Turning a corner?: Bucks 91 – Heat 79

Milwaukee Bucks 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
79 Miami Heat
Jabari Parker, PF 36 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +16 +/-

He didn’t have much of an impact on the game, which was a little disappointing since he was coming off a strong showing against the Hornets where he scored 15 points on 7-9 shooting. His month of January is shaping up in a way that reminds me of his pre-ACL tear December 2014. He’s starting to hit jumpers with more regularity. He still isn’t complimenting those with much in the way of free throws or threes, but if he can add a consistent jumper to his strong cutting and transition abilities, that’d be a great step.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 34 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 14 PTS | +18 +/-

He provided a couple of highlights and some fantastic off-ball cuts to the hoop that his teammates rewarded. On one especially rhythmic play, Giannis cut baseline, got a screen and was freed up for a half second, at which point Parker found him with a laser pass that Giannis caught and finished in the blink of an eye. When those two do cool things together it feels like win or lose, the Bucks have come away from the game victorious.

Greg Monroe, C 30 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-3 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +1 +/-

Against a defender with the length and shot-blocking instincts that Hassan Whiteside possesses, 15 points and 10 rebounds is nothing to scoff at. Fun fact: Monroe has had either 10 or 12 rebounds in every January game the Bucks have played in except for one. Incredible. This guy is a machine. A slightly above average machine with some bugs that need resolving, but a machine nonetheless. I can’t remember the last time the Bucks had a player they could so rely on for the same game every night. Scott Skiles would have had the most complicated relationship with Monroe ever.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 25 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +20 +/-

MCW should be on notice. Jerryd Bayless was arguably Milwaukee’s most useful player in the month of November and he again provided the shooting the Bucks so desperately need on Tuesday night. If he’s making threes, adequate on defense and a ball-mover, it seems like he’s a better fit with the starting lineup than MCW.

Khris Middleton, SG 36 MIN | 8-20 FG | 2-4 3FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +20 +/-

Of all the great games Khris Middleton has had lately, this may have been the most impressive. He didn’t have his best shooting night of late and actually started this game 2-9 from the field. But he display incredible confidence throughout the night. He kept taking shots and eventually got himself going a bit. He mixed a confident approach to his own scoring with an ability to get teammates the ball in positions to score and an ability to grab rebounds. Overall, he wasn’t flawless, but he was really impressive to watch. A commanding sort of night.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 16 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -11 +/-

Jumper! O’Bryant hit a long baseline jumper and tipped in an offensive rebound for his two baskets. What if he was really good at both of those things? He’s shown some life as a rebounder lately after spending most of his career as a guard level rebounder. He’ll become downright interesting if he keeps grabbing boards.

John Henson, PF 15 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +14 +/-

It’s endearing when John Henson makes a mistake. No one smiles more after they make a mistake than John Henson. He corralled an MCW forced loose ball when the Heat was bringing the ball up in the first half and as he picked the ball up, he lost it out of bounds off his leg. He knew it was his mistake and he did exactly what you’re picturing. He cocked his head to the side and got a big smile that revealed his embarrassment and regret. The Bucks haven’t had a player with a more expressive face in quite some time. This is one of the best things about Henson. This and his never ending rainstorm of alley-oop dunks.

Chris Copeland, SF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2 +/-

Garbage time.

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

Garbage time.

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

Garbage time.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-6 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -2 +/-

His season has been lost a bit due to a variety of injuries that have shelved him at different times, but he’s had a bunch of valuable games like this one. He’s shooting more threes than he’s ever shot in his career and he’s making them at a higher percentage. If you swap his health record this season with MCW’s, the Bucks may have three or four more wins based on his shooting success alone.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8 +/-

Invisible.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Back-to-back convincing road wins? Have the Bucks turned a corner? Milwaukee’s now 7-4 in their last 11 games, and the recent success is not simply a function of a soft schedule. Among those seven wins are victories over the Mavs, Bulls, Hawks, Pacers, Hornets and now the Heat, all potential playoff teams.
  2. Bayless’ shooting made a big difference for the typically 3-point deficient Bucks. Despite losing the battles in the paint and at the free-throw line, the Bucks won in part because of five made threes (three from Bayless). That doesn’t sound super impressive, but only once in their previous six games (win over Charlotte) had the Bucks made at least five threes.
  3. Milwaukee also took advantage of a poor effort from the Miami bench. Gerald Green and a guy named Josh Richardson combined to make just 3-18 shots, while Bayless and Henson combined to go 8-12.

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been a follower for some time now but don’t really get into the commenting, but I wanted to say you all do a great job and I love being able to go on here for news and talk about the Bucks. Thanks a lot!

    • This is very nice to hear. Thanks, Keith. And a thank you to the rest of our active commenters for making this a smart, fun place to talk Bucks.

  2. I wonder if Heat fans lose their mind as much as I did watching Wade at times last night. I know he’s always been a bit of a minus defensively apart from some opportune steals and blocks, but he makes no effort to get back on defense in transition, and maybe my favorite play of the night, Giannis blowing by him and dunking on Whiteside, was a perfect example of just how much he’s fallen off on that end.

    But fun game to watch. Middleton is turning into the leader the Bucks need, taking a lot of shots with confidence while also finding teammates for easy opportunities. We knew he could be good, as shown by the contract extension he got in the offseason, but I don’t know if anyone expected him to be quite this good already, and at 24 he could really be something special.

    Justise Winslow is already a fantastic defensive player, for sure. But there were a couple plays, notably a fade-away jumper, that Parker had that really have me excited for the future. His confidence will just keep growing as his game keeps improving.

  3. Michael Redds Knees

    Only 3.5 out of 8th, and 5 out of fifth with half of a season & a softer, home heavy schedule left? I’ll take it considering how disappointing they were during the end of 2015. They can only grow from here.

  4. Nobody else has said it, so I will. How much credit does Joe Prunty dese ve n the current play of the Bucks? A lot!! I love his rotations and his substitution patterns. THIS is the type of coaching that I was hoping to get from Kidd, but never really did. I’m never thought that Monroe fit this team and now he does. The current success is not all Coach Pruntys doing, but wait maybe it is.

  5. As long as thet keep improving this could be a dangerous playoff team maybe this season isn’t lost just yet

  6. It will very interesting to see how the team responds to Kidd when he’s back. if they fall back into their old ways it might cast a shadow on the future with Kidd.

    Also, I’ll be watching carefully on Kidd’s rotations and especially if he casts Henson back on the bench like before.