Hanging on: Bucks 97 – Magic 91

Orlando Magic 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | 0 +/-

Ersan has been pretty consistent of late. He’s scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games and has picked up some of the slack for Jared Dudley as a three point shooter.

Like most players, he’s at his best when he sticks to his strengths. His first attempt was a drive from the top of the key that ended up in a horrible shot, which was blocked. The more he sticks to catching and shooting or tipping in offensive boards, the better.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +7 +/-

This was no career best night, but Giannis was still productive. He wasn’t getting the same clean looks in the paint against the Magic he got against the Pelicans. It seemed like Magic defenders had an easier time sticking with him, especially Aaron Gordon, another uber athlete with size and length. He had some opportunities for catch and shoot threes that he turned down too. Some day.

Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +5 +/-

A little bit of a rebound game for the center who had been struggling of late. A play that really stood out to me came late, with the Bucks down one. MCW drove for a difficult layup, but couldn’t finish. I was hoping he would drive and kick, but a pass out may have been too difficult. But Zaza grabbed the rebound and very quickly looked to Middleton in the corner where he drilled a jumper. It was the awareness we always see from Zaza, combined with a little bit of his rebounding prowess.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 34 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 11 PTS | +10 +/-

His biggest impact plays came on the defensive side. He had a very nice stretch near the end of the third quarter that helped swing this game in Milwaukee’s favor. He had two steals, two rebounds and a blocked shot in the last three minutes of the quarter that helped the Bucks tie the game heading into the fourth. The Bucks as a team actually blocked four shots over that stretch.

Khris Middleton, SG 42 MIN | 12-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 30 PTS | +4 +/-

Again, he was great. In March, he’s averaging 15.4 shots per game and 22.2 points. He’s hit 60% of his threes and nearly 52% of all field goals. He was superb coming off screens and firing quickly against the Magic, but also had some great looks out of the post as well. His strongest strength, one that seems even stronger this season, is catching and shooting or catching and putting the ball on the ground for one dribble to create some space. He’s been fantastic at those shots over the past couple weeks and the Bucks are getting him more and more of those looks.

And if he’s in the left corner and open? Count it.

Chris Johnson, SF 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1 +/-

Still filling his role, moving the ball and taking shots when they come. It’ll be interesting to see how his time is affected when Mayo is firmly back in the mix and whether he’ll be able to stay on the roster the rest of the season or not. He has been probably the best 10-day guy the Bucks have had in the past two seasons.

Miles Plumlee, C 6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5 +/-

He was able to get off the bench for the first time since March 3, but didn’t get too much of a chance to make an impact.

John Henson, C 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +6 +/-

We’re getting to a point where Henson really needs to be talked about as one of the league’s best shot-blockers. With two more against the Magic, his blocked shot percentage is 8.6, which would lead the league if he qualified minutes wise.

Tyler Ennis, PG 14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -4 +/-

This may have been his best game as a Buck from a scoring standpoint, but he turned the ball over plenty again. Four turnovers against three assists in 14 minutes isn’t okay. You could make a case that two weren’t totally his fault: one came after a bad pass where he was scrambling and called for an offensive foul and another was a pass to Henson that should have been caught, but still, some of his turnovers are strictly lazy passes that get tipped. He’s not an especially creative passer, which is why his turnovers have always been so low. So it’s concerning that they are coming as frequently as they are.

Jared Dudley, SG 22 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +6 +/-

While he continues to miss from three, it’s a plus to see him chipping in some rebounds and assists. But we know why he’s on the court and when he isn’t hitting three, his value diminishes significantly. It may be time for him to think about taking a week off to rest his knee, which kept him out of a game earlier this month and may still be bothering him.

O.J. Mayo, SG 10 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | 0 +/-

He played 10 minutes in his second game since February 23, as Kidd is looking to bring him back slowly. Even in those 10 minutes, you could see the difference between him and Johnson, as Mayo is much more of a creator and ball-handler. His first assist, a recognition of a mismatch Ilyasova had and a pass into the paint, was especially nice. His presence is sure to help Milwaukee’s offense when he’s back in the flow.

One Thing We Saw

  1. Milwaukee still hasn’t figured much out offensively, aside from GET KHRIS MIDDLETON THE BALL. But defensively they’ve had little drop off since the trade. The Pelicans were crazy hot the other night and in Denver they struggled with penetration, but for the most part, they’ve contained opponents with the same effectiveness as pre-trade. That’s important, as it lets them continue to figure things out on offense without falling off too much. They’ll need that defensive intensity to continue in the next two tough games against Indiana and Memphis.

