|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 32 MIN | 7-15 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -6 +/-
Without Brandon Knight, the onus of playmaking falls heavily on four Bucks (five when Michael Carter-Williams is healthy): Giannis, Middleton, Bayless and Mayo. Each attempted at least 11 field goal attempts Sunday, and it’s reasonable to expect those high volumes going forward. Giannis scored 11 of his points and shot all five of his free throws in the third quarter, helping Milwaukee crawl back into the game. Unlike against Denver, Giannis was poised on his drives and didn’t force anything at the rim. He only turned the ball over once in a game in which the Bucks averaged a turnover every two minutes.
|John Henson, C 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | +4 +/-
Henson didn’t get many looks offensively again Al Horford, but he remained active protecting the rim and on the glass, finishing with two blocks and four offensive rebounds. He was about as animated as you will ever see him during the third quarter, when he picked up three personal fouls and exasperatedly expressed his displeasure with the referees. Henson didn’t play in the second and fourth quarters, as Kidd opted to split those minutes between Pachulia and Plumlee. Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether Kidd utilizes a three-man rotation at center — and whether Henson’s minutes get squeezed again as a result. However, Kidd did say before the game that Henson is playing well and will remain in the starting lineup.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 30 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -4 +/-
Since the trade, Bayless has been channeling his inner Knight. Both the good: shooting and isolation bailouts. And the bad: turnovers and pounding the ball. He led the Bucks with 13 points in the first half on 6-8 shooting, and his isolation sets were all Milwaukee had going for it in the first half. However, he turned the ball over four times and didn’t score the rest of the game. Bayless had the bench unit clicking and moving the ball in the first half of the season, but that’s yet to translate to the starting lineup.
|Jared Dudley, SG 33 MIN | 0-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 4 PTS | -3 +/-
This was Dudley’s worst performance in recent memory, and it’s likely no coincidence that it came against one of the premier power forwards and rebounders in the NBA, Paul Millsap. After going a perfect 10-10 against Atlanta earlier this season, Dudley missed all five of his field goal attempts and turned the ball over a team-high five times. On the other end, Millsap had his way with Dudley early and often, grabbing eight offensive rebounds and leading the Hawks with 23 points. “Battling Millsap so much and getting tired out there offensively, my shots were short a lot tonight,” Dudley said after the game.
|Khris Middleton, SG 36 MIN | 6-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -4 +/-
Middleton will now need to create his own offense with more regularity, and he showed that he’s capable of doing just that Sunday. He scored off the dribble, cut effectively and got the free throw line with regularity. Despite hitting just one three-pointer, Middleton finished with 19 points on 12 shots. That’s a good sign.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -8 +/-
It was a very unremarkable game for Ilyasova, who returned after missing Friday’s game with an illness.
|Miles Plumlee, C 15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1 +/-
Plumlee made a nice impression in his Bucks debut. He wasn’t the answer defensively against Horford and Millsap, but he rebounded aggressively and showed some nice touch at the rim with a lefty hook. His size should be a welcome addition to a team that ranks 28th in defensive rebounding rate, and Kidd complimented Plumlee after the game for being a presence down low.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -16 +/-
Pachulia did Pachulia things, like commit a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter.
|Tyler Ennis, PG 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -7 +/-
Ennis looked more at ease in his second game with the team and showed flashes of his passing prowess, including a nice baseline dish to Ilyasova in the first half. However, he again had as many turnovers as assists. Both of his made field goals were at the rim — one on a cutting baseline dunk and the other on an uncontested reverse layup. “I think Tyler’s doing a lot of good things for us,” Kidd said.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -12 +/-
Mayo scored all 15 of his points in the second half. He helped the Bucks close the gap at the end of the third quarter with back-to-back long jumpers, and his 10 points in the last frame went a long way in making the final score look respectable.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP PERSONAL REASONS MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
O’Bryant was not with the team, and for good reason: He got the call that his partner went into labor, according to Kidd.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
Out with a right foot strain.
Five Things We Saw
- Two things doomed Milwaukee: Turnovers and defensive rebounding. Milwaukee turned it over 25 times and gave up 16 offensive rebounds. Sixteen of those turnovers came in the first half, when Milwaukee shot 53.3 percent but attempted 18 fewer field goals than Atlanta. “Our starters had 15 of those turnovers,” Kidd said after the game. “That’s not to say that our new guys didn’t pitch in and have turnovers as well, but our first group has to slow down a little bit.” Dudley also credited Atlanta’s switching on screens as a culprit.
- After trailing 48-35 at the end of the first half, the Bucks opened the second half on an 8-2 run and outscored the Hawks 29-18 in the third quarter. They briefly tied the game at 64-64 with less than a minute left in the third quarter and entered the final frame down just two. However, Kyle Korver drilled a trio of three-pointers within the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, promptly extending the Hawks lead to 11. “I think we fought,” Kidd said . “We definitely did what we had to do in the third quarter, but the two mistakes that stand out are when we gave Korver two good looks at the three-point line, and he capitalized on it.”
- Uncharacteristically, the Bucks defaulted to isolations throughout the game. “I don’t think we did a good job playing the right way,” Pachulia said. “A lot of turnovers, a lot of mistakes. … There was one couple-minute stretch that we played hard, we shared the ball, we ran up and down, we came back. The rest of the game we didn’t play smart (and relied on) a lot of one-on-ones. We didn’t share the ball enough against a good team, so it’s hard to win.”
- Despite losing their leading scorer, no one on the Bucks is eager to admit much change since the trade. When asked whether this is an adjustment period, Bayless replied, “No. We’re only playing two new guys right now, so we can’t use that excuse.”
- The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for the Bucks.