Turnovers and missed shots: Jazz 82 – Bucks 75

Milwaukee Bucks 75 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Utah Jazz
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 34 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -4 +/-

His typical array of Bad Ersan things, including missed jumpers and short armed attempts at the rim were on display against a very impressive Utah front line.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 34 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3 +/-

I think most people assumed that once Brandon Knight was gone, Giannis would take on a much more active role offensively. That did not happen on Saturday. Of his five shots, the majority came in some form of transition or late transition offense. In the half court, his touches and attacks were both few and far between. How that’s possible, I’m unsure. But if he’s not getting the ball much, he needs to get to the rim or at least make the attempt, while the team is getting acclimated to its new players.

Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | +6 +/-

Very little went well for Milwaukee’s starting center. He had nothing for Rudy Gobert. He couldn’t hit jump shots or finish. He dropped slightly more passes that led to scores, but he was a big net negative on offense and defense.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 30 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +5 +/-

He was fine, but the organization isn’t hailing him as the point guard of the future because he’s fine. In his third game back, he played 30 minutes and was generally productive. But that vision that’s supposed to make Milwaukee’s offense hum wasn’t all that apparent. It’s going to take time for him to figure out his teammates and how he fits alongside them. Patience seems necessary, especially after games like this one.

Khris Middleton, SG 35 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +12 +/-

It seemed at times that he was the only Milwaukee player who could be relied on to make a shot. Whenever the ball left his hands, I thought it was going in. A few times Middleton had to switch on to Trey Burke on the other end though and Burke did a great job of exposing Middleton’s subpar quickness on that end. Whereas a guy like Luc Mbah a Moute was once able to guard virtually any position, Middleton’s nowhere near as capable of defending quick point guards. To be clear, he isn’t really supposed to be capable of that. But it would help.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -7 +/-

Sometimes he gets in the game. Those are confusing times.

Miles Plumlee, C 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4 +/-

On a night where Milwaukee badly struggled with the opponent’s bigs, it’s strange that O’Bryant saw half as much time as Plumlee, especially since Kidd actually toyed with some very big lineups.

John Henson, C 20 MIN | 2-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -4 +/-

Gobert was a big problem for Milwaukee, Henson included. He blocked a variety of Henson’s shots and gave him trouble on both sides of the ball. It’s a bit stunning to look up and see that Ilyasova played 34 minutes in this game and Henson played 20, given how much better a fit he might be to handle either Utah big, but the shooting Ersan provides could have been (could have) valuable on a night without Dudley. I suppose that’s the counter.

Tyler Ennis, PG 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -6 +/-

Virtually no impact.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -17 +/-

Virtually no impact. Probably his least impactful game of the season.

O.J. Mayo, SG 27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -19 +/-

Uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball on Saturday night. He had one inbounds pass that a Jazz defender started cutting in front of almost a second before it left his hands. That’s how badly he telegraphed the pass, which he then thew softly, allowing for the interception. That was Mayo’s night.

Jared Dudley, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

DNP – Knee. Sounds like he should be back soon, but we’ll see.

Jason Kidd
A lot of Zaza and Ersan on a night in which neither was very productive. Milwaukee did little to counter the strength, size and athleticism of Utah’s front court. Kidd did attempt to counter with an extra big lineup that had both Zaza and Henson on the court, but that lineup saw little traction.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Milwaukee is struggling on offense. The ball isn’t moving like it was earlier this season and when it does move, it too often isn’t landing in the hands of someone who can make a jump shot with consistency. The lack of Jared Dudley made things even worse against the Jazz, a team that was committed to playing intrusive, turnover forcing defense. Milwaukee turned the ball over 23 times and while some were unforced, products of a lack of concentration or perhaps fatigue from a road back-to-back, many were caused by good rotations and solid Jazz defense.
  2. Defensively the Bucks had good results, holding Utah to 82 points and sub-40% shooting, but Milwaukee did struggle badly to defend Trey Burke. He penetrated over and over, getting into the paint and either kicking out or attempting shots that either went in or were rebounded by the Jazz. Utah had 13 offensive rebounds and didn’t play as poorly offensively as the numbers would indicate.
  3. Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors may be the best big man tandem in the Western Conference in three or four years if they keep getting better. Gobert’s length was incredible and Favors has a spectacular combination of strength and athleticism.

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3 Comments

  1. It was a sluggish and sloppy affair, and the after effect of all the futility is a frustration that lingers into the morning after. I’m really at a loss to make sense of it.

    It did seem like in the third quarter the Bucks had success really shutting down the Jazz with both John Henson and Zaza in the lineup together — but Kidd never went back to it. Our coach seems to want to play small ball almost all of the time while we’re getting manhandled on the boards. Why not play more of John and Zaza together, or Zaza and Miles, or any two of those three?

    To be fair to Ers, it seems like coach Kidd is giving the guy way too many minutes for someone who has been out of action quite a bit and probably is lacking in stamina. I also wonder if Kidd overdoes it with Zaza at his age, and if he would get more out of Zaza with less minutes.

    I’m not panicking about MCW and Tyler, but so far neither has seemed all that good at breaking down defenses off the dribble or taking good care of the ball. Brandon Knight could break down defenses — sometimes getting trapped and taking a bad shot or turning over the ball, but more often creating a score for himself or a teammate. He could also knock down an outside shot, which hasn’t happened much with the new guys.

    Also, so far, MCW and Tyler don’t seem to have the presence on the court of a Brandon Knight or a Kendall Marshall. With Brandon, it was a presence of energy and determination, with Kendall a presence of calm and decisiveness.

    I’m a little shaken, but I still like the trade, and think the new guards should be given a good amount of time to blend in, Plus, I’m not sure their new teammates on the Bucks are helping all that much by moving without the ball. One thing that Kendall did that could help our new guys is to pass the ball upcourt more instead of dribbling it, so as to get back to more of a running game. Perhaps there are things the coaches can do to get the players and the ball moving more in halfcourt sets.

    It might bear remembering (if my memory is correct) that we lost to the Jazz earlier this season at home with Brandon, and also barely beat the Lakers in overtime. The Bucks seem to have trouble with big and physical and active front lines. Sometimes small ball might be the way to go in those situations, but it seems odd that we rarely ever try to go big.

    These are basically impressions of what’s going on with the Bucks — incomplete observations and possible explanations. I truly am at a loss, and hope other fans will continue this conversation with their best takes on what’s happening out there with the team, and not happening.

  2. Almost completely agree with your assessment, though Giannis getting touches had as much to do with him as anything. He’s passive to a fault and he tends to give up opportunities at the rim for difficult passes to already covered shooters.

  3. I feel as though they are going though a transfornation..that was one of the complaints we used to have about B.Knight..it was that he turned tge ball over quite a bit last season but he worked on it and got much better…but one unsettling thing for me IS the sense of passivity on the floor…Giannis is disappointing me in the sense of aggression…i want him to take shots mess up if hes going to be the focal point of this offense…i saw Westbrook take 24 shots for like 30 points..so go ahead and score! I also am being patient with our point guards because the on court chemistry has to be developed but as a fan as ive said before just stay competitive and entertaining…rough trip so far though….i see comments dry up when we are losing tho…kinda bogus