Sad truth: I never want a Milwaukee Bucks game to go into overtime.
I’m sorry. It’s true. Listen, these games end late enough as it is. And then there’s a conversation with Coach Kidd and the players. Often I don’t get home until some three and a half hours after the game starts. So when a game goes into overtime, I have to tack on another 15-20 minutes and I’m not the night owl I used to be.
But I wanted Bucks-Raptors to go into overtime. It was a wonderful game between two sure fire playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.
It felt like each possession mattered to each player on the court. There wasn’t much laziness or going through the motions in this game. These teams respected each other and each played like they really wanted this one. That was reflected in the two point guards, who kept coming at each other and the rim, over and over, even though neither shot the ball particularly well. They both wanted this one and Kyle Lowry and Brandon Knight seem to impose their will when they want games the most.
It worked out better for Lowry than Knight, but neither should feel too bad.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 7 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +2 +/-
He did not start the second half. We may have seen the last of Johnny O’Bryant, at least for the time being. Ersan Ilyasova looked spry and more than functional, leaving O’Bryant basically without minutes.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3 +/-
It didn’t see like he had many chances with the ball in his hands. He didn’t seem too deferential when he had it, but it just rarely seemed like he had it. But he made some very smart plays, specifically there was a fast break opportunity where he could have tried to force up a difficult shot against an undersized Greivis Vasquez, but he didn’t. Instead he posted up Vasquez and dropped in a nice short jumper, exploiting his size advantage.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 20 MIN | 3-3 FG | 3-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +2 +/-
His biggest enemy was first quarter Jonas Valanciunas, who battled him hard and grabbed a few offensive rebounds by out-positioning him. His second biggest enemy was Jason Kidd, who didn’t give him much of a look outside of the two beginnings of each half. Kenyon Martin cut into some of his second quarter minutes and did nothing with them.
|Brandon Knight, PG 41 MIN | 7-21 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +3 +/-
He didn’t shoot particularly well and this didn’t seem like a game in which he did much to get his teammates involved, but it still felt like he was crucial in keeping Milwaukee in the game. The Bucks ran that play they run when they need a 3-pointer late, this time for Knight. He got a very open look, but couldn’t connect.
One other thing: The next time I see him pass on a 2-on-1 break will be the first time. I hate that.
|Khris Middleton, SG 31 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +3 +/-
He seems to excel at putting himself in a position where something good could happen. That’s true of a lot of his rebound opportunities and its true of a lot of the looks he gets as a shooter. He finds spaces that are unoccupied and he floats to them. This is not a put down, but a compliment to his awareness on the court.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 23 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -8 +/-
Milwaukee struggled badly as a rebounding team, but Ilyasova gave them everything he could, especially on the offensive end, where he grabbed three offensive rebounds that directly led to three points (and could have led to six if he made his free throws).
|Kenyon Martin, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5 +/-
Came in. Had a dunk blocked. Grabbed a rebound. Committed a foul. Picked up a technical alongside it. Remained a veteran.
|John Henson, C 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -3 +/-
It’s getting tough to tell if Henson or Pachulia should be in more. Both of them have been very productive as of late and have such different skill sets. Henson was doing his thing where he’s long again and it helped him block two shots, but he certainly has less to offer as a passer. They’re very good compliments to each other in Milwaukee’s center rotation for the time being.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -4 +/-
There were times when I felt like he really could have used Kendall Marshall by his side. He was forced to take on point guard duties full time or play alongside Brandon Knight, leaving Milwaukee with two guys who don’t really thrive as distributors and, without question, the bench lacked its usual punch against Toronto.
|Jared Dudley, SG 22 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -2 +/-
When he’s not making shots, he becomes quite a bit less valuable. The upside is that he isn’t the type to force action.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -6 +/-
More than any Bucks guard, he seems to actively look to get big men involved, especially when he has some room thanks to a screen one of them has set. He’s always searching for a lob that can be thrown or a bounce pass that can be dropped in. When he’s doing that and hitting his jumpers, he becomes a fun player to watch. He could become more important now that Milwaukee doesn’t have Marshall.
The only thing that seemed bizarre was his decision to play Kenyon Martin rather than Zaza Pachulia in the second quarter. Pachuila was coming off such a strong first quarter, to go with Martin as center seemed so strange.