|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -13
All seven of Ilyasova’s points came in the first quarter. A night defending Taj Gibson was not a night this Bucks forward was built for and it seemed like Jason Kidd was aware of that. Still, it was fun to see him stick a few jump shots and actually get to the rim and finish a finger roll. Look at that picture up there! There’s still some life!
|Jabari Parker, SF 25 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -19
There are times when Parker looks smooth and natural, mainly when he’s in the post and making a move. Then there are times where Parker looks a bit hesitant and takes the route of least resistance, a pull-up jump shot. The latter happens more frequently than the former, which goes a long way in explaining his meager field goal percentages thus far. Like Ersan, he started strong and faded (1Q: 6 points, 4 rebounds).
Jason Kidd was asked after the game how long it might take for Parker to get in the flow of the league. Would it be 10 games, 20 games? Kidd said it might take 82. It’s a tough league. Hopefully Parker’s skills and prior experiences won’t leave him with quite such a large learning curve.
|Larry Sanders, C 23 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -9
A player like Gasol gives Sanders a bit more trouble. Early on the in the game he was pulling Larry away from the hoop or he was getting open jump shots when Sanders stuck by the hoop to help his teammates. Stretchier bigs aren’t so easy to defend.
On the other end, Sanders continued to struggle finishing around the hoop. He missed a dunk! And some layups. I seem to recall his hands being an issue early on in his career, but didn’t notice it so much the last two seasons. Also his first attempt was a jumper and he released the ball on the way down, which he used to do all the time. Here’s hoping he irons out these wrinkles again and can start finishing some of the offensive rebounds he’s getting (five total).
|Brandon Knight, PG 32 MIN | 3-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -19
He had to chuck up a couple of threes at the end of the game out of desperation, so that 3-15 FG line isn’t quite an accurate reflection. But the spirit of that line is probably right. At some point we might just have to accept Knight won’t be the point guard that many people think the point guard on a team should be. I know it seems wild when he drives into the paint, like he’s a man without a cause, but he’s been racking up assists and finding teammates on drives all season. Maybe he knows more about what he’s doing on attacks than we’re giving him credit for.
On the other hand, he’s still getting very little in pick and rolls, especially late in games. Milwaukee’s late game offense has been bad and Kidd noted after the game that teams, including the Bucks, typically go to pick and rolls late. There’s certainly a correlation there and he needs to get the Bucks on track if the ball is going to be in his hands in these situations late. Kidd contested that the Bucks are getting good shots late and that they are just not falling. Eh.
|Jared Dudley, SG 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -7
|Khris Middleton, PF 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +9
He didn’t do much offensively other than finish a couple shots around the rim and miss some jumpers. For a guy who was almost Milwaukee’s offensive centerpiece in the first game of the season, he’s sure been minimized. But here’s the thing: Everyone has been. This team is so balanced, possibly to a fault. Everyone is giving up shots and minutes to each other. So long as they are all on the same page, this can lead to some entertaining basketball, as the first 45 minutes of this game showed.
|John Henson, C 12 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -4
He’s in a very tough spot. Against an athletic Bulls front court, it seemed like a night where Henson would reclaim some minutes, but the shift of Giannis to the four for most of the night left him behind Sanders and Pachulia at the five.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +8
DUNK. Bayless dunked on the Yugoslavian forward Mirotic and let out a primal scream after. He was immediately hit with a technical, which seemed excessive. Bayless is a bit of a fire starter on the court. He got into it with Roy Hibbert in Indiana too. He’s kind of fun. He’d be real fun if he were on the right team. Sigh.
But no question, he was apart of some of Milwaukee’s best offensive units.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +7
Real fun Giannis game. He did a fadeaway jumper off one foot ala Dirk. He caught a long lob and finished. He dunked on Taj Gibson and saw it rattle home. He was crashing the boards. He was defending at the four late in the game. He was real solid. Giannis doesn’t have to play the point guard to be interesting.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 27 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -1
Not a great shooting night for Juice, but he continued to look for his teammates with frequency and it still looks real natural.
Who to play, who not to play? Kidd’s refrain has been the same each night on the matter of his rotation. He says that the team has a lot of guys that can play and he’s going to play a lot of guys and its on everyone to stay ready. As the season develops, we may see things change, but through five games, the Bucks have been pretty fun and competitive. Of course, this could quickly turn ugly if Milwaukee loses its next four games in a row. Players will be harmonious in wins, but in losses? Guys who want 20 minutes and are getting 10 might not feel so jolly and loyal to the cause.
Two Things We Saw
- Bulls fans. Lots of Bulls fans. But that made for a fun atmosphere while this game was competitive. Every time I looked up a call was getting booed or cheered and I never knew who was doing what. It was a bit of a college atmosphere and it made for some fun basketball.
- Milwaukee’s defense still looks good and the Bucks second unit looks good too. This is what’s going to keep the Bucks in games this season. This depth is a bit of a gift and a curse, if I may be cliched. You rarely know who’s going to play how much, but it gives the Bucks the opportunity to pull guys who aren’t playing with energy and keep fresh guys in the game on the defensive end at all times. Milwaukee didn’t play the aggressive, veteran style of defense Chicago did on Wednesday night, but they worked hard and were generally opportunistic when they created turnovers (23 points of 16 Bulls turnovers).