Atypically comfortable: Bucks 101 – Pistons 86

Detroit Pistons 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 17 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +11 +/-

When he was in the game, he played very well, specifically in the second half. The issue for Ilyasova on Saturday night? He was hardly ever in the game. His minutes haven’t come with great frequency since he’s returned from a concussion, as the Bucks more and more have opted for a Jared Dudley/Giannis Antetokounmpo combination at the four.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 36 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 7 TO | 6 PTS | -9 +/-

He had a lot of opportunity in garbage time to be a playmaker and lead Milwaukee, but he didn’t do much with that opportunity. His night was full of ups and downs. One moment he would be posting up a smaller player and creating a great opportunity near the rim. The next he’d carelessly turn the ball over. Not an even night. Not a good night.

Zaza Pachulia, C 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +24 +/-

The most important thing he did was make a few mid-range jumpers, which helped me feel good about myself and isn’t all this really just about me feeling good? Overall, another solid, steady night from Zaza. He played a role in getting Andre Drummond into some foul trouble in the second quarter, which helped Milwaukee push its lead up to 14 at halftime.

Brandon Knight, PG 28 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +7 +/-

Defensively, it seemed like he was giving Brandon Jennings a hard time whenever Detroit’s point guard was in the game. He forced him into some turnovers with very aggressive pressure. Offensively, Knight didn’t seem to force the issue after the first quarter and he really didn’t have to, as Milwaukee’s reserves helped put this one away quick.

Khris Middleton, SG 28 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +33 +/-

At the start of the season, it seemed like Middleton may have been trying to “take a step”. But he’s settled into a similar role to the one he played last season and he’s been very successful in that role of late. He’s making his open shots and not trying to do too much off the dribble or force drives into the paint. He continues to rebound well too, which Milwaukee really needs.

Kenyon Martin, PF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10 +/-

Wasn’t much of a contributor and the Bucks looked noticeably worse with he and O’Bryant in the front court. But he only picked up one foul.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -14 +/-

He’s playing at a different speed than everyone else. I don’t mean that in a good way.

John Henson, C 16 MIN | 5-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +5 +/-

Just one block, but it was a memorable one. Caron Butler drove down the baseline and attempted a dunk, only to have Henson swoop in and deflect the ball at its peak. Aside from that, he did a lot of the same things he always does, though he also got one look in the post. He put together a series of moves, ending with a short, left-handed baby hook off the glass and in. Of course.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 24 MIN | 0-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 4 PTS | +10 +/-

When guys make shots, assists come fast and furious. Bayless had seven assists in Milwaukee’s 40 point second quarter, as teammate after teammate made jumpers. In a 10 point fourth quarter, he wasn’t so fortunate, as Giannis, O’Bryant and Kenyon Martin bumbled around and nearly let the Pistons back into what was once a 30 point game.

Jared Dudley, SG 24 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +19 +/-

It seems like Milwaukee is willing to lose rebounding battles with Dudley at the four, so long as he’s providing a shooting threat with consistency.

O.J. Mayo, SG 28 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -1 +/-

Between the sharpshooting and impressive passing, this may have been Mayo’s best offensive game of the season. Without Kendall Marshall, the Bucks need all hands on deck as far as playmaking for others goes and each of Mayo’s three assists led to easy buckets for his teammates. He hit three threes in about 40 seconds in the second quarter. The lift he gave Milwaukee off the bench combined with Middleton’s strong start really helped blow the Pistons away.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks allowed 16 offensive rebounds, but three or four from Greg Monroe, who had 10, came on one possession. For the most part, Milwaukee was successful in limiting damage on the offensive glass, partly because Andre Drummond played kind of a subdued role. He didn’t return after leaving early in the third quarter when the game turned into a certified blowout.
  2. Milwaukee made 11-17 3FG and handed out 33 assists on 41 made shots. Kidd was thrilled with the ball movement and attributed guys passing up good looks to find other guys who had great looks with some of the team’s shooting success.
  3. Very sad night for Brandon Jennings, who appeared to tear his left achilles tendon in the third quarter. He wasn’t having a great game, but he was playing reasonably well, while the Pistons were trying to remain competitive. He just had the best 15 game stretch of his career, so this is obviously terrible timing for such a tragic injury. Bucksketball sends its best wishes to him.

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5 Comments

  1. I like the nice message to Brandon Jennings, and second the best wishes to him, as well as adding prayers for his recovery and for his general future.

    Also, good thoughts and prayers for Kendall. I’m still having a hard time with his season-ending injury, and the Bucks don’t seem the same without him. Even though they had an impressive 33 assists against the Pistons, the ball movement doesn’t seem the same — not as enjoyable to watch, and generally not as effective.

    My hunch is that Kendall’s flair for initiating ball movement influenced the whole team in a way that can’t be measured mostly by statistics. Look forward to seeing him and Jabari back strong next season with the Bucks. Larry’s welcome, too, but his ways are wearing thin, and he really needs to turn it around in word and deed.

    Right now, for reasons I’m not sure of, I’m not all that giddy about the Bucks — though I’m glad for some good things that I’m seeing with players. One consolation for me would be the addition of a pass-first point to infuse more life into the offense, and to uplift all the rest of the guys.

    I’m also still concerned about an over-reliance on veterans, even though they’ve given us some good play, and perhaps some of the benefits of their experience. In a way, it’s might be too much of a good thing. I don’t understand why it seems that minutes are given to John Henson so grudgingly.

    Generally, not sure what to make of our fifty/fifty Bucks. I wish I was more excited about them, but maybe that’s mostly me. I’m interested to hear what others are seeing. Please don’t pound me too much, but would be glad to hear strong disagreements. as well as any possible thoughts similar and sympathetic to mine.

    • Because at the time they had 2 total healthy PF/Cs and Wolters was the fourth-string point guard?

        • Sure. Whatever. My point kind of was that you’re too thin there when Jared Dudley is getting a bunch of PF minutes.