Stranglehold: Bucks 91 — Heat 84

Milwaukee Bucks 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

84 Miami Heat
Jabari Parker, SF 33 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +9

Parker started the game with Giannis for the first time ever. Together, they recorded five dunks in the first half, including one fantastic Giannis to Parker connection coming around a curl screen. But Jabari needs a better sense of time and place. On one late fourth quarter possession following an offensive rebound, the ball got kicked out to Jabari, who took an ill-advised three-point shot with :22 on the shot clock. His defense on Bosh and others was perhaps his best effort of the season though.

Larry Sanders, C 20 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +11

He attempted more shots than either Antetokounmpo or Knight in the first half, but the shots themselves weren’t terrible. Sanders just needs to make decisions more quickly when he catches the ball. Sometimes he just freezes. But they were good shots, on the whole, and he made 3/4 FG shooting in the second half was huge.

Brandon Knight, PG 34 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +11

The Bucks don’t win without his three three-pointers in the final minutes, even if the other Bucks possession mixed in those four was one where he overdribbled. His drives to the hoop for the rest of the game were productive, and for a long stretch of the game, Knight was one of the few productive jump shooters.

Jared Dudley, SG 10 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4

Dudley started at the shooting guard spot opposite Mario Chalmers. The starters put together a tight defensive performance in the first quarter, Dudley included, but the few lapses came when Mario Chalmers put the ball on the floor and drove around Jared. It was an almost unfair position for Dudley, and it’s not like Dudley is the kind of player who can turn the advantage the other way on offense in the low post.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 32 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-7 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 11 PTS | +9

Giannis was very aggressive in his approach to attacking the rim, especially in the second quarter, and the added bonus in this game was that he started to spot teammates when the defense collapsed on him. He found Zaza and Jabari for a pair of easy dunks. In the second half, he was really using his length to be a defensive pest, including one stonewall block of a Bosh dunk attempt.

Khris Middleton, PF 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +8

Middleton started in place of Dudley for the second half, and soon after he hit a three-pointer when the Bucks were starved for some shooting to space the floor. All in all, a very nice return for Khris, including 3 steals.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2

The bench core of Ilyasova, Pachulia, Bayless, and Mayo got carved up by the Heat in the second quarter, and they were a step down from the intensity and cohesion of the starters. In the second half, that changed entirely — and Kidd rode his bench longer than usual when he could have reverted to the starters because of that improvement. That said, he lost Shawne Williams a few times.

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

His one missed shot was actually a surprising new move for Henson. As he worked on the low block, he used his newfound size to bump off a defender and set up an easier look. Unfortunately, he missed it.

Zaza Pachulia, C 25 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +2

His defense was much better in the second half, and he scored some key baskets at the rim midway through the 4th quarter when the Bucks offense might have otherwise sputtered.

Nate Wolters, PG 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2

Lots and lots of solid defense. It’s certainly why Kidd prefers Wolters to Kendall Marshall.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 17 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1 

Great defensive effort in the second half, which seems repetitive, but it really is true.

O.J. Mayo, SG 18 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2

More great passing to the tune of 3 assists and the one turnover he had was going to be a nice pass too, but he anticipated Nate Wolters getting free right before Wolters got stuck on a screen.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks defense was flying around in the third quarter. The Heat shot 21.1%. It wasn’t just bad shooting either. Milwaukee was making the Heat work to get up any kind of shot whatsoever.
  2. The Bucks took Chris Bosh out of the game completely. He made 2-of-17 shots.
  3. Shawne Williams scored a lot of points, made a lot of corner jumpers, and threw a vicious, moving, blind pick on Brandon Knight in the final 10 seconds (with the Bucks holding a 7-point lead).

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  1. Great win! But Shawne Williams… same guy who intentionally undercut Giannis in LA last year. It seems like the Bucks need a tough guy to put a stop to that kind of thing. Now that Raduljica and Adrien are gone, who’s our enforcer? O’Bryant seems to be a great candidate when he gets back from injury.

  2. Sorry to nitpick but A for Henson? Great win overall but, he had 1 turnover per every 90 seconds he was in the game. They seemed like pretty boneheaded TOs, too.

