There was a Jon McGlocklin moment that was very enjoyable in the fourth quarter.
I can’t recall how many points the Bucks were up by, but by no means was the game decided. Especially with some of the endings we’ve seen so far this series. But Jim Paschke was talking about a ticket offer the Bucks were running during the game. Only Wisconsin residents could buy tickets for game six yesterday. It was a clever move, one that was aimed at making sure Bucks fans firmly out-number Bulls fans in the event of a game six.
Paschke wasn’t talking in definites because we didn’t know yet how this game was going to turn out. He said something to the effect (the sound was tough to hear at the bar) of “you should be at game six if the Bucks are able to bring it back home, Bucks fans.”
And Jon very quickly and very simply replied: “They will.”
It was nice. It was accurate.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 30 MIN | 2-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +10 +/-
Ersan on the court has become more and more like me at a bar. His confidence level is low, but he feels like there are things he’s supposed to be doing. He approaches shooting the three the same way I approach talking to the most attractive of women. He knows he has to get the shot up, because the opportunity is here, right in front of him and this is what he’s supposed to be doing, but he doesn’t think he’s got much of a chance.
And then, every now and again, he’ll hit a couple and he’ll start feeling good about himself. That’s like me landing a joke or two and getting some laughs. He’s real eager to shoot the next shot after that, but when that inevitably goes wrong, he goes back to catching and pump faking.
Basically, Ersan hit two threes, which was great. Milwaukee needs him to hit some threes. Would it be better if he didn’t miss nine of his 11 shots? Absolutely. But just by getting up six threes, he’s a threat out there that has to be accounted for and helps Milwaukee’s spacing.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 38 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -4 +/-
It’s hard not to give Giannis a good grade for his block with 38 seconds to play and the Bucks up four. As Derrick Rose drove into the lane, attempting to avoid the out-stretched arms of both Michael Carter-Williams and John Henson, Giannis got involved from the weak side and batted away Rose’s left-handed floater attempt for his fourth block of the night.
11 of his 12 shots came inside the paint, as he attempted to get inside time after time, even when he struggled to finish. Those finishes will come in time, as he gets better at taking contact around the rim. For the time being, he just needs to stick with it, keep finding driving lanes in the half court and being aggressive in transition.
|Zaza Pachulia, C 25 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +3 +/-
The maker of miracles. Twice, Zaza flipped up jumpers in an attempt to draw a foul this game. Once, no foul was rewarded, but his sloppy 16-footer over Joakim Noah banked off the glass and went down. Later, he pump faked a 13-footer on the baseline, got Jimmy Butler up in the air, awkwardly jumped in a way that his upper body made contact with Butler’s lower body, let go of another horrible looking jump shot that defied the laws of physics and banked in after the refs called Butler for a shooting foul. Those were very Zaza moments.
Aside from his circus shots, he made only 2-7 FGs but did rebound the ball well and the Bucks continue to play incredible defense whenever he’s on the court. Not enough is made of the success Milwaukee has defensively when he’s out there, probably because of the physical limitations he has and his inability to block a shot, but he’s apart of some of the Bucks best defensive groups every game.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 38 MIN | 10-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | +7 +/-
Given the stakes, there’s almost no question this is MCW’s finest game as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks and it is probably his finest game in the NBA. Look at this shot chart!
MCW has struggled as a finisher since arriving in Milwaukee, but he was composed and in control of his body as he attacked all night Monday. There were a number of possessions where he got to the rim and instead of launching a floater or trying to get all the way to the rim, he pulled the ball back and shot short bank shots that he seemed to really have a feel for. After six straight Bulls points made it an 86-83 game, with Bulls fans on their feet and Pau Gasol egging them on to get loud, he saw an opening against Rose, attacked and when he felt contact inside, pulled back, gathered his shot, used his height to his advantage and banked it in to calm the storm. But most importantly, he kept the Bucks firmly in control.
That was what MCW provided for the first time all series for Milwaukee: control. He made big plays when the Bucks needed him and gave them an offensive outlet when possessions seemed to start to get away. Having a guy who got to the rim and finished made a huge difference for the Bucks Monday night.
|Khris Middleton, SG 38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +5 +/-
After he made just 4-15 FGs and 1-6 3FGs in game four, it was reasonable to expect Middleton would bounce back for game five. He bounced back in a big way. He decisively caught and shot all game, with great results. Seven of his eight makes were assisted and on many of those he didn’t take a dribble, he just fired away.
He’s been a pain in Rose’s ass defensively too. Twice Rose tried dribbling by Middleton’s space and Middleton reached in as a help defender and stripped rose, leading to a fast-break layup and another layup that was snuffed out by Jimmy Butler but led to a short jumper from Pachulia. A third steal from Middleton led directly to a fast-break finish from Giannis. His steals were all very productive, as they so often are.
|Jared Dudley, SF 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -5 +/-
His fourth straight game with a three. Dudley’s officially looking like first half Dudley. He made a few very timely plays, even though it seemed like he was fairly overmatched against an aggressive Bulls front line in this game. But he stepped into passing lanes twice and was able to intercept passes like a defensive back. While he provided little to nothing as a rebounder, his made three and those two extra possessions he gave Milwaukee helped make up for it in limited minutes.
|John Henson, C 23 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3 +/-
Kidd is showing a confidence in John Henson he hasn’t shown all season. Whether it’s by necessity or choice, Kidd hasn’t hesitated in going with Henson to close out games and the young big man has responded. 10 of his 14 rebounds game in the fourth quarter, alongside a violent block of a Rose layup and a crucial offensive rebound that he turned into a dunk. Henson did turn the ball over three times in the fourth, but he played so well and with such confidence and skill that those can be overlooked.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -1 +/-
The way MCW was playing, Milwaukee did not need much out of Saturday night’s hero. Be ready for next game, Jerryd.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +12 +/-
He struggled to get much to go down, but he was very competitive all game. Constantly chirping with the likes of Butler and Gasol, Mayo helped bring Milwaukee a little edge. And while he wasn’t making many shots, this was the first time he attempted five free throws in a game since mid-February. He moved the ball as well as he was moving it early on this season as well.
Kidd’s shown some flexibility this series a few times. He’s sticking with Henson late in games. He rode his reserves down the stretch in game four. He’s done a good job of responding to the guys on the court, for the most part, this season and that hasn’t changed much in the playoffs.
Two Things We Saw
- Milwaukee only forced only 12 turnovers but saw the Bulls make just 4-22 3FGs. This is the big trade off. Milwaukee’s aggressive defense is built to force turnovers and the Bulls have been burning it from behind the arc all series, but they couldn’t find the bottom of the net on Monday. Derrick Rose missed all seven 3-point attempts he had in game five after making 12-26 3-pointers in the first four games. Doesn’t it feel like game five was bound to happen to him?
- Milwaukee’s starting five isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, back-to-back wins be damned. Over the past two games, the starting lineup (MCW-Middleton-Giannis-Ersan-Zaza) has played 28 minutes together and shot just 18-59 (31%) from the field and 2-9 from three. Somehow, they’ve only been -1 across those two games – possibly owed to a great job taking care of the ball with just five turnovers – but offensively, they haven’t found much of a groove.Their offensive rating has been 76.5 (meaning they score just under 77 points per 100 possessions), which is truly abysmal and bailed out only by a nearly unfathomable defensive rating of 80.7. When this group is out there, things have been ugly. But maybe ugly isn’t the worst thing in the world for the Bucks.