|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 34 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -8 +/-
He played Kevin Love to a draw, which probably speaks more to how the Cavs are using Love than to Ilyasova playing a great game or anything like that. He did all the things he usually does, though he wasn’t able to take any charges. Milwaukee could have used someone to step up and protect the paint in any way in the second half as the Cavs got into the paint over and over.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 35 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -15 +/-
When Milwaukee was forcing turnovers or running off Cleveland misses in the first half, he was fantastic, with 11 points and seven rebounds before the break. In the second half, Cleveland started to make shots and the Bucks had to operate more and more out of the half court, where he wasn’t as effective with Lebron James keying on him the majority of time the two of them shared the court.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 31 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | +10 +/-
After wowing the league with 18 offensive rebounds against the Nets, Zaza had a pretty run of the mill night against Cleveland. As Lebron got going int he second half, he wasn’t able to provide much rim protection and failed to so much as get in James’ way very often.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 34 MIN | 9-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 19 PTS | -2 +/-
He shot the ball far better against the Cavs than he did against the Nets in Brooklyn on Friday (7-26), largely because he avoided jump shots. Only three of his 14 attempts came from outside 13 feet. Everything else was a floater or an attack at the rim, where he had success finding his own offense. He attempted to force the ball into his teammates in close quarters on his drives though. Of his six turnovers, many came on passes to players less than five feet away that were poorly timed or simply thrown to guys who weren’t open.
|Khris Middleton, SG 39 MIN | 5-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 15 PTS | -2 +/-
Seven attempts really doesn’t feel like enough. It never felt like much was called specifically to get the ball to Middleton and he wasn’t able to get many open touches in the corners either. Especially in the second half, it felt like Milwaukee could have got Middleton a few more looks, either out of the post or coming off screens. He had an uncharacteristically high turnover game, with five.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3 +/-
Garbage time minutes only.
|Chris Johnson, SF 15 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -14 +/-
His shots did not fall. Without that, he becomes a less interesting player, as he doesn’t really create for his teammates or do anything that stands out defensively. Milwaukee needed a spark from its bench and he doesn’t really seem like the sort of player capable of providing that in ways other than jump shot making.
|Miles Plumlee, C 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3 +/-
Garbage time minutes only.
|John Henson, C 15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -25 +/-
His opportunities were limited, partially because he picked up a technical foul after what he felt was a clean block of a Tristan Thompson dunk attempt in the second quarter. The refs seemed to bother him all game.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -31 +/-
He’s come back to Earth in such a severe way after really playing above average basketball in December. His shooting numbers have been pedestrian and he isn’t really that great of a playmaker. With Dudley and Mayo out, he’s really the only capable creator Milwaukee has on the bench, but defenses have been able to pay more attention to him, limiting his effectiveness quite a bit. He provided virtually nothing against Cleveland.
Four Things We Saw
- At this point, stylistically, Kevin Love is essentially filling the same role that Ersan Ilyasova fills for the Bucks. He stands around the perimeter, moving the ball if he’s covered and shooting the ball if he’s open. The Cavs didn’t post him up one time during the entire game and only sparingly used him in pick and rolls by the time the third quarter rolled around.
To be fair, he wasn’t very effective even in his limited role against Milwaukee, but it’s sad to see a once great player looking essentially like a shadow of himself.
- J.R. Smith hit seven threes. Some of his attempts were tough, hand in the face, pull-up dribble, ridiculous makes. Others were wide-open, this guy has been standing alone in the corner for far too long. The latter were more frustrating than the former, as a guy who was as hot as he was probably shouldn’t have found as much open space as he did in the second half. He helped put the Bucks away with three consecutive makes from deep early in the fourth quarter.
- Lebron is incredible. Milwaukee led by six points with just over a minute and a half to go in the third quarter when he re-entered the game. He was visibly angry in the early part of the third quarter and very focused when he returned. He proceeded to score six points on dunks and layups and assist on another basket in the next minute and a half, giving the Cavs a lead going into the fourth. The Bucks never recovered and never had a shot at stopping him the rest of the way.
- Milwaukee turned the ball over 23 times, which goes a long way towards explaining how they lost the game, despite shooting 54%, out-rebounding the Cavs and making the same number of free throws. But a lack of 3-point shooting (only 3-12 3FG) and 23 turnovers explains it.