Is there something wrong with winning two games in a row? Is there a tax on winning streaks or something?
The Bucks failed to get their first winning streak of the season as they fell to the Denver Nuggets,101-90. With only nine available guys and their starting point guard being a late scratch, tonight figured to be an ugly contest against an equally banged up (and trade-depleted) Nuggets squad. Yet, one team found a rhythm and one did not. One team had a player dominate and the other did not. One team didn't tie their shoes on defense and the other....you get the point.
Kenneth Faried had his way and could have had more tonight, dropping 26p/6r on 11-15 (!) shooting. Once he got the ball in the post, he would muscle his way past whoever was ''guarding'' him and drop in an easy bucket at the rim. When Faried was out, the Bucks were able to get themselves back in the game against whatever Denver had left to put out there (hint: it was not much), but once Faried came back in, it was basically curtains for the Bucks' hopes of catching Denver. There was no stopping the Manimal tonight.
Speaking of defense (and the overall feeling from the game), check out O.J. Mayo playing some top-notch defense against untied shoes, but not anything else, really. Yeah, that about sums up a decent portion of the night.
When he wasn't tying his shoe during live ball action, O.J. Mayo was busy shooting 5-8 from the field for 11 points in 23 minutes. Larry Drew and everyone's eyeballs noticed that Mayo is still quite far away from getting back into game shape, but it was nice to see a) Mayo alive and b) another player that can create a little bit of offense get back out there. It won't be 20 points a night when Mayo eventually (read:hopefully) gets back into shape, but any consistent offense would be more than welcome on this team right now. The Bucks can't have too many more nights when Caron Butler is the leading scorer with just 17 points on 17 shots. Wait, can they? I don't know. I'm confused now.
Nate Wolters had 12p/5a, and showed more of the same poise and sneaky good handles. It'd be a shame if Ramon Sessions took his starting spot for the rest of the year, because honestly, Nate deserves to have that spot for the rest of the year. He won't have it going into next year most likely, but there isn't a reason why these last 28 games shouldn't be his to run.
Basketball superstar Ersan Ilyasova did have 14p/11r, but he also shot 5-14 from the field and played with the defensive resistance of a throw pillow--seemingly every time Ersan had something go right offensively, Faried just bulled his way for a layup on the other end. I'm not saying the Bucks definitely should have made a deadline deal (who knows what their offers were), but it's getting increasingly difficult to believe that Ilyasova is going to improve his trade value come summer.
Miroslav Raduljica played less than two minutes tonight.
John Henson played okay with 12p/7r, but--and this may just be me--I'm starting to worry about his offense. Hear me out: I love that hook shot. Henson can get that off over almost anyone. But does Henson have a post move that gets him going towards the basket? Is there an up-and-under move in his arsenal? Can he develop a little touch hook or another shot down low? I understand these questions may be unfair for a second year player, but it's something I'm eager to see him develop more than a righty hook to be honest, though that would also be lovely. Henson has all the potential to have a bright future, but I wonder how much more he is capable of diversifying offensively. Sound off in the comments if you think I'm an idiot (or if you agree, I guess)
In other good news, Giannis Antetokounmpo had his second solid outing in a row, connecting on 3/7 shots for 11 points to go with four boards, four assists, three blocks and two steals. Two of his buckets were transition scores created directly by his two steals (one dunk, natch), and he buried a long straight-away three in the fourth when the Bucks were trying to claw their way back into the game. He also got bullied defensively by Wilson Chandler on a couple of occasions, similar to what we saw a couple weeks ago in Denver. Still, his defensive energy was a major plus and hopefully indicative of him catching a second wind as we head into the season's final third.
Finally, Jeff Adrien was sure non-existent tonight, right folks?!
I'm just kidding. Jeff Adrien is an absolute TREASURE, even if Frank (and probably a lot of other people) refuse to buy into how glorious his tenure in Milwaukee will be. Just wait until Saturday when Adriensanity can begin.