Some things are worth fighting for: Bucks 122 – Nets 118 (3OT)

Milwaukee Bucks 122 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 Brooklyn Nets
Khris Middleton, PF 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -8

He was very quiet in regulation and the first segment of overtime, but Khris saved his buckets for the most important juncture when he stepped in and made two key shots in the third overtime period to help propel the Bucks to victory. If he can regain the shooting touch from last year that has thus far been absent from his game, Middleton will be very valuable to a Bucks team in need of shooting prowess.

Jabari Parker, SF 42 MIN | 8-13 FG | 7-10 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | -6

If he didn’t get so lost on defense so often, this could be an A+ game. As it is, any fears about Jabari’s ability to score in the pros should be assuaged by his showing. He hit some jumpers early and proved that he can also do damage down low and off the offensive rebound later on in the game. I also trust that the defense will improve.

At one point a Giannis/Jabari fast break occurred, and even though they were spaced too closely together Jabari was able to maneuver the ball over to Giannis, who used his length to score anyways. Sign me up for 10 more years of that, please.

Larry Sanders, C 14 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3

Sanders wasn’t limited by fouls; rather, it seems that general ineffectiveness on offense (more missed layups) and flow from the rest of the team was to blame for his only playing 14 minutes and remaining glued to the bench in overtime. Jason Kidd preferred to go with the superior offensive player in Zaza Pachulia down the stretch. It seemed possible his injured thigh also played a role in his minute limitation, as the broadcast said he was on the bench with a heat pack on his thigh.

Brandon Knight, PG 49 MIN | 5-20 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +1

He played a very Brandon Knight game for the first 52 minutes. Took a fair number of shots, made some good passes, competed hard, all of that. Standard stuff.Then, in the last five seconds of the first overtime period, he got a great jump on a Joe Johnson pass and took off down the floor with no one to beat. Knight seemed to believe that there wouldn’t be time to complete a dunk ahead of the buzzer, so he instead rushed a layup. Of course, he missed it. Cue Internet notoriety for the second time (already!) in his career.

But, to his credit, Knight didn’t hang his head for long. Early on in OT #2 he seemed to be pressing to make up for his mistake, but redemption came with 19 seconds left when he hit a 3 to tie the game and send it into the final frame. And, as a curtain call, he made two free throws to ice the win.

This is the Brandon Knight you get – there are positives, there are negatives. Watching him pick himself up and get back into the game after the big miscue was very encouraging.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 48 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-8 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +5

I didn’t expect him to reach this point so soon. When he’s driving to the rim, Giannis was unstoppable. His length and quickness allowed him to drive past both his defender and Brook Lopez in the paint on multiple occasions. He also battled through the second overtime period wen he appeared to roll his ankle coming down on Knight’s foot but remained in the game.

What was even more impressive was his defense in the clutch. He drew an unenviable matchup against Seven-Time All-Star “Iso” Joe Johnson and forced him into an airball to close OT #2 while just generally neutralizing the infamous Buck-killer. At the end of the game, his mere presence in the paint was enough to convince Deron Williams to kick the ball out to Johnson in the corner for 3, but Giannis was quick enough to get out and bother Johnson’s shot as well.Did I mention that he’s still only 19 years old?

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 21 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +8

We’ve experienced these in-season surges out of Ersan before. My advice is to enjoy the ride before it all comes crashing back down.

John Henson, C 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +2

Henson and Sanders demonstrated how different they can be as players. Henson’s touch around the basket is remarkable, especially contrasted with Sanders’ stone hands. But while Henson was the one to pick up three blocks in this game, he also looked to be the worse defender. Lopez did a fair amount of his damage matched up against Henson and he wasn’t able to corral rebounds against the Brooklyn frontcourt. There’s probably a permutation of the Bucks’ lineup that Henson fits into more regularly, but it’s difficult to see where that would happen given the focus on Parker and Kidd’s emerging preferences.

Zaza Pachulia, C 29 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +3

The other victim of a large chunk of Lopez’s production. Pachulia certainly isn’t Georgian for “defender”, but Zaza represents the only bulk that the Bucks can throw against other teams’ hulking big men. Unfortunately, his usually above-average offensive and passing contributions were also limited.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3

Talk about a serviceable backup point guard.

Jared Dudley, SG 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2

Had a decent rebounding output from the guard spot. I was led to believe that Dudley was a sharpshooter, but haven’t seen any regular season proof of that assertion yet.

O.J. Mayo, SG 39 MIN | 7-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +13

THE JUICE GOT LOOSE and then he got tied up by the wily Garnett on a horrendous isolation attempt at the end of regulation. But end-game antics aside, Mayo provided scoring off the bench and a third of the team’s three-point makes. When his name is called, he’s active and engaged, which is a refreshing change from last year.

