|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 35 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +13 +/-
For the most part, Ilyasova was really good again on the offensive end. With Mayo missing his fifth out of six games and Bayless out, Ersan has provided some much-needed floor spacing. He posted his second double-double of the month, and he’s shooting better than 50% from the floor in March. Ilyasova also drew all five of David West’s personal fouls on the night and took two charges. Impressive stuff.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 35 MIN | 4-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7 +/-
Giannis had four boards and two assists in the first quarter but was relatively quiet until a stretch in the fourth quarter when he drew and-one’s on two straight possessions. Aggressiveness wasn’t an issue, but he had trouble getting all the way to the rim, which resulted in some extremely difficult shot attempts, even by his standards. Giannis also had trouble – and this has been an issue all season – controlling the ball in the paint and was stripped on at least one occasion on a drive to the hole. Obviously, three-point shooting isn’t a strength of his, but he passed up on a WIDE open corner three on one of the final overtime possessions, and the Bucks were subsequently unable to get a good look. Even if the percentages say Giannis probably wouldn’t have made the shot, sometimes it’s best to roll the dice rather than have to force a difficult attempt with the shot clock winding down.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 34 MIN | 5-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +4 +/-
To Pachulia’s credit, he battled hard for the duration of his 34 minutes in what was probably the Bucks’ most physical game of the season (60 total fouls). He kept several possessions alive with offensive rebounds (8) and finished a few tough looks in the lane.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 40 MIN | 8-20 FG | 12-15 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 28 PTS | -2 +/-
He might have received a bit of help from the referees, but Carter-Williams was consistently aggressive and got to the line a season-high 15 times. As far as commanding the offense in the halfcourt goes, he still has plenty of room to grow, though he seemed to develop some chemistry with Pachulia, who finished three of his assists at the rim. While Carter-Williams is actually shooting well from the mid-range since coming to Milwaukee, his misses Thursday weren’t pretty. He seems to miss long on jumpers more than most NBA players should.
|Khris Middleton, SG 45 MIN | 6-21 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -4 +/-
Considering the absolute tear Middleton has been on of late, he was due for a game like this. That’s not to say he necessarily played poorly — he just missed a lot of open looks, including what would have been the game-winner with less than five seconds left in regulation. One-on-one play continues to be an issue, and he forced a tough look with the Bucks down four late in the OT period. After getting a stop on the next defensive possession, Middleton forced a very tough pass upcourt to Pachulia, who couldn’t control it.
|Chris Johnson, SF 24 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9 +/-
Aside from a few defensive lapses, Johnson was solid in 24 minutes. He made a great hustle play in the first half, lunging into the crowd to save a ball for what would result in a Carter-Williams and-one on the other end. It was the kind of play you’d expect from a 10-day guy. Twenty-four minutes in a fairly important game was maybe a bit much, but credit goes to the Bucks for giving their 10-day players a legitimate chance at the next level. And with Bayless/Mayo out, it wasn’t like he was really stealing minutes.
|Miles Plumlee, C 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1 +/-
Checked in eight minutes in the first quarter and made a nice block on a reverse layup attempt by Luis Scola. He finished a long alley-oop layup from Tyler Ennis for his only basket.
|John Henson, C 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -7 +/-
Henson picked up three fouls and a technical in the second quarter alone and had very little impact on the game. Probably his least-impactful game since Golden State last Wednesday.
|Tyler Ennis, PG 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -10 +/-
The biggest takeaway for me was that Ennis finally looked comfortable controlling the offense. He delivered a pinpoint pass to Miles Plumlee for an alley-oop and hit a couple floaters in the lane, as well as a pull-up jumper in the fourth quarter to trim the Bucks’ deficit to one point.
|Jared Dudley, SG 18 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -21 +/-
I don’t know what’s going on with Dudley, but it appears whatever knee issue he’s dealing with is severely limiting his effectiveness. He’s scored five points or fewer in seven straight games and hasn’t hit more than one three-pointer in a game in over a month. No one is asking Dudley to carry this team offensively, but Milwaukee’s halfcourt spacing has noticeably suffered during his slump.
Four Things We Saw
- Zaza almost went coast-to-coast for a layup in the first quarter but was fouled as he went up.
- After Middleton’s errant pass late in overtime, Sidney Moncrief remarked on the Fox Sports Wisconsin telecast: “Even a *good* player wouldn’t have seen that coming.” Sid’s the best.
- Johnny O’Bryant has now been a DNP-CD in five straight games and has played six total minutes in the last 10 games. He’s officially out of the rotation.
- The Bucks’ halfcourt offense is painful, but their end-of-shot-clock offense is even worse. We knew this would be an issue without Brandon Knight, but Milwaukee usually looks totally lost in these situations. On Wednesday, Middleton handled the ball on the final two possessions. Even though the Bucks were able to get a game-icing basket with less than 20 seconds left, Middleton struggled to create and the shot was more a product of Pachulia’s quick-thinking after Middleton desperately dumped the ball off late in the shot clock. Middleton is the Bucks’ best shooter, but he’s not their best creator. Conversely, Carter-Williams is probably the best creator, but he can’t shoot. And then there’s Giannis, who’s a bit of a wild card in these situations. It will be interesting to see how Kidd delegates ball-handling duties in late-clock situations down the stretch.