|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 22 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -13 +/-
The Bucks went small for the majority of the second half and both overtimes, leaving Ersan to watch from the sidelines. He had some moments early on, most obviously when he hit a three and then followed it up with another long jumper (where his toe was on the line – d’oh!). He also had a nice stretch defensively in the first half in which he blocked a shot and later stripped Joakim Noah as the center drove to the hoop.
But his lack of mobility wasn’t a great fit for what the Bucks were trying to do on the defensive end.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 51 MIN | 10-22 FG | 5-8 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | 0 +/-
What was probably the best half of his career came at a good time. After rueing the fact that he’d never had a great game against the Bulls, Giannis came out and scored 17 points in the first half Thursday night. He drew fouls and finished, he scored in transition and he scored in the post.
The second half would not be as smooth. The Bulls did a better job of walling off the paint and some of the shots he finished early on he wasn’t able to finish late. Milwaukee also had a more difficult time defending Chicago in the second half, which limited the team’s effectiveness in transition, where Giannis most thrives.
Defensively, he can get a little lost off the ball at times and that certainly didn’t help the Bucks defend a barrage of Bulls 3-pointers.
I skipped the post game stuff because sometimes life needs to be lived, but from all accounts, he was bothered after the game. He got a taste of success and the high it comes with in the first half. That’s what he wants. He’s already tired of the failures – both big (last season) and small (the second half) he’s experience in two NBA seasons. He seems to really want to be great, which matters a lot. We’ll see how it plays out next game, but even better, we’ll see how it plays out next season. Angry Giannis spending and off season fuming about this loss doesn’t feel like such a bad thing.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -18 +/-
There isn’t much to be said for Zaza’s game three performance. He hit one jump shot, but whenever he had the ball by the hoop, the Bulls front line just held their hands up high and he couldn’t really power through to finish. And everything Zaza could do defensively against Chicago, John Henson was doing as well or better.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 43 MIN | 9-21 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -21 +/-
He was not without moments, but after this game all most people wanted to talk about was how much MCW dribbles the ball and how little he passes it. It really doesn’t seem to me like he’s dribbling any more than a guy like Derrick Rose, but there is one big difference: He is nowhere near as productive offensively as Derrick Rose. So him handling the ball as often and attacking as often looks so much worse, especially when he attempts only one free throw.
It wasn’t a great game by any interpretation for MCW, but, if you’re a fan of the long view, this was probably valuable experience for a guy who could potentially be Milwaukee’s point guard of the future. He was lit up by Rose in part because the guy who could never shoot a three hit five threes. He was lit up by Rose because Chicago’s point guard constantly got into the paint and found teammates outside the arc rather than keep his head down and get off a shot.
Rose has put on a clinic and the Bucks have to hope MCW has been taking notes he can study this summer.
|Khris Middleton, SG 49 MIN | 6-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | -18 +/-
Jimmy Butler is a tough cover for Middleton. He just doesn’t quite have quick enough feet to stick with a guy like Butler on the perimeter. He’s been giving Middleton problems for most of the series, even though Middleton has had a few successful moments.
On the other end, his quick eight points in the last minute and a half of regulation almost won Milwaukee the game. Henson did a good job of screening off the ball for Middleton who made correct reads of the Bulls defense and found opening to launch 3-pointers on back to back possessions. It was a really nice sequence from him and an inspiring reminder that having a player who can make 3-point shots is quite useful.
|Jared Dudley, SF 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3 +/-
His deep ball sprung back to life and alongside it came a mid-range jumper too. Dudley was a spark with 10 first half points. This was only the second time since February 11 that he hit two threes in a game and they were big factors in Milwaukee’s building of an 18 point lead. Unfortunately, his offensive success could not carry over into the second half, as his looks dried up and his value diminished.
|John Henson, C 39 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11 +/-
He was fantastic. The only blemish on his night was a missed free throw with 42 seconds to play that could have tied the game before Middleton’s final basket in regulation. Such is life. Otherwise, Henson was Milwaukee’s only consistent finisher at the rim once again and a force as a rebounder. He stood up with the Gasols and Noahs of the world admirably and was clearly in a different class overall than Pachulia. Kudos to Kidd for finally riding with the lengthy big man for consistent minutes.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 15 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | +14 +/-
Seemed to move the ball pretty well when he was in early on, but wasn’t able to help shake the Bucks free from the rut they were stuck in for most of the second half when he took over point guard duties from MCW. Kidd was quick to move past Bayless, which was probably the right move.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 31 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +7 +/-
He didn’t contribute much before overtime, but he was Milwaukee’s most potent source of points in the first overtime. He got his jumper going and knocked down a few from mid-range. He had a look at a corner three that could have given the Bucks a three point lead with a minute to play and it went halfway down, but wouldn’t stay down. Aside from this brief stretch, again Mayo wasn’t very good.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-
Chicago made 14-33 3FG, which makes sense, because they love to shoot threes and have some very competent shooters. Milwaukee refused to adjust its schemes and regularly had to dive out to address open shooters, often without success. Somehow, despite allowing hella open looks, the Bucks still very much had a chance to win this game. I don’t know what to make of it, but it seems like maybe the Bucks could have eased up on double teaming Pau Gasol every now and then and made sure the likes of Mike Dunleavy and Tony Snell didn’t have two seconds of freedom to line up threes.
Two Things We Saw (or One Thing I Saw and A Thought I’m Thinking)
- The Bucks once led by 18, as noted above. Those were good times. The crowd was rocking and Bulls fans were quiet. But Chicago kept chipping away and by the time this thing went into a second overtime, they had had just about enough of the Bucks being pesky. The defensive performance the Bulls put on in the second overtime was impressive. Here were Milwaukee’s first six offensive possessions in OT2:1: Turnover
3: Missed jumper
4: Missed jumper
- The Bucks are now down 3-0. The Bradley Center will surely be taken over by Bulls fans on Saturday. This season has been a pleasant surprise and Thursday night was certainly the most exciting game we’ve seen over its course. But all things must end and now is a fitting time to remember that this year was never about this year, but the ones that will follow it.