Lenny Kravitz Lives: Bucks 107 – 76ers 97

Milwaukee Bucks 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 97 Philadelphia 76ers
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +9 +/-

Ilyasova was quiet early other than his usual activity on the glass. He only came down with three rebounds, and the Bucks as a team seemed to struggle to control loose balls, especially in the first half. After closing out the first quarter, Ilyasova didn’t re-enter until the 2:47 mark of the second quarter. He immediately knocked down a three on Milwaukee’s first possession, put in a layup a minute-and-a-half later, then hit another three with two seconds remaining in the half. That cut the Philadelphia lead to just six after it stood at 14 when Ilyasova entered the game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 34 MIN | 3-9 FG | 6-10 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -3 +/-

I don’t know that “timid” is the right word, but Giannis was not in attack-mode from the start. He missed a couple of open mid-range jumpers in the first quarter, struggled to control the ball around the rim, and started 1-of-4 from the line before picking things up in the second quarter. Antetokounmpo scored seven points in the period, six of which came courtesy of dunk shots. Most notably, this dunkshot.

Zaza Pachulia, C 19 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +2 +/-

Curiously, Pachulia only played 19 minutes, as Kidd rode Henson (21 minutes) slightly more than normal and closed out the game with Miles Plumlee (eight minutes). Pachulia seemed to struggle a bit with the Sixers’ athletic bigs, and the Bucks as a whole had trouble containing drives to the hoop. Philadelphia finished with 46 points in the paint, 18 of which came in the first quarter. The only thing about Pachulia I wrote in the chicken scratch that is my game notes is: “Zaza wtf shot?” If I remember correctly, that’s in reference to a contested, mid-range jumper he hoisted off of an offensive rebound. Other than that, not a ton to complain about in a game that was probably a little bit tough to get up for after clinching Sunday.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 30 MIN | 11-17 FG | 8-13 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 30 PTS | +19 +/-

Whether Carter-Williams is a “true” point guard may still be up for debate, but he was easily the best player on the floor in his 30 minutes. He was one of only a few Bucks to play well in the first half, and he pretty much carried the team through a sluggish first quarter (14 points). He did most of his damage in the lane, showcasing his ability to get within four or five feet of the basket, gather himself and elevate over smaller defenders. He was able to exploit Ish Smith with that move on a few occasions. Carter-Williams was relentless as an attacker, drawing three and-ones and eight total shooting fouls on the night.

Khris Middleton, SG 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +13 +/-

Middleton had some open looks, but he was quiet for most of the night as Carter-Williams handled more of the offensive load. For as good as Middleton is, he still has games here and there where he seemingly disappears for long stretches. He wasn’t totally off the map Monday, but it was a reminder that when his jumpshot isn’t falling, he becomes much more limited offensively. It’s worth noting that his lone three-pointer did come at a crucial time when Milwaukee made its run just before halftime.

Miles Plumlee, C 8 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -3 +/-

After beginning the month with three straight DNP-CD’s, Plumlee has played in each of the last four games. His eight minutes were his most since Mar. 24, and it remains to be seen if he’ll have a role when the playoffs begin this weekend. Both of Plumlee’s field goals Monday came via the dunk shot. The first, off of a no-look pass from Giannis, and the second courtesy of a Tyler Ennis alley-oop with less than two minutes to play.

John Henson, C 21 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 6 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +11 +/-

Six blocks in 21 minutes. That’s a lot of blocks. And Henry Sims was on the receiving end of four of them.

Tyler Ennis, PG 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +9 +/-

Like Plumlee, it’s tough to predict whether Ennis is going to be a part of the playoff rotation. He rarely plays more than seven or eight minutes on a given night, but he’s also not a garbage-time-only player, as Kidd routinely finds him a few minutes in competitive situations. If he can take care of the ball and knock down open shots semi-routinely, there’s no reason Kidd can’t continue to deploy him in short stints in a playoff setting.

Jorge Gutierrez, PG 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -13 +/-

Gutierrez is a bit more versatile than Ennis, and it might come down to one or the other in the playoffs. Neither did much to further their case Monday,

Jerryd Bayless, PG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -2 +/-

Bayless is a great option to have off the bench, but he hasn’t been able to rediscover the shooting stroke and decision-making that made him so valuable when the Bucks were peaking around the All-Star break. He hasn’t necessarily killed Milwaukee since then, but the shooting numbers aren’t pretty. Beyond that, he seems more indecisive and mistake-prone offensively. On Monday, he committed an unnecessary shot-clock violation and a silly turnover late in the game when the Bucks simply had to take care of the ball and run out the clock. Bayless’ level of play could go a long way in determining how the first-round shakes out.

