Defenseless and defensive: Kings 129 – Bucks 118

Sacramento Kings 129 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker, PF 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -7 +/-

Two more dunks and a bunch of rough moments on defense. Jabari’s next step is probably going to be taking on a bigger role offensively and getting a better understanding of how he can be useful defensively. If he starts forcing turnovers as a help defender or rebounding the ball or walling off the paint, the Bucks would likely be thrilled. But he needs to be able to do something on the defensive end. He offers nothing other than occasionally active help defense.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 30 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-3 3FG | 6-7 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | -2 +/-

Offensively it was another complete and efficient outing from Giannis, complete with the standard Giannis fare (spin move dunks, open corner three, offensive rebound putbacks). Defensively he had problems with Rudy Gay; even his size wasn’t a deterrent for the crafty veteran Kings scorer. Gay ended up with 36 points.

Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -6 +/-

His four blocks were a season high – he hadn’t had more than two in a game this year. One block was more of a steal/block, as Monroe knocked it out of Rondo’s hands while he was going up. But he did block a Willie Cauley-Stein dunk, which is no small task.

Other than the blocks it was a quiet game for the man who often leads the Bucks in scoring. He didn’t have quite as many shots out of the post tonight and didn’t have an offensive rebound, which kept him from piling up any second chance bunnies.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 28 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 4 PTS | -21 +/-

He seemed to be moving the ball fairly well early, despite piling up three first quarter turnovers. His turnovers are often bad, though, the result of boneheaded plays or him obviously doing too much. He tried to pass the ball over a center that had come out to guard him and threw it right into his outstretched arms. Later he attempted a wild shot where he came soaring out of control across the paint. He then complained about an uncalled foul and was hit with a technical, compounding the issue.

Moments later, OJ Mayo entered the game in his place. The Bucks were far better off. Watching MCW and Rondo in the same game was incredible. Rondo, who finished a rebound shy of a triple-double, constantly has competitors backpedaling and reacting to him. He’s completely in control and stylish at all times. He’s composed, like the lead character in a mob movie. Carter-Williams is more like a jittery young sidekick, out there trying to prove that he’s next in line to take over.

He’s not.

Khris Middleton, SG 24 MIN | 8-15 FG | 5-8 3FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | -7 +/-

Quietly – it’s always quietly with Middleton, isn’t it? – he’s put together a few nice games after a tough start. The one or two dribble mid-range jumpers he likes to take are starting to fall, and his 3-point volume has increased over the last two games. His five first quarter assists were something of a surprise and more the result of Milwaukee starting out hot from the field than anything especially creative he did. Though he did haven one impressive pass along the baseline to Giannis for a bucket.

John Henson, PF 19 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-5 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -5 +/-

This was one of Henson’s finest games of the season statistically, driven by his work on the offensive glass. He had six offensive rebounds which led to six of his points.

Chris Copeland, SF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5 +/-

Copeland didn’t do much to take advantage of a rare first half appearance. Kidd went with Copeland rather than O’Bryant as Milwaukee’s backup power forward du-jour though the reasoning wasn’t entirely clear. Milwaukee’s been bad with both of them, so ultimately it doesn’t matter. He’s searching for answers that his bench doesn’t seem to have.

Opportunity could soon knock again for Damien Inglis if his D-League stint goes well.

Greivis Vasquez, PG 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-3 3FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/-

It’s time that he became the starting point guard, right? He’s rebounded well from his early season shooting slump, and he has a more firm control of how to work within the structure that his teammates provide. He just understands how to work within an offensive system way better than MCW. He is not more physically talented, but he’s light years beyond MCW as a facilitator of teammate opportunity. Granted, Vasquez is quite slow, and that could be an issue defensively, but the current starting lineup isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut themselves.

The argument could be made that playing MCW is a nod to development. My counter argument would be that there’s nothing to develop. The towel must be thrown in on MCW and Vasquez’s abilities can help Giannis and Jabari improve.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 36 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-4 3FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -9 +/-

He is the greatest 3-point shooter of our time. He’s also consistently ornery, which we’ll get to in a bit.

