They will: Bucks 94 – Bulls 88

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.

Milwaukee Bucks 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Chicago Bulls
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!

Shotchart_1430217816557

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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.51.50 AM

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.

Jason Kidd
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

  1. 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?
  2. 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.

Categories: Playoff talk,Recaps

Tags: ,

14 Comments

  1. When Jonnie Mac said that I cursed his name, thinking he just jinxed us. There’s a difference though in confidence and bragging.

  2. Get you some!!! This series could easily be 3-2 bucks if not for suspect reffing in game 3. Either way bucks werent supposed to win a game in this series and are ending up scaring chicago. Might splurge and go to the game Thursday

  3. One play in particular stood out to me: near the end of the first quarter, MCW was running a fast break. He made eye contact with Middleton in the corner, made a move toward the basket and could’ve easily gone up over Rose for a contested lay-up, but instead threw a cross-court, over the head skip pass for a Middleton 3. I just thought to myself “Wow, that’s a very point-guardy thing to do.” and it was probably something that none of our point guards of recent years could’ve pulled off. So, props to him.

    • Sweet observation, Avid!

      I totally missed that play, which is a reason why it’s great to read other fan comments, in addition to the excellent work of Bucksketball. Along with the camaraderie, the contribution of others can really enhance my understanding and appreciation of the game.

      For example, I’m not sure if the Bucks changed much on defense, but it seemed like the Bulls weren’t getting as many open threes or open drives. Also, it didn’t seem like the Bucks had to fly around as much, but were more effective. Even the Bulls shooting poorly seemed to be due at least in part to the Bucks terrific harassment. Jeremy alludes to this above to some extent. Does he or anyone else have a take on this?

      • I think because they had Dunleavy and Snell in foul trouble the Bulls didn’t have as much shooting threat and had to rely on playing Butler and Rose more heavily for outside shooting. Noah, Gibson, and Gasol won’t be taking 3’s and with Dunleavy a nonfactor and Snell not much either it made the help defense pretty successful and works now that the Derrick Rose successful 3 point shot fluke finally ended. At least that’s what it seemed like to me. Mirotic will take some (and make them too) but I think Chicago had to keep Noah, Gasol, and Gibson out there more for the size and rebounding advantage. If Milwaukee can keep Dunleavy on the bench and minimize Snell and Mirotic’s impact they should be sitting pretty well again. Butler will score. He’s good so he’ll find a way. But Rose could very easily go another 0-7 again. This has been great for the Bucks exposure wise. Lot of nationally televised games and the series still going is more money to be made and the Bucks are creating quite the buzz lately.

  4. Excellent analysis, Jeremy, on MCW’s stellar, sterling game, with the huge hoop you describe and the overall control and maturity showed by our young point guard. If he drives the lane with that kind of finishing prowess, and yet still has the ability to pass out when that’s the best option, then he’s going to continue to be an incredible force for the Bucks.

    The proportion of John and Zaza was really good, with Zaza playing really well in a significant supporting role as the cagey and crafty veteran, and John excelling in the lead role as a towering presence around the rim on both ends, with amazingly active and agile elasticity to seemingly be everywhere at once. I think this is why John has to be careful whether he bulks up, or how he does it, because he doesn’t want to lose too much of that incredible spryness that makes him so uniquely talented. It would be great, though, if he worked on a little face-up jumper, and his free throws,

    I think Giannis found something that didn’t turn out to be all that big in this game, but could be huge going forward. When he’s walled off near the hoop, that little jump hook should be almost impossible to stop, and a shot he should be able to score with a high rate of success. Like MCW, Giannis is gaining experience on the court working out his control, and I look for him to have a much more effective Game 6 with his forays to the hoop.

    Still liking the idea of adding Miles and Jorge for the rest of the series. I think Miles, especially, could bring a new look that would reallly help the Bucks, banging on the inside with either John or Zaza. As good as it’s been going for the Bucks, and as much as it’s wise to keep things largely as they are, I hope the Bucks don’t get too conservative, and are willing to throw in a new wrinkle or two to keep the Bulls off balance.

    Let’s stay loose and be a little daring, even a little dashing (in an understated way), continuing to confound the Bulls with a combination of youthful exuberance and smart steadiness.

    Finally, Game 6 on Thursday is on April 30, which means if the Bucks win, they’ll be playing a game in May for the first time since maybe 2001, and before that maybe since the early ’90s or late ’80s. Wouldn’t that be cool?

    So here goes, a homemade cheer:

    Hey-hey
    Hey-hey
    Let’s play in May
    Hey-hey!

    • Love the stat on the May playoff game Swisch! I did not know that and hopefully it will happen! Also if I may “rib” you a little (lack of a better term?) your writing seemed surprisingly happy and optimistic. Not that your other ones do not always sound down or unhappy, or that anyone can really tell this through a computer screen, but I sense almost a certain enthusiasm in your comment that I am not entirely sure that I’ve seen before. Awesome! I’m a fan of the cheer as well! Lets play in May! Go Bucks!!

      • When I was almost 8 years old in 1970, and living outside of Philadelphia, I remember crying when the Bucks lost a series-ending playoff game to the Knicks, with my Dad getting somewhat miffed at me for that.

        For some reason, although living outside of Wisconsin growing up, I was a huge and exuberant fan of the Bucks, Packers, Brewers, and the Al McGuire-era Marquette Warriors (my Dad’s alma mater) — highly enthusiastic and emotional and effusive, even into high school and college in the Chicago area. (I will point out that I was born at Columbia hospital, and we visited grandmas and other family near Hampton/Sherman and in Cedarburg past the covered bridge.) Even my Dad wasn’t nearly the Wisconsin fan I was, and defected largely to the Chicago teams, which was the cause of a good-natured rivalry.

        So my comments of late are probably a carryover from the gushing days of my younger years rooting for the Bucks (huge Sidney Moncrief fan, for example), and I kind of miss those days of unmitigated giddiness. It’s somewhat of a bummer having more of a critical eye for the way the team is being managed and coached.

        Many of my more negative comments are from a really strong and earnest desire for the Bucks to do things the right way to build a truly winning team (realizing I could be wrong about my opinions). I get really frustrated about things that I think are being handled poorly, in large part because of the selfish reason that it detracts from my excitement for and enjoyment of the Bucks, to which I want to give freer rein.

        Anyway, Saul, your note touched a chord within me in a nostalgic and overall positive way, and please pardon me if I got more or less carried away with this response.

    • I think when the Bucks took the Hawks to seven games in 2010 they played a game or two in May, but I *may* be wrong.

  5. I can’t believe the Bucks outrebounded the Bulls. Can’t believe the Bucks stayed ahead the whole 4th. After that Jimmy Butler circus shot (Gibson’s moving screen) I thought that was it. Throughout the entire 4th, the Bucks didn’t allow the Bulls to get on a sustained run. The Bucks just have tons of confidence right now and don’t play like a young team that gets rattled. Watching the post game interviews, it was clear that Khris and MCW are just calm dudes. Someone even asked them if they’re having fun.

  6. so I have stalked all year without commenting here. But after I just saw the drive of never quit in the Bucks play in these playoffs it is one of the most refreshing things I could have hoped for. I don’t expect us to win the series but to scare the Bulls is getting sweeter by the minute. 😀