Win by suffocation: Bucks 103 – Wolves 86

Milwaukee Bucks 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
86 Minnesota Timberwolves
Jabari Parker, SF 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +9

Sometimes he seems so strong on some of his dunks and drives. Milwaukee’s needed that in a wing for years, and between he and Giannis, they appear to be lousy with strong, athletic wing types. He had a drive in the fourth quarter where he took a slap on the arm from Chase Budinger and retained control of the ball, which he half dunked/half threw through the rim. When we see these kinds of move from him and we see his post-up moves it’s apparent how strong he is. As his game from three and the free throw line grows, he’ll be a lot of fun.

Larry Sanders, C 28 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | +14

As layup after tip-in rolled out of of the rim for Sanders early on this season, it seemed like there was some unseen force hampering Sanders. He couldn’t really continue to miss every shot from within three feet of the hoop, could he? Nah, he couldn’t. His finishing game was strong against the Wolves and he stayed within his limits.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 8.00.11 AM

More dunks than usual and he’s blocked 10 shots in his past three games too. Fun.

Brandon Knight, PG 30 MIN | 3-11 FG | 8-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +15

The one three he made was a horrible and difficult shot. But it went in, off the dribble, with the Bucks holding onto a one point lead. Perhaps that was the spark he needed. After his three made it an 87-83 game, he scored 10 of Milwaukee’s next 13 points, with eight coming from the line. His attacks worked and he helped Milwaukee close out a tight game rather than hamper them. It seemed to be a positiveĀ development that Knight was crucial to Milwaukee’s success rather than just around for it.

I should mention that the Wolves were in the bonus, which is a perfect situation for a guard like Knight.

O.J. Mayo, SG 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 10 PTS | +11

He banked in a long two, so let’s bump his grade up one partial letter grade.

Aside from that fun shot, Mayo gives the Bucks a real play making dimension with his curl and scan the situation game. The offense has looked much more smooth with him involved with Knight, Giannis and Jabari of late. Milwaukee’s going to consistently be a strong transition team, so long as they force turnovers and have all these guys that like to run out off them. But they have needed someone to help them figure it out in the half court. That may be where Mayo comes in.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 26 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +10

It seemed like Giannis couldn’t go more than a a possession or two without making a play in the first quarter. He had five rebounds in the game’s first five minutes! He had a few other moments, where he appeared to lose balance or control, but because of his length and athleticism, he was able to pull himself together and make a play – once an assist to Parker and once an assist to Sanders. His impact was a bit more muted the rest of the way, but the first quarter was especially fun.

Khris Middleton, PF 19 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +6

After struggling with his shot lately, Middleton made half of his shots and one of his two 3-pointers. His effort on the other end is fairly consistent each night, so a lot of the fluctuation of value is tied to making shots. He did so against Minnesota.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF 12 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +8

At one point, Ersan drove to the hoop, hung in the air and converted a layup in which he jumped from one side of the hoop and landed on the other. I felt like the particular set of natural laws that apply to him were broken for a moment. Maybe he was just feeling it, as he has been of late.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | +2

It seemed he was advertised as a bit more of a scorer when he came to Milwaukee, but he’s been a perfectly fine caretaker of games as a backup point guard. I thought of him more as as shooting guard who moonlighted as a point guard, based on the stats and productivity he had prior to this stint, but he’s been exactly what a team wants in a backup point guard.

Jared Dudley, SG 20 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +7

Making shots!

Jason Kidd
His move of Mayo into the starting lineup has paid dividends, as the Bucks offense has looked much better over the past two games. If it helps get the offense going and get Middleton going in a reserve role, it could be the long term shot in the arm this offense needs.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee’s defense was great for the final six minutes of the fourth quarter. No drive by the Wolves ended with less than two players cutting off the lane at the rim. The Timberwolves had to make extra passes and take more difficult shots on almost every possession. Also, the Bucks forced five turnovers and blocked a couple shots. It was as good as the Bucks defense, which is pretty good, has been.
  2. The Bucks are now 9-7 and will, at worst, finish November with a .500 record. And since I know people have had fun with this lately: The Bucks won game 9 on February 5 of last season, in game 49.

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4 Comments

  1. Some good things going on with the Bucks, but still uneasy about the situation at point guard and the ratio of minutes and shots our veterans are getting compared to younger players.

    It does seem as though O.J. is exhibiting a good all-around game; and he might be good for the starting lineup;, and I wish him well. In this game, however, he was really lousy, shooting 2-10 until hitting a meaningless garbage three near the end, and losing 5 turnovers, plus getting a technical foul. Maybe I missed some of the good stuff, which is quite possible, but he seemed terrible for this particular game.

    I’m also encouraged that Khris is developing a nice all-around game to go with his outside shooting, passing the ball nicely and taking the ball to the hoop with the dribble. Although he isn’t as polished as O.J., he’s also a couple or a few years younger. He’s also been shuffled around a bit with his playing time and perhaps unsettled, which might account for some of his shooting slump, which I regard as temporary, anyway.

    This all speaks to the dilemma for the Bucks. I like our vets, but once again the question is how many of them do you play, and how many minutes, and when in the game? Out of O.J. and Jared and Jerryd, I’d pick one or two of them to keep, and put Kendall on the court for a trial. As far as John Henson, when he comes back, I don’t think we can keep telling him, in effect, to wait for guys to get traded or injured.

    I know we have some good young guys who are playing major minutes in Brandon, Giannis, Jabari and Larry, but I don’t want to neglect and waste any of our young talent, namely Khris, John, Kendall and Nate. It seems as though we’ve had a ridiculously easy schedule, and our record is still only a couple of games above even; that’s a great improvement from last year, but not so much better than our mediocrities of other recent seasons. I realize our veterans can be an important asset, but let’s not let modest success, although understandably exciting, blind us to weaknesses and questions with the team.

    I’m not willing to settle; I want the Bucks to be their best. To become a really elite team, we have to make good decisions about all of our players and build a total team of cohesiveness and excellence going into the future.

  2. It wouldn’t be called Sad But True it would be called “WAAAAHHHH John Kendal Khris and Nate Don’t Play Enough WAAAAAAH!” Seriously man, quit your crying about these four. Henson has made ZERO improvement from last season and is likely as good as he is going to get. Khris plays plenty already, Kendal has been washed out by 3 teams already and cant defend and Nate’s ceiling is a backup point guard. These aren’t guys that are going to make this franchise into a contender, they are just pieces of a puzzle

  3. How about this?: While the starters lingered in minus territory for the game, the reserves who played with Kendall soared into the range of +20. The Piston defenders were left defenseless to follow a basketball that was whistling around the court like a faint whisper, or a fleeting memory, or even a breath of fresh air.