O.J. Mayo, SG 26 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +8 +/-

Mayo came out firing and initially had trouble finding his stroke, but he keyed a run to begin the fourth quarter that put the Bucks up eight. Mayo hobbled through a difficult month of March, but he’s been great since the calendar turned to April, averaging 14.7 points on 52% shooting (50% 3Pt).

Four Things We Saw

  1. Giannis be dunk-shotting.
  2. You might have heard, but at halftime, the Bucks’ revealed their new logos during a presentation/party back in Milwaukee. If you haven’t seen them yet, here they are. The unveiling ceremony, which was broadcast on FS-Wisconsin during halftime, had an… interesting feel to it. Rather than simply revealing logos, the team brought in “speed painters” to paint the logos in real time on large, blank canvases. These people painted very quickly, but it still took about 10 minutes or so to complete the set. It was cool, but the decision to have two guys sing covers of Lenny Kravitz, Bruno Mars and Journey songs while this was all going on was much less cool. Nonetheless, the new logos and colors are officially here, and from what I’ve seen the feedback has been generally positive. Word on the street is¬†Smashmouth is headlining the jersey unveiling ceremony, which will take place this summer.
  3. Johnny O’Bryant did not see the floor. Resting up for the playoffs.
  4. Things got a little chippy toward the end of this one once it was clear Milwaukee had things wrapped up. O.J. Mayo got tangled up under the basket and earned a technical for jawing with JaKarr Sampson and Henry Sims. Mayo appeared to continue talking with Sims well after the tech was called, but it looked like the two reconciled, as the TV camera showed Mayo offering Sims a quick dap during the ensuing timeout. Sampson, who was probably the most fired up, got his revenge a few minutes later with this absurd putback that knocked Jerryd Bayless’ headband out of place.

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16 Comments

  1. I just had a realization: in exchange for the thoroughly unwanted Brandon Jennings, the Bucks (eventually) acquired Michael Carter Williams, Khris Middleton and Tyler Ennis (also Plumlee). I’m sure I’m a bit late in realizing this but…. Jesus. Greatest trade in Bucks history? It’s certainly the best trade I can remember.

  2. I wonder what Zaza is thinking when he goes ISO and drives to the basket. I also wonder the % of times the Bucks have scored when he does so. He did that at least 3 times last night and it resulted in a TO and two shots that never got above the rim.

    Outside of that, nice to see them winning the games they should and closing out the season strong.

    • He’s thinking ‘God come on let me get lucky and let this fall..they can’t ALL look terrible’ Yes they can Zaza. Yes they can.

  3. So I’m wondering who (or is it whom?) MCW helped to play better last night other than himself?

    Also: How hard is it for his teammates to stay involved in the game when he’s constantly pounding the ball and putting up shots? I hope the new Bucks uniforms have pockets, because the other guys might as well put their hands in their pockets, and roll their eyes, and sigh, while MCW does his thiing on the court.

    Thus, the final question: Does MCW dominate the ball because the Bucks offense is sputtering, or does the Bucks offense sputter because MCW is dominating the ball?

    In any case, MCW is reallly hard for me to watch.

    • Classic Swish: young player has a great night in a Bucks win, but he didn’t play the way you think he should so you complain.

      But I forgot that point guards should always have more assists than shots else they’re actively harming the team.

      Lighten up, man!

    • Seeing as you’re the biggest Ish Smith fan ever, would you rather have MCW who shot 11-17 for 30 points with no 3 point attempts while drawing fouls and getting to the line, playing pretty good defense, and rebounding while still dishing out a decent amount of assists in 30 min? Or Smith who had 4 points on 2-7 shooting missed his only 3 point shot, had no rebounds, 5 turnovers (more than double MCW’s – 2), in 34 minutes? He did give out 9 assists so he has that going, but I think you’re failing to realize the Bucks are such a team effort team that even if MCW doesn’t give out 8-10 assists a game they still have guys like Middleton, Giannis, and Mayo who all have been having career high assist stats this year and create for others as well. MCW for sure isn’t perfect and needs to improve, but compared to your favorite pg you always say the Bucks should have kept he’s just flat out better. Numbers don’t lie

    • Interestingly enough, Swisch: As a Buck, MCW is shooting the same percentage as Knight, same amount of rebounds, assists, TO and Assist/Turnover ratio while shooting a couple fewer shots than Knight and playing muuuuuch better defense. Also, the offense has been pretty good with MCW on the court. OFF Rating: 104.3, DEF Rating: 98.0. So I don’t know what you’re talking about with the “offense sputtering” when it’s actually been quite good.

