The Bucks finally snapped their 16-game road losing streak tonight against
the basketball team formerly known as the Indiana Pacers, but it did not come without a familiar scare.
The two teams traded baskets, turnovers, and even a few laughs in the first half, perhaps highlighted by Brandon Knight's...uh...move here.
Though the Bucks carried a 43-38 lead into the half, there wasn't much going on that made you think that they had control over the game. That changed quickly when the Bucks shot out on a 10-0 run in the early minutes of the second half. Jabari Parker (10 p/3r) showed glimpses of his talent, highlighted by this play where he broke Solomon Hill's motor skills. Defensively he was more active in picking up three steals, but he also failed to get to the line and missed six of his last eight shots to finish just 5/12 from the field.
(Note: Sorry for the blurry vine)
This basket put the Bucks lead at 15, and all seemed well in the world. But it wouldn't be a comfortable Bucks road lead if it wasn't immediately threatened by a counter attack from the opponent. Chris Copeland (19p/5r) started to get hot and the Bucks offense started to unravel a bit. Before you could blink, the lead was down to just a one possession game late in the fourth quarter.
On the Bucks final real possession of the game, Larry Sanders set a solid pick for Brandon Knight near the top of the key. Knight tip-toed around it and was able to knock down the long two to seal the victory. With that, the Bucks futility on the road was halted and the team got their first win in Indiana since November 5th, 2010.
-- It would be nice if Brandon Knight could chill out a bit with the dribbling. This stuff can't be happening:
!!!!!!!!!! RT @darenw: #Bucks Brandon Knight is the only player this year to dribble 30+ times and take a shot. http://t.co/Frq7BpVB85— twelve point courier (@tpcourier) November 5, 2014
He did finish with a solid 23p/7r, but the heavy dribbling isn't going to really help anyone in the new offense. Chances are Jason Kidd is aware of this though, so we'll see if it changes at all when the Bucks get a bit of a break after playing four games in five days this week.
-- After only playing 7 minutes in the first half, Giannis Antetokounmpo (11 pts, 4/7 fg, 3 reb) made a noticeable impact on offense in the second half --and not in the typical Giannis way. He worked out of the post on several occasions to get buckets--a leaning banker and hanging 10-footer from the left side were particularly impressive--and made a semi-big three as the Pacers began to chip away at the lead. You could tell that Giannis was confident in his offense tonight, as he was looking for his shot and trying to take advantage of the fact that not too many people can compete with his length.
-- In the "rookies paying their dues department," Parker had a chance for an easy dunk on a two-on-none in the second quarter, but he instead dished it to Brandon Knight for an uncontested layup. Awwwwww.
-- Larry Sanders had a nice Larry Sanders-y stat line tonight, finishing with 0 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He also affected tons of Pacers drives and floater attempts, all which factored in to the Pacers shooting 39.7 percent from the floor tonight. Granted these offensively-challenged are super decimated by injuries, but shhhh let's just enjoy the good defense shhh shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
-- The insertion of Ersan Ilyasova into the starting five was motivated in part to help the Bucks on the boards, but you wouldn't have known it from the box score. Ilyasova scored just five points on 2/11 shooting to go with three rebounds in 26 minutes, while the Bucks were outrebounded 47-39, including 15-7 on the offensive boards. However, most of the damage came from the Pacers' backup big men, as Lavoy Allen (7) and Ian Mahinmi (3) were the only Pacers with more than one offensive rebound.
The Bucks come home tomorrow for a showdown with the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls. There's no telling if Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, or Joakim Noah will play--they've been in and out of the lineup the whole season--but the crowd should still be electric. The Bulls fans always travel well (barf), and this will be the first chance most of them will see their hometown kid Jabari Parker play in person. It should be a fun night