This wasn’t pretty: Jazz 84 – Bucks 81

Milwaukee Bucks 81 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Utah Jazz
Jabari Parker, PF 33 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2 +/-

After his third straight game without a free throw, I had to see what sort of company Parker was in concerning his lack of free throw or 3-point attempts. He’s one of seven players in the NBA who have attempted over 400 shots with a free throw rate under 25% and a 3-point rate under 10%. The others:

Nikola Vucevic
Zach Randolph
Thad Young
Karl-Anthony Towns
Tony Parker
Jahlil Okafor

All big men, with the exception of Parker, who help reinforce how important it is for Parker to make a high percentage of his shots. If he isn’t shooting 50% or better every night, he’s not offering much to the Bucks. On nights where he makes just one of six shots, he’s as big of a problem as the Bucks have.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 3FG | 5-8 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -7 +/-

His numbers look fine, but they don’t relay the beauty of some of his work on Friday night. His first basket was a post-up that quickly turned into a spin move that turned into a reverse layup. No other Buck could have made that shot. He followed that with a transition finger roll that looked downright Gervinesque and a Euro-step drive through the paint. It was beautiful.

He forced a couple of attempts in the last few minutes that hurt the Bucks. They could have used a three and, as the Jazz announcing team pointed out, they had no one on the court that could get them one – especially with Middleton struggling. So, down seven with a minute to play, Giannis had to work very hard just to get up an attempt out of the post that ultimately missed.

Greg Monroe, C 33 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -12 +/-

Gobert is a difficult challenge for the ground-bound Monroe. He wasn’t able to get the Utah center into any foul trouble and didn’t get his typical number of attempts out of the post. He made the most of a few opportunities where Gobert was out of position and found cutting teammates a few times, but it didn’t result in much for Milwaukee, as Derrick Favors was very active in helping off Milwaukee’s parade of non-offensively threatening power forwards.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 29 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-1 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -8 +/-

His first basket was an attack off a pass from Middleton. He went right into Rudy Gobert and made a layup after absorbing contact. His last basket of the evening came in similar fashion. In between? Not much fun to watch.

His other attempts included two shots blocked by Derrick Favors, another blocked by Gobert, a three that missed the rim, a few prayer floaters that occasionally dropped. Good things did not follow Carter-Williams.

Khris Middleton, SG 40 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-4 3FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 9 TO | 18 PTS | -4 +/-

It seems safe to say Middleton has come down from his two-month high. He hasn’t broke 40% shooting in his past five games and his nine turnovers against the Jazz almost doubled his previous career high (5).

Some of his turnovers were downright puzzling, some were owed to the length of Rudy Gobert, and one should not have been marked as his turnover. But it wasn’t a good night. Ultimately, considering how much more he’s handling the ball this season, it’s impressive that he hasn’t had more big turnover nights.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1 +/-

Bleh.

Miles Plumlee, C 14 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +9 +/-

Plumlee does one or two things each game he plays that show he’s a capable backup center in the NBA. How a fringe contender type looking for a backup center doesn’t come calling for Plumlee, I’ll never understand. One of his offensive rebounds in this one, for example, led to a Bayless three. On one block of Favors, he ran out to the 3-point line to hedge on a pick and roll and then caught up with a rolling Favors at the rim. I was shocked at the mobility he demonstrated. His biggest problem may be timing. There’s less of a market for his services, though, especially this season with the Warriors doing their thing and proving the team to beat once again.

Tyler Ennis, PG 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7 +/-

Meh.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 25 MIN | 5-8 FG | 5-6 3FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -1 +/-

I’d write that it feels like the Bucks wasted a strong effort from Bayless, but he’s been good enough this season that it doesn’t feel out of the question that he has a handful of these five 3-pointer nights left in him. And if the Bucks are going to continue to shoot like they’ve been shooting this season, they’ll need a few more out of him.

How Bayless had five made threes early in the second quarter and then only took one more attempt the rest of the game, though, that’s a question that’s worth asking.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-

So much for the Vaughn that shoots and makes big threes.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Bucks had only two more points in the paint and made two fewer free throws than the Jazz. Were it not for an unconscious performance from Bayless early on when surrounded by a dreadful lineup that included Ennis, Vaughn, and O’Bryant, Milwaukee would have lost this game a lot sooner than it did.
  2. As you can tell, Milwaukee’s bench (outside of Bayless/Plumlee) didn’t turn heads in this one. Henson’s absence hurts, but Plumlee has adequately filled in more or less. It’s the lack of production out of the young player trio that’s killing them.

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1 Comment

  1. Whenever Giannis gets a glowing almost poetic review on recaps I can tell its Jeremy lol …we just need a bench…any moves to upgrade that possible