  3. How does Henson get an “A” for this game? He played 3 minutes, missed his only attempt, was a minus 9 and had 2 TO….. In THREE MINUTES.

    • I really liked his move in the post.

      Also, I already conceded to Miggity 45 minutes before your post. I will also concede to you: You are correct, sir/ma’am. I probably should have given him a lower grade.

  4. Hey KL,

    This isn’t really related to your article here, but I was thinking about how Giannis seems to be blossoming in front of our eyes, and it brought me back to that article that I think Jeremy wrote about how Giannis needs to make a big leap this year because that’s what all the great 19 year olds have done, and he compared the 19 and 20 year old’s numbers and stuff.

    I think it would be interesting to provide an update on that article with how Giannis is doing so far; if not now, then at least in the future when we’ve seen more games from him. But it would be cool to see how his numbers line up with the 19 year olds that made the leap (Durant, Garnett, LeBron, etc.) and those that didn’t (Josh Smith, Martell Webster, etc.)

  5. I know it was a great team effort and a great W and all… but… A for everyone? Huh? I definitely saw room for improvement in nearly everyone’s game last night. Zaza was a beast all night, deserving of his grade, I thought. Knight was fantastic… Mayo was solid (maybe a B). Giannis was very good and brings constant energy when he’s on the floor. Larry had a good game, Middleton was great off the bench. BUT… As good as Jabari played early, his 4th quarter was not good… As they were trying to work the clock down, he took at least 2 ill advised shots, early in the shot clock, that really could have come back to haunt the Bucks (and WILL come back to haunt the Bucks against better teams). Ersan was lousy… again (he is not on this team to score 2 points and grab 2 boards… sorry).

    I think this was arguably one of their better games of the year, and they seemed to control the game in the second half, which is great to see… it shows confidence is building. But a few times this year, last night included, they hit the wall midway through the 4th quarter, where they stop moving, can’t create or hit a shot, and have difficulty putting teams away. Luckily, Knight bailed us out with a couple of HUGE 3’s late, but I think their tendency to hit the wall shows that there’s still significant room for improvment…. and it’s going to cost them some games this year, unless they can figure out who is going to step forward and control the floor, offensively, late in games when defenses tighten up.

  6. Yippee?

    So far this season we’ve beaten three severely depleted teams in the Heat, Thunder, and Pacers; one team winless to this point in the Sixers, and one solid team in the Grizzlies.

    Is this one of those 8th seed or bust seasons for the Bucks? Maybe if we trade John and Khris and Kendall away for some midlevel veterans, we can aspire for a 6th seed? I’m already tingling with excitement thinking about the thrills that await us as we surge toward the prized goal of 40 wins and recover our glory days of stagnant mediocrity.

    • Boy. Maybe exhibit a little patience, they’re literally 10 games into this 100% complete rebuild. They weren’t even supposed to be competing for a playoff spot yet. My lord.

    • Holy crap man R-E-L-A-X, I think the improvements this year already are striking compared to last year. Would you be happier if the Bucks were losing these games? Young players need to learn to win close games and hold leads and yesterday was a great job of just that against a very veteran team. Yeah they didn’t have Wade but Bosh and Deng are still all stars so it isn’t as if this team was a complete pushover, not to mention the fact it was a road game. With the improvement of Giannis since last year would being the 8 seed be so bad? The young Bucks get a taste of the playoffs looking forward to Jabari’s year two improvement and hopefully Knight’s continued maturation into a go to guy and final piece of our own “big 3” with Jabari and Giannis. I’m thrilled with how this season has gone, the defense and overall effort the guys are putting in clearly indicate that Kidd is getting through to them in ways Larry Drew was not able to. We are rebuilding but winning games is never a bad thing as long as its our young guys carrying the water along the way. Just my humble opinion. Go Bucks!!

  7. Good fans can disagree, but I’m concerned that the facade of success will lead to a continued over-reliance on middling vets to the diminishment or exclusion of John, Kendall and Khris. I’m concerned that the Bucks won’t reach their potential of greatness and will settle instead for a cheap and cheesy version of a true winning team. I’m concerned that our novice coach may not know what he’s doing and am not willing to wait while he wastes talent and character. I’m concerned that the lesson of the Tobias fiasco has not been learned.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not dazzled, nor much impressed, nor even content, with our current standing; rather, I find myself troubled by the way our team is going. Maybe I’m the only one.

