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