After a forgettable week of performances, Scott Skiles opted to shake up his starting lineup for Saturday night's encounter with the Celtics. And in watching the Bucks fall behind 17-0 in the first 5:32, they certainly looked, well, shook up.
But even with bench mob leaders Mike Dunleavy (sore knee) and Beno Udrih (sprained ankle, out 1-2 weeks) on the shelf, the Bucks' ever-changing cast of reserves once again saved the day. Larry Sanders followed up his triple-double in Minnesota with a fantastic 18 points, 16 rebs, and 5 blocks, and he showed plenty of discretion on both ends: just one shot attempted outside the paint (which he made) and only two fouls in a season-high 33 minutes. Meanwhile the Ersan Ilyasova roller-coaster ride took a turn for the better with 15 points (5/11 fg), five boards and four assists, just 24 hours after taking his first DNP-CD in Minnesota.
Saturday also saw the return of Luc Mbah a Moute, who in his 14 minutes didn't look much like a guy who's been out for six months rehabbing from a knee injury. Mbah a Moute and Marquis Daniels were Skiles' go-to perimeter defenders down the stretch, and the Cameroonian splashed in a couple jumpers (one off the dribble no-less!) for good measure on his way to eight points and six boards (4/6 fg) in just 14 minutes. Meanwhile, Daniels started in place of Tobias Harris, who didn't get off the bench despite Dunleavy's absence for the first time this season. What, you were looking for a stable rotation?
- Fox Sports Wisconsin | Udrih and Dunleavy hurting
Andrew Gruman reports that Udrih will miss 1-2 weeks with the right ankle sprain he suffered on Friday, though the good news is that it wasn't more serious than a sprain. Meanwhile, Dunleavy had his knee clipped at some point during Friday's game in Minnesota and was too sore to go on Saturday. Skiles wasn't sure if it would cost Dunleavy more than a game, so for now he's day-to-day.
- JS | Udoh and Daniels start, Udrih out 1-2 weeks
Larry Sanders still isn't starting, but don't blame Scott Skiles for that--it was Sanders who turned down the chance to start on Saturday. Otherwise, let's focus on a silver lining of Udrih's absence: more minutes for one of our rookies!
"Doron can handle the ball and shoot the ball and he's a good pick-and-roll player," Skiles said. "He has the ability to be a good defender. So far he's been pretty solid when he's gotten minutes."
- Grantland | Skiles' offense playing to Ellis and Jennings' strengths
Great read from Brett Koremanos over at Grantland on how the Bucks tweaked their offensive sets to play to Monta Ellis' stronger right hand. The Bucks have of course been running these kinds of sets for a while--you can probably recall Luke Ridnour and Carlos Delfino taking plenty of perimeter handoffs in the past few seasons, but the big difference is that Ellis actually has the burners to turn the corner.
In spite of this, MySynergySports.com still shows the Bucks have increased their reliance on the pick-and roll this season: 15% of plays have been finished by the P&R dribbler (16th in efficiency) and 6% by the roll man (26th in efficiency), compared to 12% and 8%, respectively, last year. Meanwhile, Synergy attributes less than 6% of Bucks plays to hand-offs, where they rank 22nd in points-per-play, though that's up from less than 4% and 27th a season ago.