|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 36 MIN | 12-14 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 34 PTS | +19 +/-
Career high! Over and over Ersan dropped in jump shots. It’s kind of an Ersan thing to have his only misses come inside the paint near the rim. He was almost flawless on Thursday, with 17 of his points coming in the first quarter, which keyed a huge first quarter for Milwaukee in which they led by as many as 23 points. He was still taking charges and doing other Ersan stuff all game too.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 43 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +13 +/-
He tossed in a couple more mid-range jumpers, shots which he appears more and more comfortable with each passing night. He caught the ball wide open about 20-feet from the rim in the corner at one point and did not hesitate to take – and make – a jumper. He’s not forcing these shots, as he’s still looking for his opportunities to post-up little guys and attack the rim when he has space. His offensive development is so obvious it’s astounding at times.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 32 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +9 +/-
This was not one of the loud, offensive rebounding fueled double-doubles he’s put up lately, but he was still productive and active on both sides of the floor for the majority of the game. He stood up well enough to Roy Hibbert, which kept the Bucks from having one major disadvantage.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 7-11 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +17 +/-
One real obvious upside to MCW is his ability to get into the paint and the way he combined that with a willingness to set up big men near the rim. He’s still feeling out his guys and they are still feeling him out, so sometimes the drives to the rim and drop off passes are leading to turnovers, but he’s found Zaza a lot this second half when he’s gotten by defenders and searched for the best shot, rather than his shot.
|Khris Middleton, SG 34 MIN | 6-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +9 +/-
He’s still shooting well and is playing defense at a high level, crazy three-point makes from C.J. Miles notwithstanding. But the one thing that’s a noticeable weakness at times with him cropped up again early on when he pump-faked and drove into the paint. When he’s able to stop and pull-up for a jumper, he’s good, but when he tries to get to the rim and find a teammate, as he did with Zaza Thursday, he can be a little out of control. You can see it’s the next phase of his game he needs to develop. He’s already become so proficient in so many other areas, there’s reason to believe he’ll improve here.
|Jared Dudley, SF 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -15 +/-
He missed one three-point chance, a wide open shot near the top of the key and the ball slipped out of his hands into the crowd behind him when he geared up for another opportunity in the corner in front of Milwaukee’s bench. But still, welcome back Jared Dudley!
|John Henson, C 16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -5 +/-
His two blocks were emphatic. One ended up leading to a Pacers three, but still, when he’s able to wipe shots off the glass, it’s a lot of fun at times. Aside from that, he did a lot of John Henson things and probably didn’t play enough minutes.
|Tyler Ennis, PG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4 +/-
He seems to get a little bit of run in the first half in most games, but he hasn’t had much of an opportunity in the second half that I can remember over the past few games. To be fair, it’s not like he’s done much to stand out when he’s played in the first half to earn those second half minutes though.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -13 +/-
His numbers don’t stand out, but he does always play with some fire. I can’t help but recall another jump ball he created and won late in the fourth quarter, ala Tuesday night’s game. He finds a way to bother opponents with his unrelenting intensity, which seemed to play well into how Milwaukee approached Thursday night’s game.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 13 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -10 +/-
While his shot still wasn’t falling, he displayed that passing ability that seems to really help key Milwaukee’s bench. He found John Henson on a couple of occasions once again, showing off that chemistry those two have had all season. The confidence with which he helps conduct an offense is what was missing when Chris Johnson was filling in for Mayo.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION 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 | +/-
Interesting, given how effective he’s been in recent games. I guess it’s hard to get a lot of big men minutes, especially when one is playing as well as Ilyasova.
Two Things We Saw
- It wasn’t always easy, but the Bucks put some extra breathing room between themselves and two close competitors in the Heat and Pacers this week. The games were almost mirror images of each other, with the Bucks struggling for the majority of the game against the Heat before a frantic finish and largely throttling the Pacers only to almost blow it in the end, but Milwaukee found a way to come out on top.
Milwaukee is now 5.5 games up on the ninth place Pacers and a pretty sure bet to make the playoffs.
- The Bucks did not re-sign Chris Johnson for the rest of the season. Reports were that he would be signing with Utah. With Mayo and Dudley back healthy, Milwaukee must have felt there weren’t enough minutes to get him as they gear up for the playoffs. He’ll be remembered as one of the more useful 10-day guys the Bucks have brought in over the past two seasons.