|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 30 MIN | 3-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-
There were moments where he appeared to be pressing a bit, but Jason Kidd wasn’t worried about it. This is a different experience for Giannis, having a prominent teammate get traded, along with readjusting after a very busy All-Star break. He’s got a big opportunity in front of him now that Milwaukee’s flush with pass first point guards. His development, already the most important story of the season, will be even more interesting in the second half now.
It’s kind of cool that, on a night where maybe struggled a bit, Giannis still put up 10 points and nine rebounds.
|John Henson, C 18 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -4 +/-
His touch was as sharp as ever and when he can combine that with four blocked shots in just 18 minutes, it’s impossible to rate his night as anything but a success.
He was within 3.5 feet of a rebound 11 times, but grabbed only four. Kidd did praise his work to keep Denver off the offensive glass in the second half, but it always feels like he needs to get a little more aggressive on the defensive glass this season.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 39 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +3 +/-
Starting in the place of Brandon Knight while Michael Carter-Williams is out, Bayless played roughly the same game he’s been playing all year. He moved the ball when it was necessary and shot the ball when he had good looks or driving lanes. Kidd said he didn’t expect much to change about Milwaukee’s offensive philosophy just because Knight is gone and Bayles was a good example of that. Everything was the same, just a little different.
|Jared Dudley, SG 41 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +8 +/-
With Ersan Ilyasova battling illness and Johnny O’Bryant generally ineffective, Dudley saw a big minutes bump. But, much like Bayless, he just went about his business as if nothing had changed over the break. When the Bucks were scuffling a bit early, he connected on a couple of long jump shots that helped right the ship, as he’s done so many times before this season.
|Khris Middleton, SG 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +8 +/-
He led the team in scoring, but didn’t seem to be a matter of him stepping up, rather the ball just seemed to end up in his hands while he was open as much as usual and there wasn’t anyone else taking a large number of shots. And when the ball ends up in Middleton’s hands and he’s open, typically something good is going to happen.
He’s going to be interesting to watch. Will his role change without Knight? Will he be asked to initiate offense at all?
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -1 +/-
This was the best game he’s played this season. He made a mid-range jumper and grabbed a couple boards in which he didn’t have too much competition, but still seemed to struggle to haul them in.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 30 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +12 +/-
He was relied upon heavily in the first half and didn’t do a great job of collecting defensive rebounds or preventing Denver from getting offensive ones. He and Henson did a better job in the second half. Very standard Zaza game otherwise.
|Tyler Ennis, PG 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +5 +/-
Jason Kidd was quick to praise Ennis after the game for his poise and ability to jump right into minutes, given his inexperience. His 18 minutes were a career high, after all. But he didn’t make too much of an impact and all three of his turnovers were easily avoidable, as the first came on a lazy pass and the second and third were the result of defenders simply picking his dribble from him. Things could have gone worse though.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 26 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +14 +/-
It seemed after he came in at first that he was going to try and fill Knight’s role as a shoot first, pass second type guy, but he got back to his typical ways soon enough. Twice more he found John Henson, his favorite target for easy baskets.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF DNP ILLNESS MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
|Miles Plumlee, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
He suited up, but wasn’t called on, as Kidd opted for Pachulia and Henson.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
While Plumlee didn’t make his debut, Kidd noted that he’s not afraid to play anyone, so I’d expect to see some minutes for him sooner rather than later. Kidd isn’t going to get a guy in just to get a guy in, but he’s been quick to react to any potential matchups he may like. It will be interesting to see if the Bucks can continue to improve defensively with their new pieces, specifically MCW and Ennis, who seem to potentially offer more than Knight on that end.
Two Things We Saw
- The Nuggets did not have Ty Lawson and were led in scoring by Wilson Chandler, who shot 12 (!) threes and scored 19 points. The Nuggets do not appear to be a very good or very interesting basketball team.
- Milwaukee held Denver to 35.7% shooting.