the small sample size defense, look at his career shooting: 39.4% That’s Brandon Jennings level, which is not a good thing.

      Is Marshall a great passer? Sure. Can he effectively and efficiently drive to the basket against most players? Not really. If you can’t shoot, and you can’t drive, you become a pretty 1 dimensional player on offense, which defenses pick up on pretty quickly. Defenses will sag off Marshall because they know he can’t beat them with the shot and he can’t drive past them. By sagging off of him, they help close off passing lanes, limiting the one skill on offense he is good at.

      Now this would be less of a problem if he was a stalwart on the defensive side of the ball. Sorry to say, he isn’t. A couple of the reasons people give Jabari a lot more leash on defense is because 1) he is a much more rounded offensive player, and 2) he’s a rookie 13 games into the season. Marshall, on the other hand, is in his 3rd season. The game still has to slow down quite a bit for Jabari, whereas I’m not sure that’s the same for Marshall.

      As for Henson, most people agree he should be getting time out on the court. I think if they can trade Ersan or Zaza, he will get a big boost in playing time. His problem is he really can only play 2 positions, center and power forward. Center has Sanders and Zaza, and PF has Ersan, Jabari, Giannis. I think the best person to pair Henson with would be Zaza (negates Zaza’s poor defense and uses Zaza’s ability to play from the elbow), but then you have to sit 2 of Ersan, Jabari, and Giannis. And if that’s the case, now you’re looking at a 2nd string unit that would get about 20 minutes a game if you didn’t have to worry about Ersan, Jabari, and Giannis stealing some of those 20 minutes (which you do, and which they do). If Henson had a good midrange game, Ersan would be extremely expendable.

      My last point goes towards the idea that Bucksketball has a lot of power regarding the Bucks. No disrespect to Jeremy, Nick, or any of the other writers, but to think that a blog (even one within the TrueHoop sector) has a lot power to change rotations or how organizations see players is, I think, laughable. That’d be like McDonalds or Taco Bell deciding to change how they make their food because a blog said the meat they use is fake. Bucksketball does a great job of fostering discussions, but I really don’t think those discussions make it too far into the Bucks front office. I doubt John Hammond and Jason Kidd have a discussion like: “Did you see what Carl from HR posted on Bucksketball the other day? He’s so right, we should play John Henson more.”

      Now, having said all this, I actually want to thank you Swisch. You bring ideas and drive discussion, which helps other fans see another side of the coin they may not be looking at. I may not agree with your opinions, but I respect them. And I certainly hope that you continue to bring your ideas, as it keeps discussions pretty well rounded.

    • Swisch — there are a few reason not to be concerned with Jabari’s lack of defense:
      1) he’s a rookie
      2) He’s an athlete
      3) He’s 6’8″, 240 pounds
      He will be, at the very least, a decent defender in his career just because of his combination of size and athletic ability. Marshall’s lack of defense can’t be attributed to any of those 3 things. He’s rather unathletic and consistently gets beat by his man. (not just going off of preseason and the few minutes he’s gotten this year. I’m going off of the Lakers games that somehow still were on national TV last year), As you talked about in a post below, Kidd did develop a 3 point shot later in his career. Marshall can still develop that shot, but that is not something you need court time to do. That’s all done through practice and hard work.

      The ideal scenario for Henson would be to allow Ersan to play his way into a favorable trade for the Bucks. If we get second half Ersan in the first half of the season he could really draw some potential bidders. That may be a month from now, but after he is traded, Henson will see a big boost in minutes. It also would surprise me to see Zaza, Larry, or Ersan go down with an injury, as all three of them missed considerable time last year with a variety of injuries. John is the type of guy that will stay ready and try his best to contribute. Don’t worry Swisch, ya boy will get his PT soon enough.

    • I think we’ve expressed that we’d each rather see Henson play than Ilyasova. But, and this is a hunch, readers would find it redundant if in every game recap we harped on the point. So we don’t stress it non-stop because we’re trying to put together recaps that inform and entertain. Likewise with Bayless. And we’ve talked about it a lot on the podcast, because it’s possibly a better place for that conversation, given the fluidity of it.