    • Just because the players YOU like aren’t fueling the team’s success doesn’t mean that it’s not valid. The team’s 3 leading players are all under the age of 24. They’re not relying on middling vets, no matter how many times you try to say it. Sorry the guys you’re so invested in aren’t turning out to be what you want them to, though I am interested to see how you continue to blame other people for them not earning playing time and dismiss the success of guys like Giannis and Jabari that will actually be difference-makers.

    • We can’t sit and worry about another Tobias episode… none of us is paid to do that, so why bother? That fiasco was all on Hammond, mistakenly thinking it was worthwhile to make an acquisition for a go-nowhere playoff push. HOPEFULLY… lesson learned. I think part of what makes this team compelling right now is that so many different guys are contributing on any given night. We haven’t had many 20+ point scorers this season, and I think that’s a great sign that the team is buying into the idea that it doesn’t MATTER who gets the credit, as long as the group gets the job done. That’s the sign of an unselfish, team first bunch… and I like it… a LOT. It reminds me a lot of the mid-80’s Bucks that we’d all love to have again! When injuries mount this season (and they will), the guys that are sitting now are going to need to be ready to contribute. Look at Wolters… perfect example. And the same idea applies to Henson and Marshall. They will get their time this season, and they need to stay ready for it… no pouting, no trade begging… the best thing they can do for themselves right now is practice hard, be ready, and be professional.

      Also… “middling vet” is misleading… Mayo is good example. The guy is only 26 years old. Middleton is what… 25? Zaza is maybe the one guy who fits that label, at 30 years old, but he’s played great the past 5 games. It’s not like we’ve got a bunch of Derek Fishers on the squad… these are still young guys who still have a lot of time in this league if / when they find their game and live up to their potential. So, if they find it while on our team? Awesome!

    • Well, so far it would seem like you are the only one. Our “novice” coach has guys busting their asses on defense and in general playing team basketball. Kendall has been cut by 3 teams and piled up empty stats on a horrible Lakers team that went through 18 point guards last year. He doesn’t defend well which earns you a seat on the bench on this Bucks team. Khris was a %32 three point shooter in college that suddenly turned into Ray Allen last year, regression is likely and probably drastically so. His defense is average and when you are shooting %25 from three your value tanks. Who knows what’s going on with Henson, he made two horrific turnovers in 3 minutes last night, but defense was supposed to be his strong point. I’d personally rather see Henson get the backup minutes at the 4 and 5 but only if he’s earning those minutes in practice.. Plus the way ZaZa has played the past week + he has earned his time. The only players that truly matter on this team are Brandon, Giannis and Jabari, the rest are unlikely to be here long term so I really don’t care if they get tons of minutes or not. The only other player on this team that offers an elite skill set is Larry (defense) and he’s locked up long term. The rest of the guys are easily replaceable when the core is ready to win.

    • TheLastoftheBucksFans

      Let it go man. Tobias is gone and he’s never coming back. With the teams lack of offense and emphasis on defense, does Marshall really fit in? This begs the question…why did we even acquire him?

  8. Well, it’s good to get the discussion, even if the disagreement is somewhat overwhelming.

    As I wrote, good fans can differ, although I’m surprised by the resounding vote of confidence in our coach and management.

    When John Henson gets an insulting 3 minutes in a game, and is generally treated like a scrub, have we really learned the lesson of Tobias?

    If the only players fans care about are Giannis and Jabari, and maybe Brandon, what message does that send to the rest of the players? Can we really be a great team with that outlook? Can we really be great fans?

    If the offense is struggling in general, and especially at the end of games, doesn’t that at least raise concerns about our situation at point guard? Kendall was a recent lottery pick who set a record for assists in a season in the prestigious ACC, and showed lots of promise with the Lakers last season — should we never give him a fair chance with the Bucks?

    Should we just accept that everything that Jason Kidd decides is good and true without question?