Categories: Recaps



  1. Glad to get another win. Bucks need to figure out their offensive game quickly (hopefully tonight to keep Pacers off their back a little) to keep competitive with the good teams. Anyone else think MCW needs to have some better shot selection? You’re not in philly anymore! Quit forcing it. Also Ennis continuing as a turnover machine makes me cringe every time he’s in the game.

    • I’m still trying to figure out MCW and Tyler Ennis, but their sloppy ways thus far are exasperating to behold!

      In a related matter, as the former unofficial president of the unofficial Ish Smith Fan Club (as seen here at Bucksketball in the summer of 2013), I am reporting that he scored a career-high 23 points last night, to go with 6 assists, and I think only one turnover. I’m interested to see how our former point guard does the rest of this season with the Sixers in perhaps his first chance at substantial minutes in his career. When the Bucks quickly gave up on him, they lost a good opportunity to salvage something from the trade of Tobias.

      Ish the Fish, slippery and quick, good with the dish.

  2. At the risk of repeating myself… but really, if I’m understanding correctly that John Henson isn’t eligible to be counted in NBA statistical catergories — such as blocked shots — because he doesn’t have enought minutes for the season, is that not pathetic — a sad commentary on our coaching/management for the Bucks?

    Maybe someone, or a whole lot of someones, should be complaining long and loud, even at the risk of being redundant and annoying. I’ll try to be restrained, but I’ll not be hushed. It’s too hard to see this kind of thing happening with the Bucks to one of our young, first-round draft picks — again!

    If anything, it’s Jason Kidd who is operating ad nauseam by underplaying and underappreciating John Henson game after game after game after game….

    To end on a positive note: Between Zaza’s admirable tapout off a missed shot to give the Bucks a reset possession and Giannis’ big dunk with 19.9 seconds left in the game, the Bucks passed the ball an impressive seven times. Nice!

    • Couch Potato Scout

      Swisch, (I see what you did there about not being hushed, very funny, haha! ) I agree that there is a need to constantly state that Henson should get some playing time, especially since he should be leading the league in blocks and block shot percentage. Also, although I am glad Plumlee got some playing time I still think the young big guys should definitely be getting more combined minutes than Zaza. (I’m trying to say that Henson + Plumlee’s minutes should exceed Zaza’s minutes). And I gotta say I still feel an MCW-Giannis screen and roll should be utilized more, instead of playing isolation-ish basketball. Also, like you said Swisch it’s hard to see MCW and Ennis play and I agree, and would add that I think the hardest part is seeing MCW settle for outside jumpers instead of driving hard.
      The one place I disagree with you is the Ish Smish Fan Club; although I love the kid, his speed and his driving ability, I feel that he’s very one-dimensional in that he must have the ball and have success driving in order to be good. And his defense and spot-up ability leave something to be desired, (especially defense, because someone that quick should be great at defense). Having said that I do think he would be a great change of pace guy off the bench, especially because he can push the ball up so well. I’d definitely prefer having him on the bench that Wolters, Ennis, and possibly even Bayless, simply because Ish is a better passer and seems to have more upside than any of the other people mentioned.

      • I agree with Couch Potato Scout and MIKEY to a point in that that I shouldn’t get too carried away about Ish. I really haven’t seen him play much since his summer league days with the Bucks, in part because I don’t think he has played all that much in the NBA since then.

        There are probably good reasons, including poor shooting, why he hasn’t been getting many minutes, but it’ll be interesting to see how he does if he gets minutes with the Sixers. This might be the biggest opportunity of his career, and I’ll be rooting for him.

        One thing about him — that doesn’t seem to be the case with MCW and Tyler Ennis — is that Ish is able to break down defenses off the dribble. He really is slippery and quick, and I wish we had someone like that on the Bucks. As Couch Potato Scout wrote, he could be a valuable sub in the NBA. We’ll see if he shows a good all-around game right now.

  3. To Swisch:

    There’s a reason Ish Smith hasn’t stuck anywhere. He just isn’t that good.
    And he did that last night in an OT game against the Bulls, with defensive stalwart Aaron Brooks defending him.

  4. Why oh why does MCW turn the ball over so much?Also i was at this game with my son(very first time) and u cld literally hear the groans when Giannis or MCW would pass up an open three…we could have blown them out…we need oj back for the bench scoring as well….btw this is after the Pacers game so im a bit more emotional than i usually would be…but my son loves Bango and wants a Bucks jersey