      And if Ilyasova or Bayless or whoever plays well, we’re not going to say every game, “Yeah, they played well, but what about John Henson? Why is this regime holding him back?” We’re covering the moment as much as the future and we just acknowledge what’s happening. Basically, we don’t want people to come here and read the same exact thing from us every night.

      Generally, I give coaching staff/organizations the benefit of the doubt, as they are working with about 100x more information than I am regarding these players. Despite my lack of imagination or daring, I’ve constantly been referred to as pessimistic/negative/whatever else along those lines, over the past few years, not because I was playing corporate shill or because I was trying to “play it safe” as far as my reflection on the powers that be.

      I get that I should have called for everyone’s head because Tobais wasn’t playing. He’s doing very well on the Magic. Congratulations to him. Maybe John Henson is a future star. No question he should be getting Ersan Ilyasova’s minutes. No one denies that. But I was all over the team for the Monta Ellis deal, for the entire organizational strategy before they started tanking and ‘m basically the only media member who has even asked a question about Henson’s lack of minutes this season. I’d hardly consider myself soft.

      But hey, it’s my job to keep that up and I appreciate your consistent feedback and commenting. Bucksketball would not be the same without it, that’s for sure.

      • Jeremy, I realize that it’s a lot easier to be the critic rather than the creator. Agree or disagree, I think you and your guys at Bucksketball do a very good job, to say the least, and I’ve enjoyed reading and commenting on this blog for more than two seasons. I appreciate having you guys as my go-to site for the Bucks.

  4. That was a good, thoughtful post Swisch. Here’s your sharp reply!

    I find it hard to share your opinions on Marshall and Henson.

    My initial impression of Marshall is “Not an NBA athlete”. So far, Marshall has looked very very slow, and just doesn’t have the offensive game to make up for his deficiencies. Slowness is a deadly problem with all of the remarkable athletes playing point guard these days. Now, if he had a deadly outside shot, things would be different. But his play so far has not earned him a regular spot in the rotation.

    Henson is more promising and I agree that he should be getting more minutes, but with the current roster I just can’t see where to find too many minutes. He’s a good long defender, but very easily pushed around by the burly centers and power forwards of the league. At center he is similar to Sanders and gives us a good backup for frequent situations when Larry is in foul trouble. We are playing Zaza for his passing and to match up against bulkier players, so I don’t support Henson over Zaza in those situations. At PF, Henson’s length can make up for his lack of bulk, but there’s competition at that spot from Ersan and Jabari so minutes are limited. I think he is a good option to play alongside ZaZa, but Ersan gives you an outside shooting threat and Jabari’s gotta play. So, yes, Henson deserves 20 minutes a night, and better than 3-minute cameos. But I can’t get too upset over the current situation.

  5. Thanks much, Carl, for your encouraging words and thoughtful opinions.

    I think you make some good points, but as I’ve written before, I’d like for there to be more focus on what John does well rather than so much on his limitations. All I’ve been asking for is for John to get 20-30 minutes per game consistently to have a fair chance to see what he can and cannot do.

    As for Kendall, it’s interesting to me because my understanding of Jason Kidd’s career is that he grew considerably as a shooter over the years. I see something special in Kendall, and think he can improve on his weaknesses while providing a unique and extremely valuable skill set as director and distributor on the court. I really wonder if the other players on the Bucks don’t discreetly wish he was in there more often to help the offense run more smoothly. Again, with Kendall I’m only asking for a fair opportunity, say 16-24 minutes a night.

    Carl, you wrote that you’d like to see both players get meaningful minutes, too, so I’m truly interested in what you do see in them that’s good and how much you would like them to play.

    In 1970, when I was not yet 8 years old, I cried when the Bucks were knocked out of the playoffs by the Knicks; the next season I cheered alone in suburban Philadelphia when they swept the Bullets for the NBA title. I’ve been a pretty passionate fan ever since, even today newly moved to Idaho from New Mexico. I’m trying to be fair in my comments, to realize I could be wrong, and to truly appreciate what others have to say. Thanks again, Carl from HR, for your good words.

    • Appreciation also to Houston for the good discussion, and to anyone else who joins in.

      I really like robust debate for the camaraderie, and for growing as a fan of the team we all are foolish enough to care about.