|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 23 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +13 +/-
Since returning from injury, Ilyasova has shown a renewed commitment to crashing the glass on both ends. He was only credited with six boards (three offensive) in 23 minutes, but he kept a few balls alive and, if nothing else, made San Antonio work for its defensive rebounds. Once again, however, his minutes were limited, and he didn’t return to the game after checking out with 5:41 to play in the third quarter.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 33 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +1 +/-
He was effective guarding Kawhi Leonard in the first half, but Leonard came out more aggressively in the second and was able to draw a couple fouls on Giannis as the Spurs took control of the game. Offensively, he was as passive as he’s been all season, attempting only five shots in 33 minutes. The five assists – should have been six – are encouraging, but Giannis shied away from challenging the San Antonio defense one-on-one and repeatedly passed up open jumpers. Until he proves he’s at least willing to shoot outside of 15 feet, he’ll continue to see sagging defenses, which only clog up driving lanes. Giannis also failed to get to the free throw line, though Boris Diaw did appear to get a whole lot of arm on a dunk attempt late in the fourth.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +5 +/-
He struggled defensively and those struggles were a contributing factor to the Spurs scoring more than half of their points in the paint. Offensively, he was nothing spectacular, though he grabbed three offensive boards and has at least six total rebounds in each of his last five games – not bad considering he’s averaging 25.2 minutes in that span and has faced the likes of Tim Duncan, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert and Jonas Valanciunas.
|Brandon Knight, PG 35 MIN | 4-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 10 PTS | -10 +/-
This was not a good game for Brandon Knight. He committed four turnovers in the first half alone and finished with five on the game. As usual, he hit a few timely, tough jumpers, but his shot selection took a turn for the questionable in the second half. Knight exited the game at the 4:13 mark with the Bucks down 90-84 and did not return, as Jason Kidd rode with Jerryd Bayless at point guard down the stretch.
|Khris Middleton, SG 30 MIN | 9-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | -3 +/-
Middleton had one of his better games of the year, tying his season-high with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He looked comfortable in the mid-range and did a good job of taking advantage of some mismatches defensively. Middleton is shooting over 51 percent from the field in January and has made 14-of-25 threes over the last seven games.
|Kenyon Martin, PF 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6 +/-
Came on early in the fourth after Henson took a hard fall while battling for a rebound. Almost immediately, he converted a lefty layup in traffic but didn’t do much else.
|John Henson, C 17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -5 +/-
Henson’s team-high nine rebounds were his most since Jan. 2, but Kidd continues to limit his minutes as both Ilyasova and Jared Dudley also saw time at power forward. Henson made a nice spinning pass to Mayo in the second quarter for a three-pointer to register his only assist of the night. He left early in the fourth quarter after twisting his ankle while battling for a rebound. Kidd said postgame that Henson could have returned, if necessary.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 23 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -2 +/-
Bayless and Middleton were the two mostly responsible for keeping Milwaukee in the game when San Antonio began to pull away. Bayless’ 15 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, were his most since before Christmas, and he added five assists after registering 17 combined over the last two games. The only knock on Bayless’ night is he missed a pair of contested floaters with under a minute remaining when the Bucks absolutely needed to score. Oh, and he snapped his ridiculous streak of 58 consecutive made free throws. Michael Redd, who owns the franchise record (59), can rest easy.
|Jared Dudley, SG 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -21 +/-
Dudley was a team-worst minus-21 on the night, as he struggled to defend bigger players for most of his 20 minutes. Boris Diaw ate him up on a few possessions, though Diaw has proven to be a difficult matchup for just about everyone, regardless of size. Here, Dudley gets caught overhelping for a split-second too long, forcing Knight to help down on Diaw. Passing cyborg Manu Ginobili recognizes this and kicks to Patty Mills for a wide-open three on the wing. Dudley was a bit late getting back to Diaw, but this is an extremely difficult play to defend.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -2 +/-
Mayo snapped his streak of seven straight games of at least 12 points, but he tied his season high with seven assists, including this one to Middleton in the second quarter. He has at least three assists in seven games this month and did not commit a turnover Sunday.
Three Things We Saw
- Bayless soared for an impressive alley-oop dunk-plus-the-foul in the first half, and Air Ersan almost threw the hammer down on Duncan midway through the third.
- Johnny O’Bryant was a DNP-CD after playing only nine minutes in Saturday’s blowout win over Detroit. With Ilyasova healthy, look for the slow-footed rookie’s playing time to sharply decline.
- The Bucks turned it over 21 times and continue to rank among the bottom three in the league in turnovers per game. That’s a huge issue, but Milwaukee is also forcing a ton of turnovers and owns just a -0.1 turnover margin on the season.