Bumbling win against the bumblebees: Bucks 104 – Hornets 94

Milwaukee Bucks 104 Recap | Box Score 94 Charlotte Hornets
Khris Middleton, PF 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -1

Credit the combination of Jason Kidd and Khris Middleton for turning Khris into a solid defender this year. It’s a big improvement over last year, when he looked lost in Larry Drew’s impotent scheme. Middleton looks equally comfortable trapping on the ball, rotating, and closing out on shooters. The team’s defensive rating when he is on the court is 97.8, the third-best mark on the team.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -11

The Bucks played their poorest when O’Bryant was in the game in the first half. After he left, they went on a 43-18 run for the rest of the half. It’s not a coincidence, folks. In the second half, he had a drive where he spun into a finely formed hook shot.

Zaza Pachulia, C 28 MIN | 6-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -5

Steady play in Larry Sanders’ absence.

Brandon Knight, PG 36 MIN | 8-19 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 8 TO | 18 PTS | +10

Knight’s 18/4/4/4 line looks great on paper, but his overdribbling and decision-making has wreaked havoc on his own offense. He gets a bit of extra credit for committing 0 of his 8 turnovers in overtime.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 35 MIN | 7-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +1

Starts at small forward, plays the fourth quarter at center, runs the offensive sets in overtime. Racked up a 16/8/4/3 box score line while only missing one shot and only amassing a single turnover in 35 minutes. He appeared to tweak his ankle in the first half on a play where he scored on a spinning move in the paint, but returned late in the 2nd quarter.

John Henson, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +22

For the second consecutive game, Henson blocked 5 shots, and they were of the best kind: the ones where he tracked the ball and moved to it appropriately. Henson had a great stint in the first half, other than floating up a pair of softies that Bismack Biyombo swatted away. It seemed like Kidd was timing his stints to keep him away from Al Jefferson, but in the 4th quarter he got that matchup by playing well enough to give Kidd no other choice. He racked up a +/- rating of +22 in 20 minutes played, and not coincidentally. Oh, yes, don’t forget that he had 5 key points in overtime. Also: see below.

Kendall Marshall, PG 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +11

Between Knight and Bayless, the whole taking Marshall out of the starting lineup didn’t look like the greatest decision, but perhaps the Bucks’ defense would not have had its moments of effectiveness with a smallish Kendall/Brandon backcourt.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 18 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -8

He is usually a better antidote on the nights when Bad Brandon Knight shows up, but not in this game.

Jared Dudley, SG 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +22

He had 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in the first half in 16 minutes, while only missing one shot. He was part of a well-timed two-man trap with Knight that forced Kemba Walker into a turnover at the end of regulation. Led the Bucks in rebounds.

O.J. Mayo, SG 34 MIN | 3-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +9

He hit a buzzer-beating three to end the 3rd quarter that bumped the lead back to 7 when the Bucks were wilting fastest, but for the most part, he was creating offense for himself and it was ending with some flat jumpers.

Jason Kidd
Didn’t like the Marshall return to the bench, but I liked the hard trap at the end of regulation and letting Henson try to guard Jefferson in the fourth quarter.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Not to heap too much praise from one game, or more accurately, the last 2.5 games, but Henson’s free throw stroke suddenly looks repeatable and reliable.
  2. It baffles me a bit that Knight brings up the ball in transition as much as he does when sharing the court with Giannis. Why not let Giannis do it? Giannis better at getting to the rim and finishing, better at passing, and Knight is better at hitting the catch-and-shoots that would result from the attention Giannis would attract.
  3. Henson did a lot of little things, like here when he brought the help defense, reversed course quickly, and fouled Biyombo to stop a layup. Biyombo missed both free throws, saving the Bucks an important two points.


Categories: Recaps



  1. Couldn’t agree more with point #2.

    And honestly, in general, I feel like it’s becoming more and more obvious to everyone that Knight is at his best when he’s playing off the ball. He’s incredibly active in terms of following shots, making cuts, etc. and he’s much better both scoring the ball and setting up others when he can catch the ball and shoot or just rip to the hoop without having to dribble around first.

    He should really only be handling the ball 50% of the time at the absolute most, especially considering Giannis, Bayless, Marshall, and occasionally Zaza are all capable of initiating the team’s offense.

  2. I’m considering leaving the exact same email the rest of the season until the Bucks wake up. Here it is: Brandon Knight IS NOT a point guard. You’re welcome – Happy holidays.