Alas, if only basketball from November to June looked more like the basketball we're seeing in July.
The Bucks finished off an encouraging week in Vegas with a 113-68 dismantling of the Bulls, as the usual suspects propelled Milwaukee to an early lead that continued to swell even after the Bucks' roster players sat down midway through the third.
Larry Sanders sat out the finale after his solid effort last night, but the Bucks didn't miss him thanks to another fast start from John Henson (8/9 fg, 16 pts) and Tobias Harris (7/13 fg, 18 pts in 20 min), with Doron Lamb getting in the act after halftime to finish with 16 points on 13 shots. Overall we really didn't learn anything new: Harris is a load on the block and in transition, Henson is far more polished offensively than his middling collegiate numbers would suggest and Lamb can score even though he didn't make a single three all week.
There was also no shortage of solid play from the non-roster guys, as Aaron Miles conducted the offense very smoothly (13 assists), Stefhon Hannah continued to make shots (6/9 fg, 14 pts, 5 ast) and backup big man Jarrid Famous finished with authority on a number of occasions on his way to 13 points (6/6 fg) and 8 rebounds. And that's probably the last time you'll hear me mention their names...ever.
More notes after the jump.
21 min, 8/9 fg, 0/4 ft, 16 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 0 blk
Henson made his first eight shots en route to 16 points on 8/9 shooting, though he also had a rather indifferent night on the defensive end. Starting with the good: he stroked his now-customary share of mid-range jumpers and also finished well inside, displaying good patience and footwork against an undersized Bulls frontline. Strangely, he's looked like a more polished offender than defender this week, which depending on your perspective is either a very good sign (he could actually be an effective offensive player!) or a rather vexing one (wait, wasn't he supposed to be really good defensively?).
Whatever the case, I just didn't sense real intensity on the defensive end tonight, as he generally made only a passing effort to rotate and protect the rim when the Bucks' perimeter defense broke down. He might have ran out of gas from playing 35+ minutes five times in seven nights, though I'm guessing it's something he'll be, shall we say, encouraged to straighten out if he wants to see rotation time this season.
20 min, 7/13 fg, 0/2 threes, 4/4 ft, 18 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1 to, 2 blk
Harris was on his way to a fifth consecutive 20+ point night when he left the game for good in the third, capping off a strong week that only further underscored what he does well. Harris didn't look to force as much from the perimeter, doing most of his damage inside 10-15 feet with post looks and run-outs in transition. While he's not traditionally explosive, he's very difficult to handle when he has a head of steam and has no trouble elevating to finish on the break, something the Bulls guards seemed well aware of today. As we saw all week, his combination of strength, excellent body control and touch make him a dangerous scorer both in the post and when facing up from the perimeter, though he's still not a reliable spot-up threat on the perimeter.
22 min, 6/11 fg, 0/2 threes, 4/4 ft, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 0 to
Lamb finished the week a surprising 0/7 from three, but showed time and again that he could score effectively even when he isn't spotting up from deep. Lamb used P&R action to find creases for pull-ups and drives to the rim, doing most of his damage in the third period as the Bucks ran riot over an increasingly indifferent Bulls squad.. I was focusing mostly on Henson defensively, so I'll have to take another look at the game before I pass judgment on his defense, but it's worth noting that his opposite number Jermaine Taylor did score 21 on 18 shots.