|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 6 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3
He looked good! O’Bryant only played the first six minutes of the game, but dammit, he gave the team a fairly productive six minutes. He takes extra steps on defense when he’s trying to corral ball-handlers in the pick and roll, but that’s to be expected of a rookie playing his third game, more than 20 games into the season. He connected on a jumper and posted up for a short hook that swished through the net. On offense, he looked capable.
|Larry Sanders, C 27 MIN | 1-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | +2
Sanders was 1-6 within five feet of the rim, including a missed dunk, which just makes me feel for him. He has been horrible from this distance all season. Within five feet, there are only six centers with worse shooting percentages than him and three of them, Robin Lopez, Donatas Montejuans and Greg Monroe, can at least step out to 10-feet and be a threat. He is not valuable at the rim or away from it and that’s why he drags down Milwaukee’s offense so significantly. He’s still an important rebounder and defender in Milwaukee’s overall grand scheme, but man, he’s killing them on offense.
|Brandon Knight, PG 34 MIN | 13-21 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 34 PTS | -8
It’s hard not to give Brandon Knight a good grade, almost as hard as trying to figure out just how much he’s contributing to Milwaukee’s success. He again seemed to feel the burden of producing all of Milwaukee’s points, as over and over he attacked and shot without looking too much to set up his teammates or move the ball around the court. His focus is always on the rim, rather than on making sure the ball moves from side to side, which could lead to openings. He did a great job of scoring, no question. But the Bucks lost and few of his teammates seemed to play well.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 21 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -4
His only 3-pointer came on an incredibly quick catch and shoot, as quick as I’ve seen Mayo get a shot off. He’s only made about 31% of his threes this year, so it was fun to see such a smooth attempt from him. Outside of that three, Mayo didn’t make too much of an impact.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 35 MIN | 3-4 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -6
He stood idly by while Knight controlled the Milwaukee offense, at least until late in the game. The two of them seemed to find a bit of synergy late, as Giannis found Knight for a nice layup on one of his few drives in the fourth quarter. But basically Milwaukee’s offense largely didn’t feature a huge role for its most efficient player on Tuesday night, until he started grabbing rebounds in the fourth quarter and pushing the ball up the court.
|Khris Middleton, PF 20 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -10
Somehow his net offensive and defensive rating on the night was -32, which seems preposterous and indicates he was stuck on the court with a bad lineup. But on a night when Milwaukee’s offense wasn’t moving the ball, Middleton certainly didn’t get as many shots as would be ideal, given how successful he was with the shots he did get.
Watching him run a pick and roll early in the fourth quarter, which led to him turning the ball over when attempting a pocket pass, served as a reminder of the clear distinction between him and Giannis. He can find some ways to score and he can do a gentle amount of his own shot creation, but he certainly doesn’t provide Milwaukee another mass creation for teammates option.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 16 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -1
In his return, Ilyasova lobbed shot after shot at the front of the rim, indicating there was some rust to be knocked off after missing the previous nine games.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 17 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -7
His passes didn’t seem to come as accurate or with as much frequency against the Hornets. The ball stuck to him a little bit and he didn’t contribute all that much either as a scorer or a defender.
|Kendall Marshall, PG 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +1
Marshall did a lot of typical good Marshall things, like move the ball and facilitate ball movement from one side of the court to the other. The biggest difference on Tuesday between the offense that’s operated very effectively with Marshall of late and the one that struggled on Tuesday simply seemed to be his teammates missing some shots. 84% of the time Marshall touched the ball on Tuesday, he passed it, which seems like a very Kendall Marshall night.
|Jared Dudley, SG 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -6
He’s hitting about 40% of his threes on the season and scoring when there are opportunities for him, which is exactly what he did on Tuesday.
Milwaukee held a players only meeting after the game, apparently to discuss the team’s effort. They did seem lethargic on offense and a bit less willing to make extra passes. But if this team’s standard is so high that one shaky performance has them trying to regroup, that seems like a positive reflection of Kidd and his staff’s values.
Three Things We Saw
- Honestly, it was hard to focus on anything other than Brandon Knight in this game. The ball was almost always in his hands while he was in the game and the rest of Milwaukee’s offense didn’t seem to be operating with the same sharpness of late. The ball wasn’t moving, extra passes weren’t being made. All of that doesn’t rest on Knight, but this was not his finest evening in terms of operating as a leader looking to get the best out of his teammates.
- At one point late in the game, Kidd had both Giannis and Larry Sanders defend the inbounder, which is something I’ve never seen and something that’s interesting, given all the length of those two. It didn’t work, as Marvin Williams lobbed the pass into the backcourt and a waiting Gerald Henderson. Kidd thought Williams was too far back and he wasn’t thrilled about it. I like innovation, so I applaud the general effort to try something new.
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