Still too close for comfort but the Bucks finally beat a tanking team. Hopefully this will turn the Bucks recent woes around and have a nice run before the playoffs.
1. Starting Jabari was a good idea. Starting Jabari was an obvious decision to make by Prunty but it was still a smart one. Jabari off the bench brought you a punch on offense but didn’t really bring much defensively. Jabari had an obvious motivation playing in front of his hometown of Chicago and he took that to his advantage. The Bulls seemed prepared for him, so he helped his teammates out and gave them open looks. He also threw down dunks, drove the lane aggressively, and actually played some decent defense on Lauri. He didn’t seem too worried about what his performance was and seemed more inclined to help his team win. He was also playing in front of his hometown team who have a lot of cap space this summer. Hm. Don’t screw this up Milwaukee.
2. Jason Kidd was onto something?
Energy and Effort. Energy and Effort. Energy and Effort. We all heard Kidd preach this to the media and we all crucified him for it because it never really stuck with his team. Once Kidd was fired, the Bucks played with an energy that has not has not been seen all season. Now we are deep in the Prunty era and the energy levels have depleted. The Bucks defensively look awful because they give up too soon and their centers are not playing physical whatsoever. They gave up 13 quick points and eventually 34 total first quarter to the Chicago Bulls. THE BULLS! The Bulls recently shut down all their good players, and the Bucks were only missing Giannis, and the lackadaisical Bucks let them shoot, rebound, and hustle all over them. Around 4 minutes left in the first quarter, Jabari was guarding Bobby Portis and sagged into the lane and stood there. The bulls swung the ball over to Portis and Jabari called Terry over to go guard him while he stayed in the lane. Portis shot the ball and made his three. This is an example of how the Bucks have been defensively. If the Bucks keep this up, we may not make the playoffs.
3. The bench needs to step up now and in the future.
No Giannis means that the entire team has to take on the load that Giannis carried. Tony Snell came into the game with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. Not only was he playing against a team that didn’t recognize his talents but he lost his starting spot to a rookie this game. He came out firing with going 2/2 from downtown. He closed out on shots and seemed like one of the few playing with some energy. He finished 6/6 and 4/4 from behind the arc We need this Tony every game.
Bledsoe had a quick and dumb foul so Jennings came in sooner than planned. Jennings is still playing under a 10 day contract, so he is always looking for the opportunity to shine in games to get that rest of the season contract. Late in the second quarter, Jennings was electrifying. He was driving without fear, hitting his shots, and passing to the open man like nobody’s business. He finished with 16.
Henson was atrocious (except for the three) and always has been. He can’t play physical on any team’s centers, doesn’t finish his shots, and doesn’t move on defense. He brings little effort to the floor and when things don’t go John Henson’s way, he shuts down and is no longer a reliable center. Maker and Zeller need to get in the game and play with such a high energy that Prunty has no choice but to keep them playing.
Muhammad also came up big off the bench with a +16 and contributed 21 points on 9/11 shooting.
4. People point to defense but the offense is not much better.
ISO and kick. That is the Bucks way. We run that so much it is no wonder that sometimes we only put up less than 25 points in the first quarter. We have become so reliable to hoping that Giannis can make a play every single possession that the rest of the team becomes stagnant on the offensive end. In the middle of the second quarter, Middleton drove the lane and Jennings just stood there on the top of the key. The idea of the motion offense is too have motion from all ends of the court. If it weren’t for Giannis’ play-making ability, this team wouldn’t be much better than the Chicago Bulls.
5. Teams play us so differently.
I recently watched the Spurs vs. the Wizards and then I watched the Pistons vs. Rockets and I noticed a trend that I don’t normally see in Bucks games. When the offense shot the ball, everybody on offense got back instantly and nobody stayed in the lane going after the offensive rebound. Tonight on every possession, there were 3 Bulls players in the lane every time. We are so under-prepared for the same thing every game. Giannis normally would be the only player to recognize it and would make in-game adjustments to counter the flooding of the lane. This game we were being pushed around at all ends. Once we started coming out in transition faster and harder, the less the lane was flooded and the Bucks were able to do something offensively.
Bucks in Six,