Temporary relief: Bucks 91 – Wizards 85

Washington Wizards 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +5 +/-

At one point Ersan caught a pass a step and a half inside 3-point line and shot/made a jumper. It wasn’t a very relevant play, but I thought it was interesting because I almost never remember him shooting anything other than threes when he’s near the top of the key.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 37 MIN | 2-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +8 +/-

He struggled trying to drive past Wizards defenders from the top of the key. On one of his first catches, after screening for MCW, he had John Wall on him on a switch and he was able to use his size to get Wall into a bad spot in the paint. From that point on, he struggled to get space or a look. Nene knew when his spin was coming. Wall took a charge the next time they switched. The Wizards had him game planned perfectly.

Zaza Pachulia, C 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +16 +/-

Milwaukee was up 15 points in the third quarter when Zaza had a layup opportunity. He blew it. But that was fine, because he grabbed the rebound and attempted another layup. He missed that layup with such force that it started a break for the Wizards and altered the game forever for Milwaukee, who from that point on was scrambling to keep its lead. It was a missed layup that changed the world for a moment.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | +13 +/-

MCW had eight assists in the first quarter, thanks in large part to Middleton’s early shot-making success. He’s going to be much better whenever the Bucks can surround him with a few more shooters. In the meantime, he did a good job of trying to the rim when he had openings. His one 3-point attempt was very far off, which served as a sad reminder of how far away he is as a shooter.

Khris Middleton, SG 37 MIN | 11-20 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 30 PTS | +11 +/-

Terrific. Consistent. Reliable. Effective. Middleton was all those things on Saturday night. He damn near tallied a third of Milwaukee’s points and more or less carried them to victory. and he did it by making the same shots he’s been hitting all season. Five of his six threes were from the corner. Middleton is absolutely going to be Milwaukee’s leading scorer the rest of the season.

Chris Johnson, SF 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -1 +/-

It was interesting how different his game was than OJ Mayo’s. Johnson is far more opportunistic. The ball was only in his hands for a few seconds at a time. When he caught the ball he either was on his way to the hoop, already ready to shoot or aware that he needed to keep moving the ball. That’s not a slight on Mayo, it was just interesting to see the team plug someone in that was very different than the player he replaced and not lose much.

John Henson, C 23 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -10 +/-

A lot of the same Henson things as usual. He finished around the hoop on his two attempts and the four blocked shots were useful. He had to compete with Marcin Gortat and Nene all evening and they didn’t bully him around too much.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -4 +/-

Since Johnson plays such a different game than Mayo, Bayless was even more responsible for creating offense and attacking than usual when he came in for Michael Carter-Williams. When those two played together, they were fairly harmonious.

Jared Dudley, SG 25 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -8 +/-

Still missing shots, which is destroying his value on the court.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

DNP-CD

Miles Plumlee, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

DNP-CD

Tyler Ennis, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

DNP-CD

O.J. Mayo, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

DNP-CD

Two Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee retired Bob Dandridge’s jersey at halftime, which was nice. Oscar Robertson was in attendance. The Big O and John McGlocklin both gave nice speeches. It seemed very nice for Dandridge.

    They got his final season with Milwaukee wrong on his banner, but we all make mistakes.

    The other thing I thought was that the whole thing felt a little opportunistic, given that there are new owners pushing for a new arena who seem interested in attempts to connect with the team’s past and connecting with the city. Those are fine things, but it just makes me wonder how authentic anything is. Are ceremonies like this happening because these owners truly believe Dandridge should have been honored? Or because it’s a good way for them to connect with the team’s past and build goodwill as they look to build an arena? The team’s president shouting about a new arena during the ceremony didn’t make me feel great.

    Also, a friend texted me during the game and said it seemed strange that everyone was wearing a suit, except for the team’s three owners, who were very casually dressed. Wes Edens had jeans on. I like wearing jeans too and if I were a billionaire I’d always wear jeans, but I’m kind of a jerk. Maybe a suit would have been nice.

  2. Milwaukee still didn’t look good offensively – Middleton was an exception – but defensively they came together whenever they really needed to. Washington was down three with under a minute left and ran an inbounds play that had a lot of motion, movement and screens, but the Bucks kept running them off the 3-point line and alternately switching and fighting to stay with their guys. It was a fantastic defensive possession that ended with a very difficult Paul Pierce contested three that missed.

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5 Comments

  1. I read an article or two online awhile back that made a good case for Bobby Dandridge being in the NBA hall of fame. I wish I could be more specific, but I’m guessing others can find that kind of thing on the internet. Anyway, especially as I’m old enough to remember Dandridge playing for the Bucks when I was a lad, I’m really glad he was honored as one of our all-time best. Referring to what Jeremy wrote above, I hope the franchise shows its sincerity by bringing our former standouts back time and again as genuine opportunities for appreciating players past.

    As for the game, the first quarter was a pleasure, the rest of the game mostly a pain; as perhaps epitomized by MCW, who started great, but seemed to go from sizzle to fizzle (although it’s hard to know how much of MCW’s performance is related to the play of his teammates, and how much their play is related to him).

    Jared Dudley seems to still be hindered by injury, and even if he isn’t, I’m not sure why coach Kidd played him so many minutes when he was clearly off his game. In possibly a related matter, I’m not sure why Miles Plumlee wasn’t played at all, and why he hasn’t been tried together with John Henson or Zaza. I tend to think of small lineups as something that can be effective when used strategically on at least somewhat rare occasions; but Kidd seems to go small ball just about all the time. I don’t understand why he doesn’t even try using pairings from his big threesome of John, Zaza and Miles, in other words, playing two of those three together.

    To finish on a harmonious chord, three of the plays that stand out from last night (as best I can remember them): (1) John Henson blocking John Wall’s driving layup near the end of the third quarter, to slow a surge by the Wizards; (2) The defensive sequence near the end of the game Jeremy mentions above; (3) Just before or just after that exceptional defensive stand, when Middleton missed a three in the last minute or so, Zaza looked impressively athletic grabbing a long rebound; then, while trapped along the baseline by two defenders, he made an amazingly crafty pass back to Middleton still behind the arc, creating a second chance that resulted in a huge make, which was Middleton’s third trey in five attempts during crunch time.

    Even after the aggravation of lots of sloppy play by the Bucks, and losing a big lead, it was good to see the team to pull this game out by showing some good resiliency.

  2. The drought is finally over! Hopefully we can hold up against a thriving New Orleans squad…itll be fun to see MCW vs. Tyreke Evans and The Brow vs. The Freak#OwnTheFuture# FearTheDeer

  3. As I was watching the retirement ceremony, something seemed off about it. It wasn’t until I read your comments on it that I figured out what it was. It did seem rather forced and slapdash.

  4. Berdj Joseph Rassam

    The Bucks have a solid core of guys from which to continue to improve and build their team for the future, and J Kidd is a very good coach to have at the helm.