|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.
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 positive 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
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
- 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.
- 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.