Effectively energetic: Bucks 92 – Nuggets 74

Denver Nuggets 74 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 20 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-2 3FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +4 +/-

Is a win with 20 minutes for Giannis really a win? Such is the type of developmental question the Bucks have to keep at the front of their minds all the time. Milwaukee was so rolling with John Henson, Jabari Parker, and the three guards in the fourth quarter that Giannis wasn’t able to re-enter at all. His lack of time and production was likely a one night minutes blip on the radar for sure, so don’t be too concerned. Given the struggles Milwaukee’s had recently, Kidd didn’t want to deviate from a group that was taking control of the game and showing no signs of letting up.

Greg Monroe, C 25 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +7 +/-

He sat the entire fourth quarter, as the Bucks were rolling with Henson and a collection of smaller, quicker players. But Monroe was there early and often for the Bucks, with better play at the rim than he’s had in recent games as well.

One of the best things about Monday night’s win was Milwaukee proving again that it could play very active defense with Greg Monroe as it did in the first quarter. They forced at least two shot-clock violations and controlled the paint on both ends.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 33 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-4 3FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +7 +/-

His shooting stroke has been unreasonably consistent all season long. He’s due for a run of 1-4 shooting night from three. But he still found other ways to be effective, helping harass Emmanuel Mudiay and the other Nuggets point guards into tough nights.

O.J. Mayo, SG 31 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-5 3FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +23 +/-

After a 40+ minute game in Charlotte, it was tough to ask too much out of Mayo. He was still active on defense, and he hit enough shots to be useful.

Khris Middleton, SG 31 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-5 3FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +6 +/-

After a hot start – 10 points and 3 threes in the first quarter – Middleton didn’t get many opportunities the rest of the night. Since he wasn’t getting open looks, he did a good job of facilitating and not holding onto the ball too long, killing opportunities for the rest of the offense.

Jabari Parker, PF 26 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +18 +/-

Dunks! Blocks! His athleticism keeps finding a way to show through, night after night. The rest of his game still needs quite a bit of work. He’s shown he can be a good playmaker and that he can rebound a little, but he isn’t consistent with either of those things yet. Once he’s totally comfortable on the court again and able to start finding ways to score consistently – which he’s been getting better at – the other things will start coming.

Monday was a good night for him, though, as his work in the fourth quarter helped seal the game. He was lucky that Denver opted to keep Kenneth Faried on the bench for the duration of the period, though, as the Nuggets forward gave Parker and Giannis both trouble with his energy and strength early on.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -4 +/-

Garbage time.

John Henson, PF 23 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +15 +/-

He was a big factor late in the game with his finishing and presence. He sealed off some opportunities for Nuggets big and small as the Bucks choked off any offensive opportunities that seemed to be cropping up late in the game. On the other end, Henson was finishing at the rim and slamming home alley-oops like it was last season all over again.

Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4 +/-

Garbage time.

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

Garbage time.

Tyler Ennis, PG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -4 +/-

Garbage time.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 3 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +27 +/-

Milwaukee’s former starting point guard, current backup point guard and probably future starting point guard played to his strengths against a sloppy Nuggets squad. He was in the passing lanes taking advantage of lackadaisical mechanics and focus on passes from Nuggets guards all night, leading to his three steals, a few of his baskets and at least one of his assists.

His line was great, and he had some strong chemistry with John Henson, especially in the fourth quarter. His overall feel is always going to be an issue, but on nights where he’s able to use his athleticism and not have to get into point guarding in the half court as much, he looks good.

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

He got a little run in the first quarter, surprisingly, but didn’t make much of the opportunity. Despite the early minutes, he didn’t have much of a chance to impact the game.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Denver’s fourth quarter lineup, the one they used when trying to rally back into the game, was not good. A heavy dose of Jameer Nelson, Will Barton, Danilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic and Darrell Arthur. Aside from Gallinari, there wasn’t an above average player in the mix. Milwaukee capitalized on the lack of talent and athleticism with suffocating defense. Denver couldn’t find an opening near the rim for a pass, let alone a shot.In the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter, the Nuggets shot just 2-10. That was the game, as the Bucks went on a 22-7 run.
  2. Defensively the Bucks were as plugged in as they had been all season. This Bucks team was the hungry, aggressive team that took great pride in its defense that we saw last season. Guys were helping and rotating more effectively, and Milwaukee took advantage of opportunities. The Nuggets helped out quite a bit with some unforced turnovers and talent deficient lineups, but credit Milwaukee for jumping on a bad team in a big way.

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  1. I waana see Giannis on the court no matter what. If he get 6 fouls: I dont care, just let him play as much as possible.

  2. What does a good point guard do? He distributes the ball to teammates in an effort to get the other players involved in the game offensively. This in affect makes the players around him better.

    The way I see it, Jason Kidd is point guard / coaching. He has inserted OJ Mayo and Jerryd Bayless (our de facto “veteran leaders) into the starting line-up and is giving them major minutes. Why would he give them minutes and rob Giannis of precious time to develop? Glad you asked. Giving Juice and Bayless minutes is going to increase their morale and get them pumped up to play. This gives them plenty of time to be role models on the court in which they can demonstrate the amount of energy the young players need to develop. Remember, Giannis can learn while on the bench. In this way, Kidd is distributing (minutes) to players to make the entire team better. I think giving OJ 40 + minutes (vs. Hornets) is too much, but it’s getting him going. Juice and Bayless may not be ideal leaders on the team, but it is evident that Giannis, MCW, and other players are following their lead.

    I think we gotta keep this lineup going for awhile. MCW is definitely playing better with a chip on his shoulder.

    My $.02

  3. What I saw after the game:

    JOB, Ennis, Plumlee, Rashad Vaughn spent time (while FSN was doing their post game show) practicing and playing 2 on 2. It’s good to see the garbage time players putting in work. You can see they’re motivated to get more minutes!

  4. The entire key is defense. Defense, defense, defense. Top defense teams can do major damage in transition, getting open 3’s and all the rest. Believe me, there is a reason why the Celtics won 11 championships in the 60’s. Defense leads to easy opportunities.

    Oj can’t really play but he actually behaving like a leader. Who knew? A bit of this year’s Dudley. He and Bayless are not starting because they are good players, they are starting because they have good perimeter quickness to move 3 point shooters off the line. End of story.

    Jabari, Giannis, Moose and Middleton will give us enough scoring if we play top DEFENSE. Henson is the key for that. He’s beautiful to watch when he is moving well.

    • LOL!

      11 championships in 10 years??


      Anyway…point taken. Just found that one line hilarious!


  5. Correct. Defense is everything, and the Bucks currently are ranked as the worst defense in the NBA.

    This at first made no sense to me. Surely a young team with this much length and proven defenders couldn’t be this bad on defense. Then I saw this game, and it was confirmed that the stats don’t reflect the actual defensive potential of the Bucks. Losing Pachulia could not be that big of a blow, instead gaining Monroe could be the bigger part of the equation.

    Honestly I didn’t realize how crucial Henson is to the defense of the whole team before this game. He’s the rim protector that balances out Monroe’s usually lethargic defense, but I’m also seeing improvements on his end as well. Moving forward it becomes even more evident that Henson needs to get more minutes for the defense to be truly effective, but the intensity was there in this game. Jabari and MCW seemed to play with more energy coming off the bench, and the high energy of the 3 guards led to a lot of turnovers and held the Nuggets to 74 points. (Ok, not the biggest achievement but its something).

    With the same starters, Jabari/MCW off the bench, and 25+ minutes for Henson, it will be interesting how many points they allow against the Spurs in this next game.