|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.