|Jabari Parker, PF 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -21 +/-As we all agreed in the recent Bucksketball roundtable, it’s too early to panic about Parker’s future, but Tuesday was another game in which he simply looked like another “guy.” He continues to be the Bucks’ most active and consistent challenger for rebounds, but that’s far from the role most envisioned he’d be in at this point. Parker was a game-worst minus-21 in 34 minutes, and he continues to be a turnstile defensively, getting beat on back cuts and failing to contest drives to the rim. Perhaps the latter has to do with his lack of comfortability at the power forward spot, and if that’s the case it’s something Milwaukee needs to examine as its league-worst defensive rating continues to plummet.
Offensively, Parker converted a couple of drives to the hoop but still relies far too heavily on midrange jumpers out of isolation sets. When he’s making them, it’s an effective strategy, but when he’s not it’s ugly to watch.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 36 MIN | 8-17 FG | 0-2 3FG | 2-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | -1 +/-Matched up with the more physical Gibson to start, Antetokounmpo struggled initially, as the Bulls jumped out to a 10-0 with Gibson accounting for seven of those points. GIbson was quiet the rest of the way, however, though he made his impact felt on the other end of the court, notching 14 rebounds (10 defensive) to go with six blocks.
Antetokounmpo used his speed to get out in transition for a few baskets, and most of his damage came in the paint, with a long-two early in the second quarter going down as his only made jumpshot. His confidence was on display in the second half, demanding a high screen from Henson and using it to operate off the dribble, but he also appeared cripplingly hesitant on a few jumpshot opportunities. He ever-so-slightly double-clutched on a five-footer, leaving it short, and passed on a number of opportunities to pull up in the mid-range with Gibson/Snell/Mirotic giving him the customary 4 or 5 feet of space.
On a more positive note, Antetokounmpo did attempt two threes, both in rhythm, but one rattled out, while the other came about 1/8 of an inch from falling short of the rim entirely.
|Greg Monroe, C 29 MIN | 5-18 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -4 +/-Not Monroe’s best effort. For the most part, the referees were letting the big men battle underneath the hoop, and Monroe struggled to finish in traffic, racking up 18 field goal attempts with only five makes. That said, he was about as active on the glass as he’s been all season, registering multiple second and third-chance opportunities en route to a game-high eight offensive rebounds.
Defensively, Monroe was caught out of position early in the game, leading ot a Taj Gibson layup plus the foul, and he was late on a number of rotations throughout the second half that lead to clean looks at the rim for Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, among others.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 37 MIN | 9-14 FG | 1-1 3FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 12 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -14 +/-Carter-Williams very quietly racked up 12 points and nine assists by halftime, but the Bulls were able to keep him under control when it counted. Still, this was one of Carter-Williams’ five best overall games this season, and he’s shown flashes of late that he can be a positive contributor for this team. After a rocky start to the season, he’s averaging 13.4 points, 5.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 47% from the field since the start of December.|
|Khris Middleton, SG 38 MIN | 10-21 FG | 5-10 3FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | -13 +/-Middleton more or less kept the Bucks in the game at multiple points throughout the night, finishing with 26 points (18 in the first half) and seven assists as he continues to string together strong performances. He’s now scored 26,19, 13, 33, and 36 points over his last five games, while averaging more than five assists in that same span. He hit several difficult fadeaways over bigger defenders and showed little hesitation on the perimeter
One of the criticisms of Middleton entering the season was that he was too passive, at times, considering his efficiency as a scorer. That hasn’t been an issue of late, as he’s climbed into the top five in the league in three-point percentage and into the top 10 in overall makes. By comparison, he ended 2014-15 with the 49th-most three-point makes in the league.
|John Henson, PF 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -7 +/-Henson entered with around seven minutes left in the first quarter, played the remainder of the period and then sat until the 6:37 mark in the second before finishing out the half. Other than throwing down a fairly thunderous dunk (7.5/10) off of an alley-oop pass from Mayo, Henson was quiet, though he did register a pair of blocks.|
|Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +6 +/-Hit a nice/pretty out-of-control runner across the lane in the third quarter. Made a few hustle plays, including tipping in a Monroe miss. Blew a wide open layup, which elicited an emphatic “ohhuhoohouhho” (that’s the best I can do) from John McGlocklin.|
|O.J. Mayo, SG 20 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-3 3FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -4 +/-Not much to say here. Mayo again struggled from the floor, going 3-of-9 overall and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. He’s now just 4 of his last 20 shooting over the last four games. One highlight, however, was a nice baseline drive and alley-oop to John Henson for what was probably the highlight of Milwaukee’s night.
Defensively, Mayo struggled to stay in front of Derrick Rose – yes, that Derrick Rose – off the dribble, with Rose scoring on consecutive drives in the second quarter. The same situation unfolded again in the 4th, though it’s worth noting Mayo didn’t receive much help at the rim.
|Rashad Vaughn, SG 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3 +/-Entered the game to begin the second quarter, left at the 5:47 mark and did not return. Aside from Vaughn’s six minutes, the Bucks basically played an eight-man rotation with Jerryd Bayless (knee) sitting out.|
Four Things We Saw
- The Bucks had 17 offensive rebounds and still managed to lose the overall rebounding battle 45-43.
- Milwaukee attempted 102 shots, setting a new season high, at least in regulation games. The Bucks also attempted 102 field goals in a double-overtime win over the Cavs back in November.
- Derrick Rose looked very Derrick Rose-y for much of this game, finishing with 16 points and six assists to go with a few highlight plays. He found success when going to the hoop but too often settled for jumpers and was well short on 3 of his 4 three-point attempts. In the first half, Rose finished 4-of-4 on shots at the rim and 0-of-5 outside the painted area.
- Benny the Bull, arch nemesis of The People’s Champ, Bango, may or may not have been KO’d before the game.