Four in a row: Bucks 94 – Nets 86

Brooklyn Nets 86 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton, SF 33 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-3 3FG | 3-5 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +11 +/-

Middleton’s was a tale of two halves – he had only three points (via free throws) and one attempted shot in the first two quarters despite playing 18 minutes. He came (comparatively) alive in the second half, hitting all three of his three-point attempts and coming reasonably close to a triple-double.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 37 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-3 3FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +11 +/-

Giannis’ quietest game to date started with a bang – he had 7 points in the first few minutes of the game off of an early three and a big dunk in transition. After that, however, he didn’t have much of an impact on the game. These kind of games will happen from time to time, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him come back strong after a few days’ break.

Jabari Parker, SF 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +1 +/-

He played almost equal 6-minute stints in each quarter, ultimately breaking the 20-minute threshold that had (apparently loosely) been set as his limit in the first few games. Parker looked comfortable in game action, though there were still several moments where he settled for a jumper when driving might have been preferable, and it was enough to raise questions about whether he fully trusts his surgically repaired knee. But he did also have some great moments, including an impressive reverse dunk and smooth jumper on back-to-back possessions. After the game, Kidd stressed the importance of getting Parker playing time in game-closing situations and indicated that he might be in line for heavier minutes depending on his body’s reaction to back-to-back games.

Greg Monroe, C 35 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +12 +/-

He was eviscerated on defense by Brook Lopez (20 points) until the latter had to leave the game with soreness in his surgically repaired foot. But Moose was also able to counter with offense of his own, serving as a go-to offensive centerpiece when the rest of the lineup was unable to produce at key points in the second half. Two steals demonstrated his active hands on defense, and two blocks were a pleasant surprise.

Tyler Ennis, PG 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -1 +/-

Despite starting, Ennis quickly collected two fouls and yielded the point guard position to a combination of Bayless and Vasquez, picking up a few more short stints throughout the game. He hit his lone three point attempt and played generally inoffensively, appearing much more comfortable as he continues to work back from his offseason shoulder surgery.

John Henson, PF 9 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4 +/-

Henson played a single minute in the first half when he picked up two quick fouls after subbing in for Monroe. He had another few short stints, but was largely limited by the fact that Monroe played 35 minutes. He’ll definitely get more playing time going forward, as his limitation here seemed to largely be one of game flow rather than his individual performance.

Damien Inglis, SF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7 +/-

Mop-up duty

Chris Copeland, SF 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7 +/-

Mop-up duty

Miles Plumlee, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8 +/-

Plumlee got the call for a couple of minutes when Henson picked up two quick fouls, and then wasn’t seen again until the game was in hand. His play was inconclusive.

Johnny O’Bryant III, C 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +7 +/-J

OB’s newfound stretch of positive play still astounds me. He’s not the most graceful or efficient scorer, but he has seemed to discover that playing with energy and being able to hit a jumper once in a while are positive traits for his continued employment in the NBA. He also might end up being a poster child for why you don’t give up on a player after a single year in the league.

Greivis Vasquez, PG 28 MIN | 0-10 FG | 0-7 3FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | +5 +/-

0-10 shooting is impressive, if only for the difficulty of remaining in a game when you’re THAT far off. It’s remarkable that Vasquez, who has the track record of a great shooter, hasn’t been able to find his shot yet this year, but he’ll need to figure it out if he’s going to provide some value to this team. His distribution hasn’t been especially noteworthy either.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 32 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-6 3FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +19 +/-

Bayless scored the bench unit’s only points in the first quarter and took over from there, messing around and getting a double-double. He had a good day. It was also impressive to see him tie the team lead in blocks, but he was able to elevate for a couple of chasedown blocks as well as tying up Brook Lopez for a jump ball, which he nearly won. I suspect that the three-point shooting isn’t a permanent thing with Bayless (and he might have actually just stolen Vasquez’), but I’m more than happy to let the team ride it while it lasts.I was surprised when I looked up at one point and he already had 6 assists in the second quarter, but Bayless really fit much better into the flow of the game than any of the team’s other primary ballhandlers. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in when MCW returns–he might slot in well as a “spark” scorer to address one of that unit’s weaknesses.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -7 +/-

Mop-up duty

Jason Kidd

It’s very clear that Kidd is still trying to find successful rotations beyond his starting unit. He’s willing to ride the hot hand, and in his postgame comments he emphasized that he’ll go with anyone that can bring energy to the team either as a starter or off the bench. That said, he’s going to have to find some kind of passable bench unit quickly, as pretty much any group featuring less than three starters was horrific in this game. Maybe the impending return of O.J. Mayo or a lifted minute restriction on Parker will help positively shift those rotations, but Kidd will have a significant task in sorting out his lineups as the schedule grows more difficult in the coming weeks.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The team’s bench units were a tremendous disaster until Bayless started rolling in the second quarter. By my estimate, reserves played a total of 20 player minutes during the first quarter, producing exactly two points on an end-of-quarter basket by (guess who?) Bayless. Thankfully, playing a team as pitiful as the Nets meant that they could get away with it but more challenging opponents will be able to take advantage of that lack of production if it can’t be addressed in the near future.
  2. There was a fun in-game addition where the Jumbotron at the Bradley Center would show some very specific and unique statistics during replays. Things I learned today include:

    The Bucks are #2 in the league in free throw percentage.
    The Bucks are #1 in the league in average defensive speed (I’m assuming per individual player).
    The Bucks are #5 in shooting percentage from the elbow.

    These kind of quirky stats, while perhaps not really useful in your everyday sports debate, seem like a way to provide some new and different information and a cool talking point or two. I’m a fan.

  3. Outside of the game itself, the team held a “Build the Future” tailgate party on the block outside the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon. Team legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were in attendance at the game as well, receiving huge ovations when they were introduced during introductions.

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  1. Kudos for this statement

    0-10 shooting is impressive, if only for the difficulty of remaining in a game when you’re THAT far off

  2. I was at this game and the fan reaction every time Vasquez took a shot was absolutely hilarious, earning the nickname “Trashquez” from one particularly frustrated fan behind me lol.

    Very fun game, though. Giannis got the crowd going early, Parker looked very good in his minutes and Moose had a very complete game as well. Bayless was the hero, though, making huge defensive plays all night and making timely baskets.