Two wins is too much to ask: Hawks 90 – Bucks 85

Atlanta Hawks 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Milwaukee Bucks
Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 8 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -15

An eagerness to shoot, without much accuracy and few contributions as a rebounder or defender, makes for a tough night.

Zaza Pachulia, C 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -4

Many of his minutes seemed to come with the bench unit that moves the ball with more success and that really plays to Pachulia’s strengths. He was an important factor on the glass for Milwaukee (Atlanta had 17 offensive boards, so Zaza was practically the only one closing out possessions) and proved to be a capable deterrent, as players were just 2-for-7 at the rim against Zaza according to NBA.com/stats. If he’s able to be three quarters of the defender Larry Sanders is and he contributes like he does on offense, he’s way more effective.

Brandon Knight, PG 27 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -28

It’s not difficult to understand why the Bucks struggle late in game offensively. They’re essentially relying on Lou Williams 5000, while the Hawks were able to work the ball around between Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap.

Kendall Marshall, PG 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -25

A lot of Marshall’s success is tied to execution by his teammates. He puts them in good spots and they have to come through with a basket. The Bucks shot 17% in the first quarter, so his teammates did him no favors. When they’re struggling and can’t finish, that’s where it’d be nice if Marshall could take a few paragraphs out of the Book of Brandon Knight and try to create a little bit more with dribble penetration, but he’s lacking in that area.

Marshall looked like he might sit the whole fourth quarter, but Kidd went back to him with three to play in a two point game. Marshall proceeded to miss a three and turn it over on a pick and roll, bringing the Bucks back down six. Not his finest night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | -29

Again and again he attacked into a sea of awaiting Hawks defenders. They had done their homework. No one bothered to place much pressure on Giannis when he caught the ball. They waited for him to attack, took charges and/or made his shots difficult. He countered by trying to get in the post a couple of times, but his next progression is catching and shooting.

Khris Middleton, PF 37 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +14

Everything he gave to the Bucks on Saturday night was absolutely needed. His shooting was strong and his movement unceasing. When he had good looks, he fired away. When he didn’t, he kept the ball moving and found a new spot.

John Henson, C 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +1

Blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. Henson did both very well in his first half stint. He was active and making a difference. When he re-entered in the second half, his impact was more muted. Given Milwaukee’s struggles to rebound on the night, it would have been interested to see Henson and Zaza share the court at some point.

And when the Bucks struggled, they didn’t look to Henson inside at all, as they often used to, unless they were trying to throw him a lob. A few post touches for Henson wouldn’t be an awful thing now and then. His minutes were there, but he still felt a bit underutilized.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 30 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +25

He was probably Milwaukee’s best point guard on the night, which is something we’ve been able to say about Bayless way more often than I expected coming into the season. Bayless doesn’t have the same instinct to take over the game at all costs like Knight sometimes does, but he’s also capable of creating more for himself than Marshall. His overall skills as a scorer and a passer are significantly weaker than his respective teammates, but Bayless has enough of everything to pick up the slack when the other guys aren’t contributing so much.

Jared Dudley, SG 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +18

Coming off one of the greatest nights of all time, a 10-10 FG (4-4 3FG) night, Dudley looked decidedly more human. What a surprise. But the Dudley-Bayless combination continues to swing games back in favor of the Bucks: +131 on the season.

O.J. Mayo, SG 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +18

The bench may better suit Mayo, which could just mean he’s better off playing alongside players other than Brandon Knight. Mayo had a very generically good game, except for that one block. He skied up on an open Paul Millsap and rejected him at the rim, a play equal parts awesome and unexpected.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF DNP CONCUSSION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Concussion.

Larry Sanders, C DNP ILLNESS MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Flu.

Jason Kidd
I have no idea what grade to give Kidd. He seems to be doing a fine job and none of his game management decisions were too puzzling. Marshall struggled, so he rode more Bayless. Middleton was hot, so he played 37 minutes. Henson looked capable, so he got two runs in the second half. But, the Hawks are pretty good, so they made more plays and won the game.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks scored 10 points and shot 17% in the first quarter. That they even were in the game and were able to make this a toss-up with three minutes to play was something of a feat. Milwaukee’s starters rarely seem to set them up well for success, which speaks to the still needed talent infusion on this roster.
  2. Nights where Giannis plays less than 20 minutes make me nearly fall asleep watching this team. Yeah, they play hard and move the ball well and are actually a solid group to watch – but my idea of #OwnTheFuture does involve copious amounts of Jerryd Bayless, Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachulia and OJ Mayo.
  3. Milwaukee’s been living in the paint a lot this season and outscoring teams there with regularity, but an inability to finish shots and a rash of turnovers near the hoop contributed to an Atlanta 42-30 lead on points in the paint.

