Playoff birth clinched: Bucks 96 – Nets 73

Brooklyn Nets 73 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Milwaukee Bucks
Ersan Ilyasova, PF 28 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +14 +/-

There was a time where Ersan virtually only attempted threes from the top of the key. He’s diversified his shot locations quite a bit more this season. All three of his made threes came from the corners or just about in the corners on Sunday. He’s finding different spaces and his teammates are finding him, which has led to a strong bounce back season after a rough one last year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +16 +/-

He was all over the court on Sunday afternoon, but the most notable success he had came with his jump shot. He stepped into four separate mid-range jumpers and knocked them down like he’s been doing it his whole career. The rest of his game has been at a high level for some time and now he’s been making jumpers for the better part of two months. By the time the playoffs start, we may see a new level of aggression from him on the offensive end.

Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +13 +/-

A fairly nondescript game for Zaza. Made a couple of jumpers and held up well against the burly, physical Brook Lopez, but otherwise didn’t do too much that brought attention to himself.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 27 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +16 +/-

He out-shined the once great Deron Williams. MCW was opportunistic often Sunday. Defensively, he poked the ball away from Nets ball-handlers on a number of occasions. Offensively, he tapped in a few putbacks around the rim. He didn’t seem to force much action when he got in the paint and was aggressive in the right spots. About the only time it seemed like he made a mistake was when he tried a jumper.

Khris Middleton, SG 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +19 +/-

He was steady for Milwaukee early, scoring eight points and handing out a couple of assists in the first quarter. He went to work in the post early on and the Nets weren’t able to stop him from finding teammates or getting good looks against smaller defenders.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 4 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4 +/-

Garbage time.

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

Garbage time, wherein he blocked his brother at one point, which must have been enjoyable.

John Henson, C 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +10 +/-

He’s become a very reliable backup center. Every night he gets between 15 and 25 minutes or so and he can be relied on to finish around the rim and block at least two shots while challenging a few others.

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

Garbage time.

Jorge Gutierrez, PG 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -4 +/-

Garbage time.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 16 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | +7 +/-

If Tyler Ennis had shown much this season, Bayless might have to worry about his spot in the rotation heading into the playoffs. Alas, he’s probably safe. But it’s been a while since Bayless took a jump shot and I’ve felt like it was going to go in when it left his hand. He missed two more WIDE open jumpers against the Nets. He’s made only 1-10 3FG in April and is shooting just over 30% for the month.

O.J. Mayo, SG 20 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 17 PTS | +14 +/-

He’s been Milwaukee’s most consistent threat off the bench when he’s been healthy over the second half and Sunday was no different. He got a little sloppy at times with the ball, evidenced by a behind the back pass gone wrong and another pass thrown into the third row, but that seemed to be a sign of him feeling pretty loose on the court.

Three Things We Saw

  1. With the win, Milwaukee clinched a playoff spot. They’ll face either Chicago or Toronto in the first round.
  2. The gap between Milwaukee’s starters and bench seems to be growing larger each game. Not only has the bench failed to come on in recent weeks, but the starting five seems to be playing better and better as it spends more time together. Sunday’s performance was one of this group’s best since the All-Star break.
  3. What happened to Deron Williams? He was miserable in Milwaukee. He haplessly launched up open three point attempts that clanged off the rim. He got into the paint and showed zero explosion when he attempted to finish layups. He did little to contain MCW or any other Bucks player he was charged with defending. His impact was minimal, and even that’s being friendly. It wasn’t long ago this guy was one of the league’s top point guards. Now he’s a sad story about how quickly injuries and situation can change a career.

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3 Comments

  1. I suspect you mean we clinched a “berth” not a “birth,” unless there’s some joke here I’m missing…

  2. This was the best I seen the Bucks play since the MCW trade. I think MCW rook that jump shoot at the end of the second quarter so the bucks would get another shot before the end of the quarter.

  3. Very pleasant. Much relieved to see the MCW that I thought we had, rather than the MCW we saw after the all star break. Wew. What a relief.

    I’m sold. The Bucks are looking at 5 year window or more of success, excitement that Milwaukee hasn’t seen since the 1980’s run. Buckle your seat belts folks, it’s going to be a wild ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!