|Khris Middleton, SF 38 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-3 3FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +14 +/-
Middleton again struggled from the field, going 3-of-9 after a 7-of-20 showing on Wednesday against the Sixers. He hit a jumper on the Bucks’ third possession of the game, hit another near the end of the first quarter, then lived at the free throw line (6-6 FT) before connecting on what would end up being the dagger three-pointer with just under two minutes to play.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 36 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +7 +/-
Giannis came out aggressively, attacking Carmelo Anthony and getting to the rim with relative ease in the first quarter. He cooled off a bit in the second, attempting just one field goal after sitting out the first six minutes of the period. The aggressiveness (kind of) returned in the second half, as Giannis hit a jumper to begin the third quarter and followed up with a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession. It was a relatively quiet 20-point outing, but he added seven rebounds and helped to hold Carmelo Anthony to 6-of-16 shooting. Anthony was visibly frustrated by Giannis’ length for much of the night, and a Giannis/Monroe double-team forced Anthony into a costly turnover late in the fourth.
It’s difficult to poke holes in Giannis’ fourth 20-point game in five tries, but he didn’t attempt a single three and passed up on a number of open opportunities. While he’s already shown that he can be a threat when left wide open, he clearly still lacks confidence with a defender closing in.
|Jabari Parker, SF 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +10 +/-
Again, Parker’s minutes were limited and, again, he didn’t play past the middle of the third quarter. It’s unclear how long this trend will continue, but Parker looked more comfortable in his 18 minutes than he did in Wednesday’s debut. He still forced a few things offensively and appeared to have trouble controlling his dribble on multiple drives to the hoop, but suffice it to say he hasn’t lost a step athletically.
|Greg Monroe, C 23 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +2 +/-
Monroe was quite bad for most of this game. He hit two jumpers on nearly identical drive-and-kicks from Tyler Ennis to open the scoring for Milwaukee, but he went just 1-of-10 from the field the rest of the way. Monroe, in his opinion, didn’t have the referees on his side for most of the night, and he drew a technical in the second quarter after a brief run-in with Robin Lopez. From that incident on, Monroe couldn’t buy a basket, and he forced some difficult looks down the stretch when he appeared to take the matchup with Lopez personally.
Twenty-three minutes were easily a season-low for Monroe, as the Bucks were able to ride John Henson for much of the second half. Henson entered for Monroe at the 4:20 mark in the third quarter and Monroe didn’t return until the final four minutes of the game.
|Tyler Ennis, PG 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1 +/-
Ennis surprisingly got the start with Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) out, and he was mostly a non-factor. Two of his three assists came within the first minute of the game, and Kidd was more comfortable riding Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless in the second half.
Ennis played the first 5:12 of the third quarter and didn’t re-enter until just 15 seconds remained in the game. Kidd’s decision to start him was likely motivated by a desire to keep the bench as intact as possible, while giving Ennis a confidence boost in just his second game back from offseason shoulder surgery.
|John Henson, PF 23 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 3FG | 6-7 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +9 +/-
Henson played only 23 minutes, but it was a dominant 23 minutes. He was easily Milwaukee’s best player Friday, affecting the game on both ends and finishing tough looks with touch around the basket.
While Monroe remains the far superior offensive player, Henson is a massive upgrade defensively, and it will be interesting to see how Kidd allocates minutes with both players now healthy. As noted above, Henson played from the 4:20 mark in the third to the 3:31 mark in the fourth, scoring 14 points and blocking three shots in that span.
|Chris Copeland, SF 9 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4 +/-
If he’s not knocking down open threes, he really brings nothing to the table.
|Miles Plumlee, C 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2 +/-
Entered early in the second quarter, finished a 4-footer off of a Bayless pass, goaltended a layup, argued the call, got T’d up, was replaced by Monroe less than a minute later. And that was that.
|Johnny O’Bryant III, C 16 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-5 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -5 +/-
A friend texted me during the game: “JOB’s improvement is almost suspicious. Roids, blood doping, sorcery…. whatever it is, it’s not natural.” That just about sums it up. O’Bryant still has his faults, but he’s a vastly more competent player than he was last season, and Friday was probably the best game of his short NBA career. He finished a few difficult looks around the rim — including a momentum-killing and-1 late in the third — and looked shockingly confident knocking down mid-range jumpers, one of which came over Kristaps Prozingis, who is nine feet tall, if you haven’t heard.
|Greivis Vasquez, PG 31 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-4 3FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +8 +/-
Vasquez continues to struggle as a shooter, but Kidd once again stuck with him for long stretches, evidence that he values his ability as a passer and playmaker. The shooting will come.
|Jerryd Bayless, PG 28 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-5 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -3 +/-
Bayless rimmed out on several open jumpers in what was a very quiet 28 minutes. He’s the only player whose name didn’t appear a single time in my game notes, for what it’s worth.
Two Things We Saw
- Giannis swatted a Derrick Williams three-point attempt near the end of the first quarter. People were impressed.
- This Kristaps Porzingis guy is something else. The Bucks have now seen him twice in nine days, and while he’s far from being a very good NBA player, he’s considerably further ahead in his development than most expected. Porzingis is so ridiculously tall and smooth for his size that plays like this look incredibly effortless.