    • Well he has the second best on/off FG% on the team, and the lowest FG% on the team with him off the court. Also has the best on/off for the team in terms of points – so I guess he must be making someone better. If you watched the game at all last night it should have been painfully obvious he was the only member of the team who looked to be giving any sort of effort for the entire first half. He seemed to be trying to get people involved but everybody but him looked lethargic in that first half. Giannis came alive a bit finally in the third and Henson blocked a lot of shots (shame he hasn’t been able to rebound), but this certainly wasn’t a matter of MCW being a ballhog.

  4. I’m going by the eye test with MCW, and it’s painful to watch.

    When Nick writes that Khris seems to disappear at times, I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of MCW dominating the ball. Have you guys ever played a pickup game with someone like that? It’s hard for me to keep from checking out in such a situation, even if the guy is hitting his shots.

    The idea of getting MCW in exchange for Brandon was to get a true point guard with the willingness and ability to get the offense moving and set up teammates for good shots. At least it seemed like Brandon was trying to play team basketball, and was often successful at that, even though he didn’t have the knack for the point position and was much better suited to shooting guard. Plus, Brandon seems to have a gravitas, a maturity, a determination, a presence, that is lacking in MCW, at least thus far.

    I was actually thinking about the Ish Smith comparison during the game, and right now I’d rather have Ish. Consider that Ish was coming off of at least a couple of DNPs because of injury, and also who he has to work with on the Sixers as far as offensive firepower. Plus, how did MCW looked when he played with the Sixers?

    Although Ish can be frustratingly careless with the ball at times and has difficulty scoring (from what I can tell), overall he seems to have done a nice job with the Sixers, and looks like a solid backup point in the NBA going forward. He would benefit from some good coaching, and would do well to focus better on the court.

    The bottom line is I’d rather be out there running with Ish, knowing that he’s looking to get me the ball. I would be very interested to know what MCW’s former teammates on the Sixers and his current teammates on the Bucks think about this, in their heart of hearts.

    MCW might get away with dominating the ball temporarily, and against weak teams at that, but I don’t see his approach flying in the playoffs. Unless he changes dramatically, the Bucks will come down to earth with a thud. It’s a shame, because MCW would get a fair number of shots, anyway, even if he put an emphasis on passing; and I think with a pass-first mindset, he could help the Bucks make a good showing in the playoffs, with an exciting brand of team basketball.

    • You can see Coach Kidd on the sidelines directing his team to get MCW the ball in the post. He had 4-6 inches on his defender at all times, and he’s been using that to his advantage recently with very strong results. Kidd does the same thing with Middleton when a shorter player is on him. MCW backs his guy down, and if a double comes, he passes out of it. If they leave him one on one, he’s probably gonna score. He doesn’t have a consistent jumpshot yet, and has a mismatch down low every night. So why not exploit it? This team is fairly offensively challenged, but when they play through MCW they aren’t.

    • “I’m going with the eye test” = “I only consider statistics when they agree with my argument”

      And considering that the rest of this essay is based on your personal feelings and what you suppose his teammates feel with no factual basis, I’d give it a solid pass.

      Besides, it’s not like he’s been throwing up 5, 7, 8, or 9 assists in recent games…

      …wait, yes he has. Is that not “trying to play team basketball” enough? What would satisfy the craving for a “true point guard” anyways, apart from some nebulous feeling about getting the offense moving or setting up his teammates?

      Consider that Khris Middleton had some of his best performances of the season after MCW came on. But carry on blaming other players when one that you like has an off night. Besides–Middleton himself took 11 shots last night and, as Nick notes, had open looks. It’s not like he was frozen out of the offense. But of course, he had a bad night because of MCW. Of course.

      Even if you insist on the eye test, he’s shown plenty of vision and passing ability in his short time with the Bucks. There’s been no indication that his teammates are frustrated with his play apart from what you’re trying to insert to reinforce your own conclusions. Combine that with other posters that have pointed out how the team has performed better with him on the floor and you just look stubborn.

      • Hey, I might very well be wrong, but isn’t this comment section a place for fans to express their true opinions?

        I’m really interested to read what other fans have to say, even if they differ from me. It’s nice when I get agreement, but mostly it’s good to get genuine opinions — even from fans like me who aren’t claiming to be experts, but care about the Bucks, and feel strongly about what’s going on with the team.

  5. Sorry Swisch. This is one of the few times i have to disagree with you. MCW has a select skill set that allows him to get in the paint constantly. He can finish or get fouled and also dump off if need be. These are thing Brandon Knight could never do.

    Now, I did love Knight. But Carter Williams may be the most skilled offensive player on the Bucks and he’s a vastly superior passer than Knight (almost 7 assists) even though he looks for his shot all the time.

    Then you add the fact he’s a true point guard and someone Kidd can teach and you have a legitimate piece for the future.

    Although I agree at times he dribbles way to much. But I expect that to get better. He seems to dribble alot when he’s got it going offensively. He also passes better than Knight on the fast break.