    If that’s the consensus, then I really am in the minority — but I’ll stay where I’m at, anyway. I’ll be the coach Norman Dale who says the process is flawed, the modest gains are deceptive, and the future ceiling rather low. That may sound stubborn, or arrogant, but actually, I’d be elated for other fans to join me. I’ll only go it alone if it’s necessary.

    • Henson and Middleton NEED — and deserve — minutes. While it would be nice to see Marshall get an extended run I don’t see how he warrants the uproar. It certainly isn’t fair that Middleton rides pine when Jared “I totally suck without Steve Nash, and am flat-footed) Dudley is playing so damn much. Does anyone really care if Zaza plays 20-30 minutes on this team? I like him, and I think he’s a good locker room guy similar to what Kurt Thomas was in 2010, but he’s old and won’t be a part of any meaningful future. He doesn’t have to play. If Henson truly is a lazy-ass (as I’ve heard someone mention before, but don’t know if it’s substantiated) then Kidd should bench him, if not, he MUST play. Kidd has the boys playing well, though, and that deserves some praise, but Bayless, Zaza and Ilyasova are not at all noticeably better than any of the aforementioned players, so why play them? If we lose Henson (who apparently was “untouchable” just a year ago) or Middleton who’s been or at least was lights out from beyond the arc and has a freaking steal of a contract at just under 800k, are moved I’ll be royally pissed off.

    • Your complaints are confusing, to say the least.

      For one, while the Tobias trade at the time was undoubtedly bad, I think the Giannis/Parker acquisitions more than make up for it. Tobias has his big games here and there, but there’s nothing to indicate that he’s going to be an superstar or even All Star caliber player. Meanwhile, Giannis is showing tremendous progression this year, and Parker has had his good moments as well, even if he hasn’t dominated quite as much as people expected coming out of college.

      I really can’t say much about Henson’s minutes at this point. I don’t necessarily agree with Kidd, but the problem is that he still hasn’t shown he can play the center position effectively, and Kidd tends to run a lot of small ball lineups which means Henson is kind of the odd man out.

      In any case, it’s unfair to suggest the Bucks are going back to their old ways, gunning for the eighth seed and trading/playing veterans blah blah blah. What this team needs right now is confidence, both in themselves as well as the team going forward. Winning games can make a big difference in that regard.

      The East is in a sad enough state that we may very well make the playoffs. My guess is that the team will falter down the stretch and go through the same growing pains that most young teams go through. I’ll also guess that injuries will come into play which will force guys like Henson and Marshall to get minutes and show what they can do. For now, relax and enjoy the ride.

  9. A couple things:

    Swisch — Obviously Knight, Jabari and Giannis aren’t the ONLY players that we care about. But they are definitely the most important. Their extraordinary youth and potential are the reason that the Bucks adapted the slogan “Own the Future” with those 3 in every picture they post with it.

    To whoever said Middleton is 25, he actually recently turned 23. He was a potential lottery pick but a knee(?) injury derailed that and pushed him into the early second round. He doesn’t have the ceiling of the others, but his height and length at SG/SF are definitely a plus. He’s a cheap, solid role player and would be a great starter if he can return to form. Don’t complain about him not getting minutes when he’s in the injury report. He’s been labeled “out” for a while. He got huge minutes the first couple games before that, and I’d expect him to get minutes when he gets healthy.

    DUDLEY SHOULD NOT GET ANY MINUTES. He’s slow, unathletic, and his only real value is as a shooter, but can’t hit anything. Maybe a veteran leader? Locker room presence? Doesn’t need court time for that. He’s derailing any possible trade value he may have, and taking minutes from our plethora of young players under 24/25.

    Also, I love Jason Kidd because I think he’s rubbing off on Brandon Knight. Kidd was a great rebounder for a guard, suddenly Knight becomes a rebounder? Kidd was a fantastic passer, and a leader. Suddenly Knight becomes a leader and improves his passing? I don’t think Knight will ever become a true point guard, but if there’s a year to continue to experiment with it, its this year. Great PG as the coach, rebuilding team, relative talents around him. Now he just has to earn it.

    That’s all I got. Go bucks!