Nate Wolters, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

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Kendall Marshall, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

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Jason Kidd
I don’t know whether to dock him or the players for a couple of heinous late-game inbound plays that required a timeout and resulted in a five-second violation, respectively. He alternated between bad (Mayo isolation) and good (Knight three-pointer) set plays out of timeouts in end-of-game situations, but what impressed me most was the fact that he had a team playing hard for 63 minutes on the second half of a back-to-back set. I’m pretty confident in saying that last year’s Bucks wouldn’t even have showed up for this game, much less battled for a tough win.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks came out very much like a team on the second half of a back-to-back, scoring only 41 points in the first half. They must have warmed up by halftime, though, and provided a memorable finish to Jason Kidd’s first game back in Brooklyn.
  2. According to FS Wisconsin’s Andrew Gruman, this was the first triple overtime Bucks game since November of 1989. Nine current Bucks players weren’t even born at that point.
  3. Knight, Antetokounmpo, and Parker all played 40+ minutes in their second game in two days. That wasn’t even the most impressive stat line, as Nets coach Lionel Hollins rode Joe Johnson and Deron Williams for a borderline irresponsible 52 minutes each. Things got a little bit crazy.
  4. The win pushed the Bucks to 7-5 on the season, which I’m not entirely sure that I can comprehend. It seems that Kidd is getting through to his young team and propelling them through, not only to competitiveness but to outright wins. While they’re far from a finished product, this Bucks team is more advanced (and more fun to watch) than anyone really expected. That’s quite the pleasant surprise.

Categories: Recaps

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25 Comments

  1. Impressive resilience and relentlessness by the Bucks, and really enjoyable.

    Is it just me, or was John Henson fantastic on defense in the 3rd overtime and thus a major reason the Bucks victory?

    • Henson looked very active on defense, and was fighting for loose balls. He was definitely more impressive than any games he played in earlier this season. In addition I would be interested to look at what the team rebounding numbers are when he is on the floor vs off it, because I realize he didn’t grab many himself but he seemed to do a great job of boxing his man out on several occasions so another Buck could get the board.

      • Small sample size alert: but my hypothesis was proven wrong by the numbers so far as the Bucks are indeed worse at rebounding with Henson on the floor so far.

        • Complicating factor is whether John is considered as a power forward or a center. For example, is it fair to grade him based on his matchup with Brook Lopez? In any case, as I remember it, John and Khris set the tone for the 3rd overtime by double-teaming Lopez and snuffing him out for a turnover. I think the first three Nets possessions of that final overtime were disrupted and disappointed largely by John.

          Anyway, I want to acknowledge and appreciate that a lot of other good stuff happened last night. It’s amazing to me how far Giannis has come since last season, for example, and it was great to see Brandon Knight hang in there after his missed layup and finish strong with the support of his teammates.

          • “For example, is it fair to grade him based on his matchup with Brook Lopez? ”

            Yes, because he was in the lineup as the center (with either Jabari or Ersan as the power forward) and guarded Lopez.

          • To me, John should get some significant credit if he is playing out of his natural position for the good of the team, even at the cost of his own personal statistics. He seems like a great teammate, and that should be appreciated rather than taken for granted, IMO.

          • Yes, Swisch. It is more than fair to judge him off of his match-up with the notoriously bad rebounding Lopez. 5 rebounds per game and he’s 7′, 275 pounds? That’s sickening.

          • It should also be noted that mid-range jump shooting is a deal breaker for a power forward in todays game. For how good Henson is on the block and on D, if he cannot develop a midrange game he will be not much more than a role player on a good team.

          • Seems like you might be misssing my point, Avid.

            I was talking about the total matchup between John and Lopez, not just rebounds. Also, it’s fair to presume that Lopez’ rebounding stats come mostly from matchups with other centers. In any case, Lopez only had 7 rebounds in this game, and that was in 44 minutes.

            In the larger picture, John has been played out of position going back at least to last season. He’s never been given a consistent role with consistent minutes with the Bucks. He’s beginning his third season but is already on his fourth coach. This season, he’s played consistently very well, but has been played in such a minimal way that it seems insulting to him.

            All the while, John seems to roll with the slights and indignities with a great attitude.

            In the above recap, Jabari getting lost on defense seems to be taken as no big deal, and something he’ll probably improve on. John’s perceived deficiency on defense seems to be taken much more seriously; it’s considered hard to see where he fits in with the Bucks, and it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal if he doesn’t get minutes. In general, Bucksketball doesn’t seem to care all that much about John, and at most expresses moderate concern about his lack of minutes.

