An NBA basketball game occurred: Bucks 97 — 76ers 77

Milwaukee Bucks 97 Recap | Box Score 77 Philadelphia 76ers
Khris Middleton, PF 27 MIN | 7-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +20

Middleton paced the Bucks with eight points in the first quarter, led all scorers with 12 at halftime and finished with a game-high 18 (tied with Brandon Knight) on nine shots. He played within himself offensively, hitting both of his three-point attempts and converting a nice floater off the dribble. Middleton also collected three rebounds, three assists and a career-high five steals.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 6 PTS | +7

O’Bryant had a rough first quarter, when he was matched up against the longer, more active Nerlens Noel. He allowed his adversary to grab a couple of offensive rebounds, including a put-back dunk. There was a rough series in which O’Bryant badly missed a long jumper, fumbled the ball away on a drive and then turned it over again on an errant pass in consecutive possessions. He did provide a couple of flashes in the second half, including an aggressive offensive rebound in traffic and a reverse layup. However, five turnovers didn’t help his cause.

Zaza Pachulia, C 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 12 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | +17

Pachulia has been nothing but consistent since replacing Larry Sanders in the starting lineup. Wednesday night was no different, and he ended up flirting with a triple-double. His midrange jumper was falling, he didn’t face much resistance crashing the boards and his passes were on point. It’s clear that he and Knight have much more chemistry on pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops than Knight and Sanders do; Pachulia and Knight frequently found each other for open looks throughout the game. Pachulia did rack up four turnovers, but a couple of those came late in garbage time.

Brandon Knight, PG 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | +20

It was another good shooting performance for Knight, who converted four of his seven three-point attempts en route to 18 points on 12 shots. He also picked up where he left off against Phoenix by throwing down a thunderous one-handed dunk in transition during the fourth quarter. Knight added five assists as the primary ball handler but turned over the ball as many times.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 15 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +9

Antetokounmpo didn’t play in the second half, surely to the chagrin of Bucks fans. He was replaced by Nate Wolters to start the second half. By all indications, Bucks coach Jason Kidd wanted to rest Giannis with the game pretty well in hand from the onset. Uncharacteristically, Antetokounmpo struggled to finish at the rim and generally appeared out of control on drives. He hit a midrange jumper, though.

John Henson, C 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 4 TO | 4 PTS | +3

Despite resting Giannis, Kidd rolled with Pachulia for 32 minutes, which left only 16 for the backup. Henson managed to block four shots in that time, but also turned the ball over four times. One noticeable area of improvement for Henson this season is his passing. Not only has he been a more effective passer out of the post and from the elbow — he’s been a more willing one. His usage eclipsed 20 percent each of his first two seasons, and he was a bit of a black hole when he touched the ball; this year, his usage is down to 16.6 percent. Henson’s a much more discerning offensive player, and his improved awareness and decision-making have also helped him reach impressive offensive efficiency (60.3 true shooting percentage).

Nate Wolters, PG 21 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -7

Wolters leapfrogged Kendall Marshall in the rotation Wednesday night, and Kidd didn’t give much of an explanation for it after the game. Wolters looked fairly sharp for someone who had only played 33 minutes over the last month, but he struggled to finish at the rim. He did have a nice outlet pass to Bayless in the third quarter, which resulted in a dunk.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 26 MIN | 6-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | +10

It was another steady performance for Bayless, who converted all six of his shots from the field.

Jared Dudley, SG 24 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +11

Like O’Bryant, Dudley struggled with Noel’s length on defense, but he dutifully boxed out and grabbed boards when he could, finishing with seven defensive rebounds.

O.J. Mayo, SG 24 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +10

Mayo was a perfect 4-4 from the field in the first half. He then shot 2-7 in the second half, including 1-5 from beyond the arc. ‘Tis the life of a streaky shooter. Despite 11 field goal attempts in 24 minutes, he didn’t force many shots and was a willing distributor, finishing with six assists and no turnovers.

Kendall Marshall, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

DNP-CD

Four Things We Saw

  1. The 20-point winning margin, Milwaukee’s third-largest of the season, is actually misleading. The 76ers never truly posed a threat. They shot 30.1 percent from the field — the lowest percentage by a Bucks opponent since 2005, according to Fox Sports’ Andrew Gruman — and that was after they converted their last four shot attempts to end the game. They were 2-25 (8.0 percent) from beyond the arc. They managed to pick up an inbounds violation by stepping over the baseline. The Bucks and 76ers combined for 50 turnovers, which means this game featured over one turnover per minute. The Bucks stormed out to a 21-point lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter, and the rest of the game effectively turned into garbage time (even though the 76ers briefly trimmed the lead to 14 points toward the end of the third quarter). It was not pretty.
  2. Michael Carter-Williams, Henry Sims and Robert Covington — three 76ers starters — combined for 3-32 (9.4 percent) from the field. Tony Wroten, Philadelphia’s leading bench scorer, went 4-19 from the field and 0-7 from beyond the arc. There were many ill-advised shots.
  3. The Bucks didn’t play particularly well or energetic — mostly due to 26 turnovers, many of which were careless — but they coasted to a 53.9 field goal percentage and season-high 32 assists.
  4. This was Philadelphia’s shot chart, courtesy of NBA.com/Stats:Shotchart_1420692176013

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8 Comments

  1. It isn’t my place to question the guy; after all, Jason Kidd is an NBA coach, while I am not, and he continues to push Milwaukee to play well every night and is winning games in the process.

