Lost in those Hollywood hills: Lakers 101 – Bucks 93

Milwaukee Bucks 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Los Angeles Lakers
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 6-8 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -11 +/-

Like the rest of the team, Ersan started slowly – I believe that he was about 1-5 from the field at one point but still led the team with 7 points. He also took at least one more charge, perhaps inspired by Nick’s moving tribute to his specialty. This game also represented his second double-double in three starts; if only we’d have known that was the secret to his success.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 36 MIN | 4-12 FG | 5-8 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -1 +/-

The beginning of the game looked like another example of Giannis just trying to do too much, as we’ve seen several times since the All-Star Break. However, he seemed to find himself as the team came together in the middle quarters, using his length to get to the rim for a couple of high-percentage shots and chipping in a good number of rebounds and assists. While he’s shown much more comfort in taking jumpers, he’s also returned to missing most of them. He might need another shooting sleeve.

Zaza Pachulia, C 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -10 +/-

Pachulia didn’t really do much to stem the tide of average Lakers big men having strong nights, especially when Ed Davis and Jordan Hill stepped in to take over the end of the game.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 27 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -8 +/-

The recurring theme of the night was a slow start, and Carter-Williams was no exception: in the opening minutes of the game, he and the team looked tired and out of sorts. Playing the off guard in a number of two-point guard lineups didn’t seem to suit him all that well either, as he seemingly hasn’t made a jumper since joining the Bucks. But MCW did look good on drives and remains aware of giving opportunities to his teammates, even if some of his more aggressive passes resulted in needless turnovers.

Khris Middleton, SG 33 MIN | 4-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -13 +/-

A rather quiet night from Middleton was underscored by his lack of three-point makes and steals, which have been his calling cards all season. His best plays came when pushing the ball in transition and driving to the basket. While he has been stepping up in a post-Brandon Knight world, Middleton will be under even more pressure to provide some desperately-needed spacing for the team going forward.

Miles Plumlee, C 8 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +10 +/-

Though he only got one run in the second quarter, Plumlee flashed some good post moves and advanced chemistry with his former Suns teammate. That he couldn’t establish more of a rebounding presence against a patchwork Lakers frontline is concerning, however.

John Henson, C 15 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -8 +/-

He shrugged off a flat first rotation to come back with energy in the third quarter, but didn’t get much of an opportunity to expand on that as Kidd continues to prefer Pachulia as his game-closing center. I’m not sure if the current arrangement is for balance in the team’s two units or Kidd’s increased confidence in Pachulia to play major minutes, but at some point in the near future Henson should supplant the veteran in the team’s key lineups.

Tyler Ennis, PG 12 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +1 +/-

As a part of the bench unit that came in and gave the team a spark in the second quarter, Ennis displayed an encouraging tendency to push the pace and made some nifty passes to find trailing teammates while on the run. He also found Plumlee with a couple of nice assists in the pair’s short run together.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 32 MIN | 5-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -7 +/-

Bayless saw most of his time in two-point guard lineups with either Ennis or Carter-Williams and was returned to his usual role headlining the bench unit. But he wasn’t making shots or keeping the ball moving as well as in previous games, and the team’s offense devolves into a cramped mess when outside shooting dries up.

Jared Dudley, SG 23 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +7 +/-

While Dudley’s impact was minimal in the stat sheet, he managed the team’s second-best +/- in the game at +7, which points to his willingness to keep the ball moving and generally do the little things to help his team succeed. He did have an x-ray on his sore left knee after the game, which may be an explanation for his poor shooting and rather quiet night.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF

DNP-CD

O.J. Mayo, SG

DNP-CD/Sore Hamstring

Jason Kidd
While his adjustments between the first and second quarter helped the tam regain its uptempo preference and jump out to a lead, he couldn’t make that energy stick as the team regressed a bit in the fourth quarter and ultimately faltered under a hail of Wayne Ellington jumpers.It was curious to see him stick with a single lineup and minimal substitutions throughout most of that disastrous fourth quarter, as he’s previously displayed a willingness to adjust lineups and stick with whatever is working. Though one could argue that Wayne Ellington’s hot streak isn’t exactly something you have to plan for, the team didn’t adjust until he’d mostly put the game out of reach and never really made a serious push afterward.

Four Things We Saw

  1. This game was two good quarters bookended by two bad ones, illustrating the unevenness of the Bucks’ performance. I’m not sure if it was the effect of the travel, playing a game significantly later than usual, or some other nebulous factor that caused the Bucks to come out and finish flat; but for a team whose success this year has been built on effort a performance of this caliber is disappointing.
  2. Here’s a visualization of the key stretch in the fourth quarter where the game got away from the Bucks. Can you spot the problem?Ellington
  3. While the rebounding efforts were much more balanced this time (only 50-49 in favor of the Lakers), it still feels like the Bucks struggle to grab boards in key situations. In this case, the formidable(?) duo of Ed Davis and Jordan Hill closed out the game for LA with key rebounds in the fourth quarter, which also helped facilitate Ellington’s big run.
  4. Kidd acknowledged that the game got away from the Bucks in the fourth quarter: “36 points in the fourth; you can’t have that happen… We got out of character.”However, in what’s becoming the typical Jason Kidd fashion, he didn’t really offer any explanation or suggest what could have been done differently. We’ll see if the team comes out any differently tonight in Utah.

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4 Comments

  1. MCW needs to be given the reins of the team, or he needs to simply take the reins of this team. MCW is way to passive so far. Somebody needs to light a fire under him.

    Giannis is NOT a superstar and never will be. He will never score at a high level; he’s not as athletic as so many think. He’s long and a good dribbler and a pretty good huslter on defense. Everything else is suspect with his game.

    Henson needs to play double the minutes of Pachulia. Plumlee should play at least equal minutes with Pachulia.

    Bayless should not play point guard (see Brandon Knight).

    Ilyasova should be fined for pump fakes and for dribbling. Just shoot the rock, Ersan!

  2. Although I watched the fourth quarter, I’m still wondering what happened.

    I’m also wondering why Jerryd would be playing point while MCW is in the game, and how much that happened against the Lakers.

    Further wondering if coach Kidd would ever try playing Zaza and John at the same time, or Zaza and Miles, and any two of those three together.

    Finally, I wonder if other coaches around the league explain themselves to a greater degree than coach Kidd. For example, the Bucks went on a winning surge with John Henson as starter for several games, although I was concerned that he oftentimes wasn’t allowed to be a finisher. Last night he was neither, and was given only 15 minutes.. Is it reasonable to want Kidd to explain things like this?

  3. I didnt realize B.Knight accounted for that much scoring….and i feel kinda bad about Giannis having to take on this load and this process showing glaring deficiencies in his game. (Sigh) just patiently awaiting Jabaris return