Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
The Bucks ended their preseason schedule on a low note in Green Bay, falling behind early and never challenging the shorthanded Wolves in the second half.
Looking for good news?
How about this: the preseason is over.
Oh, and one more important thing: it doesn't technically count.
Those are about the only silver linings to be culled from the Bucks' ugly loss to the Timberwolves in Green Bay on Friday night, a game that featured neither Kevin Love (broken bone in hand) nor Ricky Rubio (recovering from knee surgery) but saw the Wolves steamroll the Bucks anyway. The absence of Love and Rubio should have presumably kept the Bucks competitive, but as we saw against the Wizards a week ago, the quality of the Bucks' preseason performances has been surprisingly uncorrelated with the amount of opposing talent on the court.
Tonight it was the hot shooting of Chase Budinger (20 points on just eight shots), the post offense of Nikola Pekovic (19 points on 10 shots, nine rebs) and the disruptive defense of Andrei Kirilenko that did the trick for Rick Adelman's bunch, staking the Wolves to an early double digit lead and never letting the Bucks get to within striking distance in the game's final three quarters. In terms of plotlines, look no further than the fact that the Bucks struggled to 36% shooting on the evening while allowing Minnesota to connect on a sizzling 51%.
Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with 19 points on just 13 shots (hey, a good thing!), but he also turned it over fives times and saw backcourt mate Monta Ellis match him in carelessness (5 tos) while laying enough bricks for the both of them (1/11 fg). By the way, this is where we say something about Ellis being a veteran that we don't need to worry about. I think.
Otherwise, Doron Lamb acquitted himself nicely for the second time in the span of 36 hours, scoring 12 points on eight shots while Ersan Ilyasova notched 10 points (4/6 fg) and six boards. Otherwise...well, it ain't pretty. Scott Skiles started Marquis Daniels in the third quarter to try to give the Bucks a shot in the arm, which will probably start some preemptive angst about Skiles considering starting Daniels over our favorite youngster next Friday. That'd surprise me given Harris started every preseason game, but there's a whole week of practice left for Skiles and the coaching staff to tinker.