On media day, Jason Kidd claimed he didn't need to "revive" O.J. Mayo. Looks like he was right.
Three days after scoring 19 against Minnesota, Mayo hit six threes and scored 24 points as the short-handed Bucks shot 60% from the field in a 120-107 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but the Bucks' gang-tackling defense limited him to 7/22 from the field on a night where the Knicks shot just 37%.
Mayo's hot shooting highlighted a big night from the Bucks' five reserves, who moved the ball exceptionally well and finished a combined +81 for the night. Jared Dudley was once again money from deep (5/7 fg, 3/5 threes, 14 pts, 4 ast), Nate Wolters killed the Knicks off the bounce (5/5 fg, 1/1 threes, 13 pts, 4 ast, 0 to) and even training camp body Micheal Eric looked like an NBA player with Larry Sanders, Zaza Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova all missing out due to injury.
Not that the Bucks' young starting lineup didn't hold their own. Jason Kidd started five players born after 1990, with Giannis Antetokounmpo (3/6 fg, 8/9 ft, 14 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, 2 to) and John Henson (5/6 fg, 11 pts, 10 rebds) looking particularly sharp. Jabari Parker looked a bit too in love with his jump shot and missed a couple early shots at the rim, but still managed to score 13 points (3/9 fg, 7/11 ft) and add six rebounds in 26 minutes. Khris Middleton added 11 points on nine shots in just 13 minutes, but struggled with foul trouble as he, Giannis and Jabari took turns trying to contain Anthony.
- These games don't count, but...
- So this is what Kidd's motion offense is supposed to look like, eh? The Bucks' veteran reserves put on a ball-movement clinic with 16 assists and 11/19 shooting from three, going small at various points with Dudley at the four and Bayless, Wolters and Mayo as a three-man backcourt.
- Giannis looked dangerous off the bounce all night and gave the Bucks an early lift with a(nother) running hook shot followed by a beautiful drive and left-handed scoop for a three-point play (below). And while he hasn't been able to make jump shots this preseason, his 8/9 free throws actually lowered his free throw percentage from 94% (16/17 entering the game) to 93% (24/26). So at least he's got that going for him.
- Parker once again picked up two quick fouls--one for a needless reach on Quincy Acy, followed by a charge on the always-looking-to-flop Jose Calderon. That's been a recurring theme of the preseason, though Kidd has generally given his youngsters long leashes in order to get them used to playing with foul trouble. Remember when Giannis had the same problem last year?
- Anthony suckered Giannis into a couple fouls, but he generally looked up for the early challenge of marking Anthony. Parker also had his chance to defend Carmelo in the second quarter--while playing with two fouls no less--but gave up a couple buckets and then was whistled for his third personal. Not embarrassing, but nothing to write home about either.
THE BUCKS ARE ON A WINNING STREAK, Y'ALL! First time in 19 months!— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) October 21, 2014