Still 0.500: Clippers 106 — Bucks 102

Milwaukee Bucks 102 Recap | Box Score 106 Los Angeles Clippers
Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 6 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -7

When Jabari Parker got hurt, it obviously harmed the long-term objectives being built this season. At the same time though, I was expecting the defense to improve without Jabari’s rookie mistakes. Desperate for healthy bigs, the Bucks have started another rookie at power forward for the last two games, and the start-of-halves defense is getting off to even shakier starts than they did with Parker. Asking him to defend Blake Griffin is a lot.

Larry Sanders, C 26 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1

There were definitely glimmers of the Good Larry in this game: lots of soft finishes and dunks from close to the rim, and on defense, he alternated between 75% plays where he stayed vertical while contesting shots and 25% plays where he brought his arms down and fouled. On one possession, Blake Griffin tried to post him up and Sanders poked a deflection before hitting the floor to collect the ball.

Brandon Knight, PG 27 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -5

He is still averaging about a play a quarter where you just wonder about the whole point guard thing. And then he’ll look fine for the rest of the quarter. But when his shots are falling with regularity, it’s not terribly pretty.

O.J. Mayo, SG 23 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -4

Mayo wasn’t doing much for the offense, and on the other end, J.J. Redick was taking it to him a bit (or more).

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 38 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -12

The Bucks were using him more as a screener in the pick and roll, and that usage actually helped him as a passer. The finishes are sure to come shortly. It was fun to watch Jamal Crawford cower in transition when Giannis was between him and the rim. To fully round out his game, Giannis just needed a tad more aggression attacking the rim, especially when guarded by Clipper bigs.

Khris Middleton, PF 24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -1

There was one play where he was embarrassingly late chasing Redick around a screen, but for the most part, he knows where he is supposed to be in Jason Kidd’s scheme and he executes it really well.

Zaza Pachulia, C 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -4Pachulia is a good mucker, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis is a bad mucker. One would hope that Pachulia would be able to exploit his talent advantage, but that’s not how it works when two muckers are paired up.

Kendall Marshall, PG 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +2

At the end of the first half, it was his job to guard Chris Paul and, while Paul won the matchup to be sure, Marshall was shooting and passing well enough to keep it close. He continues to make a home in the low post on the right block; tonight it was his favorite spot when he had Jordan Farmar guarding him.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 28 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -1

His shooting touch has really been incredible this year, as has his willingness to do the pesky stuff on defense like moving his feet to stay with ballhanders. In this game, he was going well before he got a little sticky with the ball in the fourth quarter.

Jared Dudley, SG 30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +11

The Jared Dudley Revenge Game had everything you could want except for a win. He was the best hope for the Bucks at power forward on both ends. Shortly after coming into the game in the first quarter, Dudley coerced Blake Griffin into a 1-on-1 miss in transition before nailing a 3-pointer on the other end.

Jason Kidd
The Bucks were throwing hard double teams at Blake Griffin, and the resulting swarms led to some trapping action and a couple of offensive fouls from Griffin trying to make space. Another positive: the Bucks have done a good job rotating behind their ball pressure. When vets are out there, they are making quick decisions and flying around on defense.

Four Things We Saw

    1. Down by two points with 48 seconds left, the Bucks went small out of a timeout and failed to score. They forced a miss by Los Angeles on the other end, but the Giannis/Knight/Dudley/Middleton/Bayless lineup really had no chance of keeping DeAndre Jordan and Griffin off the offensive glass (and they didn’t). Late game offense with Bayless and Knight at the controls also tends to get iso-heavy.
    2. The Bucks were throwing hard double teams at Blake Griffin and the resulting swarm led to some trapping action and a couple of offensive fouls from Griffin trying to make space.
    3. The Clippers have a truly terrible bench. The Bucks took advantage in the first half, but didn’t exploit the situation in the second half. Bad bench play is going to come back to bite the Clips in the buttocks in the postseason.
    4. Don’t take your eye off him, Blake.

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  1. The iso at the end troubles me whether it be Bayless or Knight. I thought they had some success posting up Dudley or Middleton earlier on, why not go to that again? Anyway as Kidd said, to take a Top West team to the finish in their own barn is pretty good.

  2. As much as I’d love to just move the ball and get a good look at the ends of games, it seems like Kidd wants us running these iso/ball screen sets, whether it be Knight, Bayless, or Giannis handling the ball at the end. Having said that, we got the look we wanted IMO with Blake Griffin switching onto Knight. Knight just didn’t make the shot this time. It happens.

    At this point I think it’s pretty obvious that Knight is not a primary ball-handler type of PG. I still think he’s a good fit for this team though when you consider the fact that Kidd clearly wants a center that can pass and have two wings that project as guys that are able to initiate offense in Giannis and Jabari. I think Knight is a perfect fit for that system, and I hope we re-sign him as long as it’s not like $14+ million a year.

    At the same time, I wouldn’t mind if we let Knight go and just focused on the other 4 positions and just found a cheap 3 and D kinda PG that can play a Mario Chalmers type role.

      • Yeah, basically, but Jackson will for sure be getting paid this off-season, much like Knight. Ideally it would be someone we get on a rookie contract like OKC got with Jackson and Houston basically got with Beverly.

        Price-wise, I think Beverly could still be attainable for that kinda role. Not sure how much he’ll get paid on the market whenever he’s a free agent.

      • Knight>Jackson imo, Jackson isn’t a good 3-ball shooter for sure, better finisher and maybe better midrange, but the same warts as with Knight and maybe worse. As for beverley I’d be worried that he’s the product of a good team, all he is asked to do in Houston is to shoot 3s(.618 3PAr)and play D, his Usage rate is about 15 career. You would really need a dynamic 2 guard to play with Beverley imo