I’m out on the current version of Squad Six.
All game long every game, these guys chant on every possession. That’s fine and I understand that they want to be an enthusiastic bunch. When the opposition goes to the free throw line they do a chant about the player being an unknown or having bad hair or something else generic. They never really get the rest of the Bradley Center involved and it feels like maybe they could avoid chanting constantly all game and focus a bit more on ways to get everyone else involved, but they have their schtick and it is what it is.
But on Friday night, they kept chanting “Zaza’s A Cheater” and “Baby Zaza” and a few other things at Milwaukee’s ex-center. Milwaukee’s ex-center who from all accounts really enjoyed the city. Milwaukee’s ex-center who played incredibly hard last year and gave that same group of clowns tons and tons to cheer for. Milwaukee’s ex-center who was traded from the team and did not leave on his own.
That’s the guy you want to target? He took it personally.
Squad 6 or whatever you guys are, you have no class. Bunch of idiots. Tough loss tonight. Go Mavs.
— Zaza Pachulia (@zaza27) January 9, 2016
He gestured at them multiple times and dropped at least one f-bomb in their direction. So now he’s had a bad experience in Milwaukee and has justifiable reason to question the fans. Great job, Squad Six. Maybe next you can boo Kareem when he visits again or chant at Oscar Robertson that he’s no MCW.
Understand context and respect guys who played hard and were good to you and your city. Don’t be foolish.
|Jabari Parker, PF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -3 +/-
Another game, another uneven performance.
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 33 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -1 +/-
Disaster of a game, up until he held up well defensively on the last possession.
But here’s a synopsis of his last couple minutes. He short-armed a pass that led to a Felton fast break (fortunately for Milwaukee MCW blocked the layup). He fouled Dirk on a post-up then let Dirk blow by him after the inbound. He followed that up with a moving screen. He took two free throws and missed both.
All this came on a night where he was a non-factor throughout the game. Early in the game, Giannis caught the ball about 15-feet from the hoop with Dirk Nowitzki only lightly guarding him and gave it a good two and a half seconds of thought and one dribble before he shot a jumper. The jumper was airballed. This speaks to the kind of night he had.
|Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-5 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -7 +/-
Same game as always, though there were a few less made shots and a few more offensive rebounds rather than defensive rebounds. He grabbed seven offensive boards and five defensive rebounds.
The Mavericks were actually not too bad of a matchup for him defensively either, given their propensity for the three point shot and Zaza’s role as a guy who stands in or near the paint while everyone else moves the ball.
|Michael Carter-Williams, PG 41 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-1 3FG | 5-8 FT | 12 REB | 8 AST | 5 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -2 +/-
Once again he piled up stats and made some unseemly plays … but he balanced those out with some real strong flashes. A crucial chase down block with the game tied and ninety seconds to play. A drive and lay off for a Parker dunk. A drive and LONG kick out pass to Mayo for a three.
There were moments again where he was out of control or forcing things that weren’t there. But more often than not, he gave the Bucks a chance to succeed offensively by giving the ball up and cutting around the hoop when chances presented themselves. He’s often an active player and tonight his activity led to a lot of good moments.
|Khris Middleton, SG 39 MIN | 10-18 FG | 0-1 3FG | 7-9 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | -2 +/-
Middleton basically carried Milwaukee’s offense for the majority of the game, despite attempting only one three. He had success posting up smaller defenders that the Mavs were throwing on him and getting makeable shots throughout the game. His biggest moment of the game came at the end when he put the Bucks ahead for good with a bank shot in transition after a stop.
|John Henson, PF 20 MIN | 8-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +8 +/-
In addition to having a strong night of finishing around the rim, he was a late defensive sub for Monroe and it paid off in a big way. We’ve seen this before and we’ll probably see him come in for defensive purposes late in close games the rest of the season. This time he tipped away a Dirk Nowitzki pass that led to a fast break opportunity for Khris Middleton and a 96-95 Bucks lead that held up for the win.
|O.J. Mayo, SG 35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-5 3FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +10 +/-
Early on, Mayo struggled. He missed a technical free throw. He mishandled an easy pass. He missed an open layup, grabbed a rebound and missed a three. Badly. It didn’t seem like he failed for lack of effort, but he couldn’t get much going.
But in the fourth quarter, he hit two threes. Someone has to be out there to shoot threes, right!? It’s Mayo. And he did it well on Friday night. Given how rarely the Bucks attempt threes, when Mayo puts one up it’s kind of a “you had one job” scenario and he executed that job in the fourth quarter.
|Rashad Vaughn, SG 14 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +2 +/-
Devin Harris – old, backup NBA guard – was able to blow by him a number of times for layups or fouls that led to free throws. Vaughn responded with a three once, but outside of that, his impact was again nonexistent.
Three Things We Saw
- 44 threes. The Mavs attempted 44 3-pointers. The most in the NBA this season. No question, plenty of Dallas’s 30 misses were open too. It seemed like they had five or six wide-open looks following offensive rebounds alone. But they struggled to make shots. When a team that’s been as good as Dallas has been this season shoots only 31% in a half – as they did in the first half – the defense only has so much to do with it. On some possessions, Milwaukee flashed some good close out and help ability, but they were inconsistent there. They did just enough defensively, though, especially outside of a tough stretch to start the second half.
- Points off turnovers were a big difference maker for Milwaukee. It didn’t seem like anyone on the Bucks outside Middleton was having an exceptional game early on, but the Bucks held a double-digit lead for the better part of the first half thanks to eight Dallas turnovers that led to 10 Milwaukee points.
- Late in the first quarter, the ball went out of bounds off the Bucks. It was initially ruled Bucks ball and the Mavericks bench exploded. Immediately a ref on the other side of the court aggressively gave a few whistle blows, which seems to be the official NBA ref signal for WHOA GUYS LET ME BAIL YOU OUT. The ref that first made the call threw his hands towards the Mavs, as if to hold them back or quiet them down. This happens about once a game and I always get a kick out of it. The call was quickly reversed and peace was restored.