Words alone can’t do it justice: Bulls 87 – Bucks 71

Sometimes Milwaukee Bucks games are beautiful occasions. All season long, the team has moved the ball very well and found itself with a plethora of open shot opportunities. Sometimes the open shots come with such frequency that the Bucks pass up good shots to get great shots.

Sometimes the Bucks lay an egg.

Sometimes the Bucks are so ineffective and easily handled that we feel the need to recap the game in a completely different manner. This doesn’t happen often, but it happened last night. The Bucks were held to their fewest points (71) and worst shooting percentage (33.7%) by the division rival Chicago Bulls.

Milwaukee struggled all over the court offensively. Sometimes it’s hard to describe a night’s game with just words, so we thought we’d just pull in a variety of images and largely let them do the talking (with a bit of narration too).

no mcw
Michael Carter-Williams was once again unavailable. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Still, we wait for Michael Carter-Williams. Milwaukee’s new point guard was once again unavailable, still bothered by the toe injury that’s kept him out of action since February 3. He did tell reporters after the game that he would be playing in Milwaukee’s next game, at home against the Sixers on Wednesday. In the three games since Brandon Knight was traded, Milwaukee’s offense has regularly looked out of sorts and in need of more direction. Jerryd Bayless wasn’t horrible against the Bulls, with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists, but it’s clear he’s no Knight.

MCW isn’t either, but he should provide more stability for an offense that seems to lack a conductor right now.

john henson battling
Pau Gasol Face. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Bucks bigs struggled badly against Chicago’s impressive front line. Between the three of them, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah grabbed 40 rebounds. The entire Milwaukee active roster grabbed 41. John Henson finished with one rebound in 16 minutes. Zaza Pachuila had one in six minutes. Miles Plumlee managed two in his 14 minutes.

Not an impressive night from Milwaukee’s centers.

tony snell a step ahead
Tony Snell saw the floor and couldn’t be stopped. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tony Snell! He racked up 18 first half points before deciding to take it easy on Milwaukee and score just two in the second half. Half of his shots were uncontested and he took full advantaged, making 4-6 3FGs en route to his third 20 point game in his past five games.

jerryd bayless blocked
Even when things seemed to go right, they quickly went wrong. Case in point, this Jerryd Bayless dunk. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

This was supposed to be a wonderful moment. Bayless laid the ball off to Ersan Ilyasova near the top of the key and then made a quick and decisive cut towards the hoop. Ilyasova bounced a pass two steps in front of Bayless with great precision and the point guard had a wide open lane awaiting his approach and dunk.

He was not prepared for Jimmy Butler, trailing close behind him the whole time, to put forth the effort he put forth. Butler stayed a stride behind Bayless and rejected his shot at he went up for the dunk. Bayless gathered the miss and kicked out to an open Jared Dudley for three, but Dudley’s shot went halfway down before rimming out.

giannis: the frustration
Even new hero Giannis Antetokounmpo could not rescue Milwaukee in Chicago. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Giannis made each of his first two jump shots, which had to be a sign of great things to come.

It was not a sign of great things to come. After making his first two shots, Giannis made just one more basket the rest of the night. Most surprisingly, he was 0-for in the paint and around the rim. Chicago’s length can be a challenge and defensively they seemed enthusiastic about challenging any of his attempts into the paint or around the rim. He attempted to beat the third quarter buzzer, first with a floater and then a few attempts near the hoop off offensive rebounds, but Chicago’s bigs wouldn’t allow him space to breath, let alone a clean look at the rim.

Giannis is now 13-38 post-Brandon Knight. He must anxiously be awaiting his new playmaker.

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  1. The worst showing of the entire season. We have had tougher weeks as far as scheduling and having to play back to backs so we dont really have excuses. I also am questioning why Kidd didnt play Ennis a little more…Giannis was in foul trouble so he had a hard time…but I think if there is any excuse its the lack of cohesion in the locker room? IDK but i really hope MCW can help when he comes back with scoring either through assists or him creating for himself…our defense is solid so it will come back around… we just have to score and rebound better…just kind of a bummer to see two possible statement games go completely bad….p.s. DO NOT PLAY MCW IF HE IS NOT AT LEAST 90 %

  2. This was a really intelligent and creative way of handling the recap, it seems to me, on a night when not much went right, and no one played particularly well.

    I think this is one of those times to try not to panic, nor to get overly animated, even though it’s difficult to keep one’s composure.

    For one thing, these things are bound to happen during the season, and it’s good to take the highs and lows with a certain equanimity. Then there’s the immediate adjustment to a big trade, which is hard to predict. Finallly, we played two of the best teams in our conference, each seemingly highly motivated to put us in our place, especially with stifling defenses.

    It’s hard to watch the rapid ball movement slow to a trickle, and all of the turnovers, and the double-digit deficits. It’s so unsettling and upsetting., so frustrating. It’s hard to see our main acquisition in the big trade sidelined for awhile, like getting excited about ordering a cool bistro dining set on sale, but then the delivery takes a lot longer than expected (just to pick a current personal example as I settle into a new home in the West).

    So this is one of those little tests along the way of patience and perseverance, during a period of some adversity that calls for a little urgency. I hope I’ll pass the test of not losing it, and that the players will, too. Here’s hoping for the Bucks to bounce back with exuberance.

  3. Keeping it in perspective
    Thanks, Jeremy. I like the way you handled this, treating it differently. Great images!
    This game was very painful for a Bucks fan to watch. When the Bucks do poorly & I’m watching at home, I get sleepy. I was asleep by 9:20 pm last night!
    On another Bucks fan site, people are badmouthing the trade in the aftermath of this game. I want to keep things in perspective.
    1)The trade was not about now but later and thus can’t be judged by now.
    2)MCW did not play so we can’t conclude from this anything about his effect on the Bucks.
    3) Chicago & Atlanta were likely to beat us even if we were playing as we were before the break.
    4) I think the trade of Knight has been hard on our players. Knight was a good guy and well-liked by his teammates; so there must be a real sense of loss and even doubt. They all say the right thing publicly, but I think it’ll take a while to get through this. Particularly hard on Giannis who is young, inexperienced, and was attached to BKnight.
    5)I have hopes that MCW will fit in well, and that JKidd and his staff will be savvy about helping the Bucks through this adjustment, which is not just about plays but about feelings. Dont’ want to lose what was truly marvelous chemistry!

  4. Its just a hard pill to swallow is all i was saying….its like night and day watching the competitiveness of the games…like the beginning of the season i just want them to compete

    • Nobel, want to say that your original comments were just fine, and my comments were not at all a criticism of what you wrote. It seems like we share the same frustration that the Bucks have looked so much worse than we’ve seen them in a long time — with the contrast making things all the more painful. As you said, the team “will come back around.”

  5. Just when you think you know what Jeremy is going to say about a game he shows restraint and writes the perfect response!

    Combination of Post All Star break blahs, trades and injuries while they have to play against two teams fighting for their playoff spots. Sometimes it just happens that everyone gets hot at the same time or ……everyone plays not so hot.

    A win against the 76’ers might be just the ticket to get everyone’s groove back! They won’t loose, will they?

    Go Bucks!