How Jerryd Bayless has managed to become Milwaukee’s most consistent player and the occasional offensive centerpiece is a question that needs investigating.

O.J. Mayo, SG 29 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-12 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -8 +/-

It’s weird, because when I’m at the game and I watch Mayo play and have my specific view of the world and mind for the Bucks, I think he plays like a leader. He seems to be going as hard defensively as any player on the team. He still makes mistakes and gets lost, but his effort is there. And when he misses a shot on offense, it genuinely seems to effect him. He’s constantly praising his teammates and calling out little things they do. He plays like a veteran leader should.

Except then I look at the box score and see a 2-for-12 3-point shooting night and I’m dumbfounded. When the hell did he put all those up? Why the hell did he put all those up? On a few occasions I definitely felt like he forced up a shot, like on a pull-up transition three he attempted and another three that didn’t even graze the rim, but generally he seems to be playing within the structure of the team. I guess just not very well.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | 3FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

Bench.

Miles Plumlee, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | 3FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

Bench.

Rashad Vaughn, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | 3FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-

Bench.

Jason Kidd

Kidd was ejected after slapping the ball out of the hands of official Zach Zarba. He was frustrated with the refs, but equally as frustrated with his team’s ability to defend. He said after the game that Milwaukee was letting the Kings get “warm up jumpers” right from the get go. That sounds about right, given that the Bucks gave up 130 points.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Jason Kidd referenced the team’s youth as a problem defensively after the game. He mentioned that the Bucks had trouble understanding what’s going to take place and read what is going to happen. The team generally lacks an awareness and ability to adapt to what the offense is doing and shut it down. Players like Parker are the guys who seem to have the most trouble with this. And when you compound those issues with things like an inability to force turnovers or grab rebounds, that’s how the Bucks end up allowing 130 points.
  2. There was an issue after the game. Video has OJ Mayo and DeMarcus Cousins exchanging words and glares before the end of the game and then Mayo apparently gesturing to Cousins to come meet him, but probably not for a post-game drink. These two have some history, with Mayo at one point saying a few years ago that Cousins had some mental issues. Word was that Bayless got involved too, which, of course, because he has a giant chip on his shoulder and is genuinely a tough guy who is as much about action as talk. Stories differed on who started what, but there was a significant security presence around the corridors after the game. In spots where usually a security guard or two is stationed, as many as five or six guys congregated. Something happened and there will be consequences, but it’s still unclear who will deal with what for now.

Categories: Recaps

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6 Comments

  1. Bravo Jeremy:

    The argument could be made that playing MCW is a nod to development. My counter argument would be that there’s nothing to develop. The towel must be thrown in on MCW and Vasquez’s abilities can help Giannis and Jabari improve.

  2. The MCW experiment SHOULD be over. The Bucks will never reach their potential with MCW running the team. It’s time to move on. And we need more commentary on soy milk.

  3. Totally agree that developing Giannis and Jabari is priority #1. I’m just as frustrated with MCW’s progress, but I’m not giving up on him just yet. Especially when is playing Vasquez is the alternative. Honestly, I dread when he checks in. You’d be hard-pressed to find a slower guard in the NBA. Point guards he’s defending are blowing past him. He also distributes the ball to teammates in really bad spots consistently and has had his own turnover issues this year. I’d even prefer to develop Ennis or see what Bayless (where would we be without him this year?) can do at the point versus going to Vasquez. Clearly, MCW’s confidence is shaken and he’s pressing. The Bulls series last year showed us glimpses of what MCW could do positively. I hope he responds this week after what was maybe his worst game on the Bucks.

    • Rondo blew by MCW last night too who for some unknown reason kept going over the screens. Either Bayless or Vasquez would be a massive upgrade from MCW

  4. MCW is very inconsistent some games he looks alright and others are like today. I still think he can be a good distributor in this offense if he learns to play like last game and drive and kick and dont take that many shots. I think at MCW best he could be lesser Rondo.

  5. MCW was completely lost during all night. He should start play like a starter or will be benched soon. In fact, he just need to stop and think before make the play. Jason Kidd not only has to teach him dow to be a pass-first play, but also how to think as a real PG.