Officially Slumping: Nuggets 106 – Bucks 95

Milwaukee Bucks 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Denver Nuggets
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 30 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | -5 +/-

Ersan only came down with three rebounds but was active on the glass for most of his 30 minutes. He showed little hesitance to shoot the ball, knocking down a trio of threes and taking mostly spot-up looks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 35 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 5 TO | 19 PTS | -6 +/-

This was easily Giannis’ best game in what has been a pretty erratic post-break stretch. He’s been more selective with his shots in the halfcourt but turnovers continue to be an issue. He was charged with five Tuesday and now has 16 over his last four games. On a more positive note, he knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers – one off the dribble – as well as his first three-pointer since January 4.

Zaza Pachulia, C 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | -8 +/-

Pachulia got into it with Kenneth Faried from what seemed like the opening tip, and he accumulated two fouls and a technical less than five minutes into the game. As a result, Kidd kept him on the bench for the rest of the half. Pachulia started the third quarter but didn’t play much better. His lone field goal attempt came on a transition floater (not a typo), and he committed a bad turnover, twice looking off an open Ilyasova before throwing an ill-advised pass into the lane that was easily stolen by Ty Lawson. I’m yet to see an F-worthy performance this season, but this came close.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 33 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -14 +/-

Carter-Williams had his moments on both sides of the ball, but overall he didn’t look great against what should have been a favorable matchup. After making his first three-pointer – a wide open look from the corner – he missed his next two, including an airball on another wide open corner attempt. Defensively, he snagged some impressive rebounds in traffic that normal-sized point guards typically can’t get to, and he had a nice block on Lawson in transition. Unfortunately, Milwaukee’s team defense wasn’t humming like we’ve seen for most of the season, and that resulted in a surplus of open looks from beyond the arc for Denver.

Khris Middleton, SG 37 MIN | 6-20 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | -8 +/-

On a bad shooting night, Middleton salvaged a very respectable 20-7-6 (zero turnovers) line while hitting three three-pointers for the first time in a month. Two of those came on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter when Denver was threatening to pull away (for like the third time). He probably has the highest floor on a game-to-game basis of any Bucks player, so even when he struggles he doesn’t necessarily kill the Bucks.

Miles Plumlee, C 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0 +/-

With Pachulia on the bench for most of the night, Henson saw some extra run, but Plumlee was limited to single-digit minutes for the third straight game. No one seems to be sure if he’s any good yet.

John Henson, C 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-5 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -3 +/-

Henson found himself in the game earlier than usual in both halves, but he didn’t make much of a splash. He converted two pretty impressive looks in the paint – a long jump hook and a post-up in which he pivoted 540 degrees before splashing in another lefty hook. It’s incredible to watch the lengths Henson goes to avoid using his (alleged) dominant hand.

Tyler Ennis, PG 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +3 +/-

Ennis was mostly unimpressive in 15 minutes, but he hit an open three and generally made good decisions. He’s cut the turnovers over the last three contests (only one total), which is what I most wanted to see after he accounted for nine in his first four games with Milwaukee.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 22 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -13 +/-

Bayless was really, really good at the end of January and through most of February, but he’s been unable to find his shot of late. He’s 7-of-23 from the field over his last three games and has only four assists in that span. Also of note: Bayless is shooting 65 percent at the free throw line since his streak of 58 consecutive makes was snapped back on January 25 in San Antonio.

Jared Dudley, SG 20 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -1 +/-

Duds be slumpin’. He’s now 6-of-29 from the field over his last three games and literally cannot buy a basket because that’s not something that’s allowed in basketball.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Ennis and Antetokounmpo nearly connected for what would have easily been the highlight of the game just before halftime.
  2. As I discussed at length here, Henson is limited offensively, but he made a nice move to the basket in the first quarter and finished through contact with his right hand. I’m just kidding, it was his left.
  3. Giannis had a big-time chasedown block on Will Barton in the second quarter. He’s getting good at those.
  4. Perhaps more than anything, we saw that this team is still learning to play together since switching out Knight and MCW. Carter-Williams hasn’t really been the problem, though, and it certainly hasn’tĀ helped that half of the roster seems to be in a shooting slump. The Bucks still have a comfortable 5.5-game cushion over the seventh-place Heat, so there’s no need to panic, but the road ahead will be tough. Milwaukee takes on the the Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday night before returning home to host two more playoff-caliber teams in Washington (Saturday) and New Orleans (Monday).

Categories: Recaps

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  1. Because I’m an idiot, I also prepared a recap fort his game. I disagreed about Henson. I gave him an A- and had this comment:

    “Milwaukee stormed back into this game in the first quarter after trailing by as much as 11, in large part due to Henson’s play. He made a one nice pass out of a double team, another on a give and go to a cutting Jerryd Bayless, finished on a drive to the rim that started at the arc and hit a hook shot out of the post. Later on he went back to a lefty hook out of a spin move in the post. Offensively, he again looked very polished and controlled.”

    • Jeremy, I’m glad you didn’t suspend Nick a couple of games for his flagrant foul against John Henson, which while an egregious lapse of judgement, doesn’t appear to be malicious intent. Perhaps we can chalk it up to a rookie mistake from a very promising addition to your first rate staff. (I hope this comes off as tongue in cheek in a positive way.)

      We need all of you guys at Bucksketball to help us make sense of all the changes with the Bucks, to help us keep our perspective and our poise, and to chronicle the team’s surprising resurgence as the season goes on.

  2. Watch out Jeremy, you may lose your seat on Bucksketball’s “We hate John Henson” bandwagon. Careful, now.

  3. The worse we look this year the better we will look next year..we just have to take what the defense gives and make them pay…they are giving us open threes on Giannis and MCW so if we can convert then they have to close out on those guys…that will open up lanes and that means more high efficiency shots….oh my i cant wait for everyone to be healthy…FEAR THE DEAR!!