|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 37 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +6 +/-
Giannis did not set a new career high. But he did make about five highlight plays, between his two blocks, five assists, 14 points and 11 rebounds. He shot another handful of jumpers, with varying results, and generally continued to show some growth while stealing the show with plays like a pick of Evan Turner’s pocket leading to a fast break dunk.
He also spent a fair amount of time at center, battling Jared Sullinger, which wasn’t a total disaster from a one on one perspective, but didn’t allow him to help out as much as he can when he’s on the wing. The versatility is nice, but it seems more ideal when he isn’t bogged down with some of those post defense responsibilities.
|John Henson, C 25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +1 +/-
His battle with Jared Sullinger raged for the majority of the night. Occasionally, Henson’s length would prevail like on a few late rebounds he skied for or on one of his patented left-hand hooks with 2:03 to play that put Milwaukee up three. And other times Sullinger was able to muscle him out of position and get baskets despite Henson’s advantaged limbs. Sullinger probably won when he was on offense, but he provided none of the defensive protection Henson did, which made a big difference for the Bucks. Sullinger couldn’t move side to side in the paint to cut off any lanes or block any shots and watching those inabilities was a reminder of what Henson does well on that end.
|Brandon Knight, PG 38 MIN | 9-17 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | +1 +/-
The debate can rage on. Knight created a wonderful amount of offense for himself. He was finishing near the rim and hitting his jump shot enough to be dangerous. Any time a guy makes 4-8 3FG that’s the backbone of a good night and he combined that with a number of drives and finishes that left him with big number at the end of the night. His step back jumper with six seconds left provided the Bucks with a crucial three point lead that helped forced Boston into a tough final shot that wasn’t even close.
|Jared Dudley, SG 24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | 0 +/-
Boston didn’t have the combination of size, talent or necessity to force the ball at anyone Dudley was tasked with guarding inside, so he wasn’t a minus on defense really at any point during the game. He didn’t contribute too much offensively, but as always, he was there and he was a threat, which helps create room for guys like Knight and Giannis. And when he did get the occasional shot, he made it count half the time.
|Khris Middleton, SG 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +9 +/-
A fairly quiet night overall, but his rebounding should not be overlooked. While Henson and Giannis spent a lot of time boxing out Sullinger, Middleton was swooping in and helping on loose ball rebounds, which were pivotal in their own right. Offensively he did a lot of what he usually does – make jump shots – but he also threw in at least one nice cut to the rim in which Giannis found him for an easy basket.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -3 +/-
Seven of his nine points came in the second quarter, where he was hitting his jump shot a little bit. Outside of that stretch, he was basically a non-factor.
|Jorge Gutierrez, PG 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-
He just kind of existed on the court. Whenever he replaced Brandon Knight, he was point guard in name only. He’d bring the ball up the court and the offense would run through either Jerryd Bayless or OJ Mayo. He served only as an outlet through which the ball could be moved. Once he shot a jumper, out of necessity more than anything else. Defensively, he seemed fine.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4 +/-
Typical Bayless game. He came in and helped run a punchy second unit. He had his usual array of attacks of the basket and mid-range jumpers generally working, as the shooting line would indicate. He grabbed a handful of boards and moved the ball well enough. A run of the mill night, but that’s not a bad thing necessarily.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 28 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-
He helped keep the Bucks on track as the fourth quarter began, with eight points in the opening three minutes. Outside of that, he moved the ball typically well, though his shot was erratic and he searched for it a bit more than usual it seemed at times. But I’m not sure any (active guard I should say – shout out to Kendall Marshall) Bucks guard finds bigs in spots they want to be found as well as Mayo.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
|Kenyon Martin, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
|Zaza Pachulia, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
Three Things We Saw
- Milwaukee was up three with sixish seconds to play and opted not to foul. It’s the age old question and Coach Jason Kidd was apparently confident enough in their defense to hold up against a Celtics team that had made only 7-29 3FG.
- Knight’s last step back jumper came after a lot of dribbling out the clock while other people stood around. Giannis came and set a screen for him and Kidd said if the mismatch was there, it was Knight’s decision if he wanted to kick it to Giannis to take advantage of a smaller player. He pretty much left the final possession up to Knight, which paid off in this circumstance, but is not without its flaws from a logic perspective.
- Certainly Milwaukee would have appreciated a bit more distance between themselves and the Celtics in the points column throughout the night, but they just couldn’t pull away. Every good stretch was followed by a shooting slump, which seemed to indicate simply relying on Knight wasn’t enough. Their ball movement was there in patches, but not all night long and without that movement, the offense seems to come and go.They did enough to beat Boston, but games like this, where they have to rely heavily on their defense and hope to muster enough on the other end, seem like they won’t be enough against better teams. For now though, they’ve survived yet again. 28-23.