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7 Comments

  1. Henson definitely did not deserve a B last night. This is the same Henson who refuses to bang in the paint and box out his opponents. Hell, as I’m typing this Demarre Carrol probably ran around him for another rebound…

  2. This seems to be a very good recap of a game that was tough to evaluate — just how did the Bucks stay in this game, anyway?

    I agree that it was not Kendall’s finest hour; but having said that, he generally seemed to play decent basketball; and I wish that Jason Kidd would’ve stuck with him longer to allow him more of a chance to work things out on the court. We’ve got to let these young guys have a chance to play through their ups and downs, as long as they’re playing hard (which seems to be the case just about all of the time), and are not being overwhelmed on the court (as perhaps Johnny O’Bryant might be on occasion, at least for his first month or so).

    These choppy rotations and unpredictable substitutions can be good for keeping guys ready on the bench, but I think they can also be hard on guys trying to get into the flow of the game, and maybe looking over their shoulders at the scorer’s table if they make a mistake or two. None of our young guys are without a flaw or two in their games, but it’s important to let them get their minutes with some consistency and continuity.

    Kidd does seem to stick with his veterans — like he has with O.J. during his terrible shooting slump over the past month or so — and he should stick with his young guys even more. As Jeremy seemed to say in #2 above, the Mayo-Dudley-Bayless-Pachulia thing can easily be overdone, plus I’ll add Ers, too. When those guys are playing well, it’s even more of a predicament, because I wonder who among them will be with the team past this season or the next. Our vets have done some nice things with the Bucks, and to an extent can be very valuable this season, but let’s not get carried away with their minutes to the detriment of developing our younger guys.

    As far as our starters, I really like the combination of Kendall and Brandon at the guards. We could probably use another outside shooter in the mix, though, which might call for Khris as a starter at small forward. This is something to watch and ponder in the near future.

    • Is he really pulling them after they make mistakes though? Perhaps later int he game there’s some of that, but stakes are high at that point. Early in the game, there seems to be a pretty consistent pattern where guys come out after X amount of time rather than after a bad play.

  3. It seems as though Kidd usually has a really quick hook for Kendall all this season — including all three times Kendall was on the court last night — and also for John — who has had some truly miniscule appearances under Kidd. Khris also seems to get relatively short stints compared to the vets if he isn’t knocking down shots right away.

    Plus all three of these younger guys have usually been the last off the bench, with the last couple of games being exceptions. Kidd seems to lean much more heavily toward his veterans than to this trio. I realize that Khris, John and Kendall are not considered to be the stuff that stars are made of, but I think there’s more to them than meets the eye (and as I writer this, I’m thinking of the Spurs with Leonard, Green, and Mills).

    In any case, I think it would be really smart to give this threesome each about 24 minutes a game, night in and night out, so that we can see what we’ve got. My hunch is that we have one, or two, or maybe even three, nice surprises in that triad.

    • Switch, it’s getting old. Even though the vets clearly outplayed our young guys last night, Kidd went with a line-up of: Marshall, Knight, Middleton, Giannis and Henson. And they blew it after the Vets (and Middleton) brought is back. Middleton was a huge part of why we were in this game last night, and he was rewarded with ample minutes. If he’s not effective as a shooter and a scorer, he’ll play less. It’s simple coaching and Kidd is doing a great job.

      • Perhaps I’m overdoing it, but your comments, Avid — most respectfully — are an illustration of why I keep beating the drum — go with these young guys during their ups and during their downs. All three I’m fighting for seem to have really good character and some promising skills, but we won’t know what they have to offer unless they get real minutes in real games. I don’t want to lose another Tobias for lack of opportunity, and I bring up his name from time to time because I fear the lesson has not been truly learned.

        To me, this season for the Bucks should be primarily for developing our young talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if we won a fair number of games, anyway, and maybe even make the playoffs. If not, we get a better draft pick.

  4. Are we trying to own the future, win or both? If we were trying to win that game, I am completely baffled that the starters (besides Zaza) made their way back in the game with a meer 3 minutes left. Just look at the +/- stats. I was at this game and everyone around me was getting restless, especially with Brandon “no ball movement” Knight at the helm, even with Marshall in the game at the same time.