    But, really? I guess I can understand not wanting to potentially put Giannis in harm’s way. No need for our other young franchise piece to get injured in meaningless minutes. But that doesn’t explain the fact that Henson couldn’t even crack 20 minutes while Pachulia ended up staying on the court for the majority of the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach.

    I can’t say I liked Kendall Marshall riding the bench tonight either, though at least Nate Wolters saw a good chunk of minutes as a result.

    Still, a commanding victory is always a nice sight. Middleton and Knight keep making the Milwaukee/Detroit trade look more and more lopsided, and it’s been so much fun watching a Bucks team this deep all season long. In the past we’ve had to hold out breath when the bench unit comes in, and now I can’t help but get even more excited when it’s the reserves turn to play.

    That’ll be the key word at this end of this season, I think: fun. It’s been fun to watch, and fun to be a fan of the team.

  2. With lots of respect to Kevin and his comments, I do think it’s appropriate to question the coach, and even important to do so.
    We can appreciate the good things that Jason Kidd has done with the Bucks while still scrutinizing his decisions big and small.

    After all, he is still really inexperienced as a coach, yet doesn’t seem to feel the need to explain his decisions. Recent wins over the Cavs, Knicks, and Sixers have been good things, but not impressive enough to inspire awe. Plus, Kidd seems to have come to the Bucks under less than honorable circumstances that put in doubt his position to be an exemplar of loyalty for the young guys on our team.

    I’m very concerned that Kidd continues to overemphasize veterans at the expense of developing young talent. John Henson was barely playing at all when Larry and Ersan were available; now that John has basically been forced into duty, we’re seeing a lot of really nice things from him, including heretofore unseen passing ability as noted above by Preston.

    The case of John Henson is already a good example of not knowing what a player has to offer unless he gets meaningful minutes on the court. A guy given a real chance might show unsuspected skills and surprising improvement, especially if he’s young and has never really been given a real opportunity in the NBA.

    Yet we don’t know if, going forward, Kidd will continue to play John Henson consistently. As pointed out, John only played 16 minutes in last night’s game, less than Johnny O’Bryant or Nate. What happens if/when Larry and Ers come back? What if we trade for another Jeff Adrien? If John has a bad game or two, will his coach stick with him?

    Here’s a guy in John Henson, a recent lottery pick, who in only his third season has already had four coaches, and has never received enthusiastic support and meaningful minutes from any of them. Since three of those coaches are gone, perhaps the problem has not been John. As for Kidd, he hasn’t accomplished nearly enough as a coach to receive a pass on his decisions and go unquestioned.

    Maybe Kidd will turn out to be a great coach, but it’s not in the books, yet. Indeed, he’s at least as much of a question mark as a coach as John is as a player. Also, if we want guys like John Henson, and Khris Middleton, and Kendall Marshall to be loyal to the Bucks if they develop into really good players, then we would do well to show some loyalty to them as they try to make their way in the NBA.

    If the fans feel that a player on the Bucks is getting a bad deal from his coach, especially a young player that we drafted in the first round, then we have the right to question the coach, and I think even the responsibility to do so. We can respect Kidd, and compliment him, without letting him do anything he wants with zero accountability. Maybe this is the beginning of a new era for the Bucks, but then again, maybe it’s going to be the same old thing: mediocrity, disappointments, misery.

    While giving Kidd and our new owners a fair chance, let’s not give them a blank check. Bucks fans have been hurt to many times in the past….

    • I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said. Moreover, The Kenyon Martin signing/Nate Wolters waiving troubles me in terms of what direction the franchise might potentially be heading. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, or concerning myself over things that might not mean anything for the future of the franchise. Perhaps I should be giving Lasry and Edens more time before I judge, given this is their first season owning the team.

      Still, one can’t help but be frustrated by moves like that, as well as the rotational decisions of Kidd. I mean, it isn’t quite Skiles-levels of bad, but still.

      • Remember, too, that Scott Skiles was looking pretty good during the days of Fear the Deer.

        The new regime for the Bucks is literally asking fans to buy into their handling of the Bucks, so I think it’s more than fair for fans to question what they do and don’t do with the team.

        Even if I’m overheated, and overreacting, and ultimately wrong, I would encourage other fans to voice their own opinions in a respectful but spirited way, to truly express their true thoughts, and let the chips fall where they may.

        My sincere hunch is that fans here at Bucksketball have a lot to say that is worth listening to and considering seriously. I wouldn’t want the Bucks to be a franchise that is run primarily by the fans, but I also wouldn’t want the Bucks to be a franchise that ignores the comments and concerns of its reasonably knowledgeable and deeply loyal base of customers.

        • TheLastoftheBucksFans

          The Bucks fans are hardly the most loyal. Most people I know don’t care at all about them and we even have the least season ticket holders of any team by far.

          i get your concerns about Henson though. He definitely has skill and is someone we should utilize. On the other hand, is he someone who the team can really build around? You pointed out his lack of playing time before Larry and Ers got hurt. Well, that’s because Larry is going to play over him when healthy and Ers fits better at the 4. Then you have Zaza who is obviously going to be the backup 5. This goes back to the old issue of Henson not really being a 4, but not exactly have the body to play the 5.

  3. TheLastoftheBucksFans

    The first thing you saw is that this 20-point win was the largest of the season? I’m pretty sure it’s actually their third largest of the season.