New closer: Bucks 109 – Heat 102

Milwaukee Bucks 109 Recap | Box Score 102 Miami Heat
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4 +/-

Ilyasova played the first 10 minutes of the game but didn’t return due to a sore right groin. Interestingly, Bucks coach Jason Kidd assigned him to Miami’s starting center, Hassan Whiteside, rather than Chris Bosh on defense.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 40 MIN | 4-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +9 +/-

Giannis had a nice, efficient offensive night — scoring 13 points on six shots — but the real story was his defense against Bosh. His length and discipline to stay grounded gave Bosh fits, especially late in the game. Even with Dwyane Wade out for the entirety of the fourth quarter, Bosh managed just five of his 26 points in the final frame and had one of his shots blocked by a standing Antetokounmpo. Giannis — who played a season-high (excluding the triple-overtime Nets game) 40 minutes — made the right decisions in transition and was active on the defensive glass.

Zaza Pachulia, C 21 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -9 +/-

It was an uncharacteristically quiet night for Pachulia, who was tasked with guarding Bosh in the starting lineup. The Heat, who were without center Chris Andersen, employed small-ball lineups for much of the game, rendering Pachulia less useful than usual. He struggled to both keep up with Bosh’s range and find his own offensively.

Brandon Knight, PG 38 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -6 +/-

Aside from a couple of bad turnovers and long twos early in the shot clock, Knight played a solid game. He found Antetokounmpo for dunks twice, including a slick pass between defenders in transition during the third quarter. He played off the ball during the entire fourth quarter, when Bayless supplanted Knight as the late-game playmaker. Knight did help pace the Bucks in the first quarter, scoring 10 of his 17 points.

Khris Middleton, SG 30 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -10 +/-

Like Knight, Middleton scored 10 of his 17 points in the first quarter. In all, he hit seven of his nine shots, including three of four three-point attempts. He was limited a bit in the second half with foul trouble after picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter.

Kenyon Martin, PF 12 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2 +/-

On the eve of his second 10-day contract’s expiration, Martin played 12 largely inconspicuous minutes. He grabbed a few easy rebounds but missed all three of his shots — one jumper and two around the rim. Interestingly, he closed out the game’s final eight minutes over Pachulia and John Henson at center.

John Henson, C 18 MIN | 4-5 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +11 +/-

Henson only played 18 minutes but made the most of them offensively, finishing with 12 points on five shots. He finished strong on a couple of and-ones in the second half and continued to display uncanny chemistry with O.J. Mayo. Coming into Tuesday night’s game, Mayo had assisted Henson 28 times; no other played had assisted him more than eight times. Henson’s rotational defense seemed shaky, but his length rendered Whiteside fairly useless on offense.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 22 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +20 +/-

Bayless staked a pretty strong claim for the closer role — at least on this night. He scored 11 of his 15 points and dished out three of his assists in the final frame. As the primary ball handler, Bayless bailed the Bucks out on a number of possessions with tough pull-up jumpers and scored nine of Milwaukee’s final 14 points, which included a 7-0 run of his own to increase the lead to 102-91. He also led the Bucks with a +/- of 20 and finished with seven assists and no turnovers. Oddly, Bayless — who leads the NBA in free throw percentage — missed a pair of free throws at the end of the game.

Jared Dudley, SG 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +3 +/-

Dudley was an extremely willing passer — especially making the extra swing to the corner — and matched up well with the Heat’s undersized bench bigs, Udonis Haslem and Shawne Williams. In the second half, Dudley and Bayless ran pick and rolls and pick and pops on several consecutive possessions, which Williams and Mario Chalmers struggled mightily to defend. Dudley also baited defenders into committing on his pump fakes and drew fouls a couple of times.

O.J. Mayo, SG 26 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +15 +/-

Mayo’s shot was hot and cold throughout the game.

 

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Heat, who were already without Luol Deng (calf) and Chris Andersen (elbow and back), lost Dwyane Wade in the third quarter due to a hamstring injury. Ersan Ilyasova didn’t return for the Bucks after the first quarter due to a sore left groin.
  2. There wasn’t much defensive resistance around the rim or elsewhere, with both teams shooting over 50 percent from the field (Bucks: 54.9 percent; Heat: 50.7 percent).
  3. The Bucks have already secured the tiebreaker against the Heat, winning the first three games of a four-game season series.
  4. The Bucks are reportedly planning to sign Martin for the rest of the season and call up former Nets point guard Jorge Gutierrez from the D-League.

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7 Comments

  1. I’m all for hating on the existence of Kenyon Martin, but his screens were what allowed for Bayless to do whatever he wanted on offense.

    Middleton has convinced me that he is a part of this Bucks core moving forward.

    If they’re signing Jorge Gutierrez, wouldn’t they need to waive or trade somebody? Is a Larry Sanders buyout the roster move that allows for Gutierrez?

    • Sincere question: Does Kenyon generally set better screens than other big men on the Bucks? I truly think it’s cool, EVP, that you notice something like this on the court, which I generally miss.

      In general, I’m wanting to hear arguments in favor of keeping Kenyon, because I think it would be a big mistake — and not just because it seems that John Henson rarely gets as many as 20 minutes in a game.

      I’m also very interested to hear arguments in favor of Jerryd and Jorge Gutierrez being major players for the Bucks at the point. I know little to nothing about Jorge. As far as Jerryd, I agree that he was really good last night, and think he’s generally been a good player for us this season, but I’m not so sure about him being our main point guard for the rest of the season.

      I will say that I’d rather have Jerryd at point than Brandon — allowing for Brandon to play what I think is his natural position as a shooting guard, at which he is on his way to possibly becoming a star.

      • P.S. Does anyone else think that John Henson has really elevated his game of late? He’s been getting some good reviews from Bucksketball, but I’m not sure if it’s been fully noted how much he seems to have raised his level of play.

        I was really surprised that John wasn’t put in the game down the stretch last night, and see it as one more slight to him in a season of slights, and a career of slights with the Bucks. I’m getting to the point of frustration where I almost hope the Bucks will trade John — for his sake — to a team that better appreciates him.

        • Offensively he looks more comfortable than ever and is scoring the ball with great efficiency. Defensively he’s inconsistent, often drawing himself too far away from the basket, presumably hoping that his length is enough to contest any shots in the paint.

          I’m not sure why his minutes are still so low. He played a ton in the third quarter, mostly out of necessity, and started the fourth only to be taken out in favor of Martin (who again, to his credit did a good job last night). It’s frustrating to be sure. Still, I’m happy with 18-20 minutes over nothing at all, and there’s nothing to indicate that Henson is unhappy with his minutes either. Furthermore, Hammond has indicated that they see Henson as part of the future for the Bucks, which is a major positive.

    • Agreed. He didn’t fill up the stat sheets, but his screens are very solid and it got Bayless open a ton down the stretch. I wasn’t especially happy with him closing over Henson, but he played pretty darn well. Henson could definitely learn from him as far as setting screens goes.

      As for Jorge, Sanders can be put on the suspended list which essentially opens up a roster spot for the Bucks until he returns.

    • I’ve been fairly indifferent on Martin thus far, but last night I noticed two things: His screens were great, but more importantly, he always takes shots at the other teams big men without the refs noticing. Whiteside crumbled when he was matched up with Martin in the 4th quarter and picked up some silly fouls, which could be credited to frustration of constantly being bumped.

  2. Bayless is a killer in NBA 2k15. Nothing is better than beating up on losers who play with the Cavs