            It’s legitimate to have different opinions about John’s talent and playing time, but I’m concerned about taking too much advantage of his good nature and stellar character. It seems like there’s too much focus on what John supposedly doesn’t do well and not enough on what he does do well, plus we’ll never really know unless he gets a decent shot. I’d really miss John if he left, as a player and a person, and I think it’s important for players to know that the fans care about them.

          • TheLastoftheBucksFans

            Honestly your assertion that this is unfair because he’s not really a center is kinda pointless. So many players are position-less nowadays. I agree that guarding someone like Lopez isn’t exactly his strength, but he plays like a center and doesn’t have a mid range game yet. What does this mean? Well, he has to play center. It wouldn’t make sense to consistently throw him out there with someone like Sanders. I think that Dan is right when he talked about him being a role player at this point in his young career. He can still grow though.

          • I am really interested in what another commenter, Jordan, wrote about Henson’s defensive game (further down this page).

            It might be a good point to say that Henson has to be somewhat flexible with the positions he plays. In that case, the key to me is to get him on the court somewhere reasonable for 20-30 minutes per game.

            Again, good fans can differ as to John’s value with the Bucks. As for me, though, let’s stop making excuses for why John shouldn’t be playing, and start appreciating reasons for why he should be playing.

          • Point well taken, Swisch. But I think you misunderstanding us other Bucks fans. We all want him to play, and if this team was tanking (which it doesn’t look like they are), it would make perfect sense to throw him out there for 30 minutes a game. However, since the Bucks are trying to win games at this point at least, it makes more sense to play the guy thats understanding the concept of Kidd’s coaching tactics in Zaza. Because of Henson’s lateral limitations and lack of a midrange game, it makes more sense to play him at center. But he’s just not big enough yet. If I were him, I would do nothing but hit the weights in his off time so he can at least hold his own. I don’t know how you can be a pro for this long and still be as scrawny as he is. It doesn’t take years to gain muscle.

          • Regardless of the outcome of this season, I think it’s likely that at least two of the following get moved: Zaza/Dudley/Ersan. At that point, our young guys like Middleton and Henson will see a bump up in minutes and all will be well.

  2. What a game and all four endings! It is so nice to watch this team hustle. And then top it off with a win is just icing on the cake. How sweet it is!

    I expected this team to be entertaining, but I did not expect them to progress this far, this soon, as a team. I had confidence in Scott Skiles ability to coach and have not been this optimistic since he walked out. So far, it sure feels like Jason Kidd is pushing all the right buttons.
    The Nets fans should not have booed the Bucks’ coach….it only made these guys dig deep for the win.

    Go Bucks!

  3. Henson played a nice game for the most part. He was lucky to only have one turnover though, he does have great touch on his one post move but its an adventure when he puts the ball on the floor or gets pressured. All in all very hard to find much to complain about last night, huge effort by the entire roster. The only thing for me was the in bounds plays at the end, that doesn’t happen to good teams twice in a row so hopefully it was a learning experience. Great game, so glad Brandon was able to redeem himself for the missed layup. Loving this team !!

  4. Do you not get credited for back tapping a rebound anymore? Because Henson did that often, especially in the 2nd(?) quarter. So the fact that he only had two rebounds is baffling. Love the confidence that Parker and Giannis displayed tonight, and while Giannis missed a couple of pull up jumpers, they looked good off the hand and just got enough rim not to go through. I’m not worried about his jumper, because he’s only been playing for what, 4 years? How many players had a great jumper after 4 years of basketball? It will come, but right now, his array of moves withing 10 feet are enough to hold me over. Also, Knight has like a 60 inch box jump. Dunk that young fella!

  5. Honestly, I called the Bucks were going to be a team to look out for. They are definitely playoff and championship bound with this great young core they assembled. Parker is nasty, Knight is coming into his own, and the Greek Freak is one of my favorite young players to watch. I went to a Knicks-Bucks preseason game at MSG and saw them in person and saw a lot of potential in this team. I blogged about this a bit more on my blog site. http://spitblack.com/all-about-bucks/ Take a look and share your opinions to me too on this comment or on the blog site.

    • First of all, you probably shouldn’t advertise for your blog in the comment section of a different blog. Second of all, the optimism is great, but you must keep things in perspective. Every one of our wins other than our most recent two our opponents have had noticeable disadvantages i.e. injuries. Philly (who we are obviously better than) did not have MCW, Indiana no Paul George, Dave West or George Hill, Memphis was healthy but had just played the late game the night before in OKC, even with that being said an impressive win for MKE, OKC no KD, Russ, or Perry Jones, Miami no D Wade.

      I love the Bucks and the path they are on. I have confidence in management and coaching, I BELIEVE WE ONE DAY CAN BE CONTENDERS. But lets not talk about that right now. Lets talk about the development of players and how our pieces are fitting together. All while keeping in mind that OKC had Russ Westbrook, KD, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and some solid role players and that team may never see a championship if KD and Russ leave in their upcoming free agencies.

      Fear The Deer.

  6. Am I the only one who is amazed by the discipline Giannis is showing? He barely ever takes a bad shot. Also I am really proud of OJ Mayo who has been such a big spark off our bench and has embraced his old role in Memphis. He knows this is his role in the league. Also Jabari is playing awesome and getting more confident every game. Jabari just needs to not get so lost on defense sometimes but thats easy to fix with some coaching and who better to coach him up on defense than the All NBA defensive Team alumni, Coach Kidd. I am really excited for this team and that was a huge statement win to show everyone else that we are not going to just give up anymore.

    • I’m with ya on Giannis… incredible the leaps he’s taken since last year. He NEEDS to develop a consistent jump shot, however, or defenses are simply going to start closing in on him when he makes that dribble drive (which goes predictably to his left 9 out of 10 times). He’s been wildly inconsistent from outside. If he can get that jumper going, I think he’s Kevin Durant. I also hope he can dial back his “victim complex” a little bit… he’s very emotional every time he gets called for something, and he’s gonna pick up some T’s or do something he’ll regret if he isn’t careful (he ALMOST took a swing at Shumpert the other night).

  7. The “NY Sweep” that we just experienced was an incredible 2 game ride. The team is showing a lot of character, a lot of heart, constant effort, and really, isn’t that all Milwaukee has been asking for from it’s basketball franchise for the past 10 years? There’s a reason everyone is getting excited about this bunch… and I think it goes deeper than a surprising 7-5 start… they’re exhibiting all of the positive characteristics we love about NBA basketball. I know we dig into particulars after each game (minutes, who’s starting ahead of who, what is Henson’s “natural” position, yada, yada), but there’s a togetherness and work ethic and confidence with this team that we haven’t been able to enjoy in a long time, and I think that’s why everyone is so fired up. I thought a really telling moment last night was immediately following Knight’s missed layup at the end of OT. Sure, he blew it… but what struck me was how much he CARED that he missed it… he honestly had a look of devastation on his face through much of the 2nd overtime. I’m glad he snapped out of it and redeemed himself down the stretch, but I was also happy to see how much this meant to him AND his team mates who were there to pick him up and dust him off for the next task.

    Big question is… do they have the maturity to sustain the idea of a shared mission / goal? How will they respond when they hit their first 3-4 game losing streak, or a few major injuries (what a SCARE with Giannis last night!!!)? I think then we’ll see what kind of coach Kidd is, and what kind of guts these guys are made of… but I sure like what I see so far. They’re alive! Go Bucks!

  8. Incredible win! 2 huge takeaways for me from this game, besides Giannis’ standout game and Knight’s up and down game:

    – I was really excited to see Jabari play in a late game, game deciding situation. Obviously he’s only played 12 games so far in his career, but I just think he’s been a better option for these clutch situations, despite how well Ersan has played off the bench (to my surprise) and how limited his shooting has been (he’s been incredible down low, but I do somewhat cringe when he takes some deep shots still. That obviously will come in time)
    – Henson being a matchup problem for Lopez. It finally dawned on me how much his length is a problem for guys down low and while he’s not like Sanders (and who is) defensively, he just makes it difficult for people to adjust their shot on a guy with a reportedly 7’6” wingspan. His minutes have been very odd so far and I was surprised to see him play through regulation like that, but when Lopez was a huge problem for Zaza, it was really refreshing to see him at least make it hard for Lopez to make a basket. Whether this will continue for him/increase his minutes is yet to be seen, but I’m encouraged to see him make an impact the way he did last night.

  9. It makes me laugh when (most) everyone puts down Henson cause his “limitations” insist that he should play center against guys that are 25-50 pounds heavier than he is most nights. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we actually give Henson 25-30 minutes per night at the power forward position (his position) and then when that’s done …. evaluate him as a forward? Ersan has many, many problems and believe me would not be missed that much. Henson has way more game than Ersan.

    In comparison, you know Dudley doesn’t really shoot all that well, so let’s put him at power forward and then judge him on how he does then? Nate doesn’t shoot well from 3 so let’s move him to forward and see what happens then? That’s how the logic towards Henson has been. What a joke.

    We didn’t have time or room for Tobias, now look at him. Now we evidentially don’t have time or room for Henson either, which makes me very afraid what might happen down the road.

    Smell the coffee front office!!!!!!