Portland registered their eighth loss in their last 10 games tonight in Milwaukee, losing to the Bucks 95-88 in front of a raucous sellout crowd. The win puts the Bucks three games over .500 for the first time since November 28 and improved their record to 25-22 on the season.
Here are five observations from Saturday's game:
1. Although Kenyon Martin played a season-high 22 minutes on Thursday in Orlando, tonight was the best we've seen from him in terms of overall impact. Martin had two blocks in the game, including a huge stuff on Damian Lillard in the fourth and a swat on Will Barton that went flying five rows deep in the first half. He also had a monster dunk over Chris Kaman in the second quarter. With the Bucks not having Zaza Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova the last two nights, he's played key minutes in relief.
"That's just what I try to bring each and every night." Martin said after the game. "I just try to play the game the right way. Play the game hard, and just try to contribute the way that I can."
2. Jerryd Bayless continues to be huge for the Bucks off the bench late in games. Bayless hit two jump shots with under a minute to go in the third before scoring seven more points in the fourth (3-for-6 shooting). On Tuesday he scored 11 of his 15 points in the final quarter for the Bucks against the Heat, a performance that was nearly a carbon copy of his effort in San Antonio on Sunday as well.
"When everybody's playing the right way, everybody contributes, and I think we did that tonight." Bayless said at his locker.
3. O.J. Mayo's hot streak hit some minor speed bumps tonight, as he hit just 6/18 shots in 25 minutes. Still, he hit 3/8 from deep and was second on the team tonight in points with 17, and has now scored in double-figures off the bench in 10 of his last 11 games (14.5 points per game, 50.4 percent shooting).
"I like the way his teammates kept getting it to him to find him shots. When you try to do the right thing, good things happen," Kidd explained.
4. Overall, the Bucks's defense succeeded in holding the eighth best scoring team (102.7 points per game) to just 37 percent shooting. The Blazers were also held to 27 percent from three (9/31). Lillard finished the game with 19 points, but went 1-for-10 from three, and 6-for-19 from the field. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 18, but it took him 18 shots to get there. The Bucks also snapped a streak of seven-straight 20-point games Aldridge had against Milwaukee.
"Lot of doubling, lot of different looks which I think kind of impacted what he wanted to do." John Henson said when asked about defending Aldridge.
"That's what it's all about." Martin said. "Just giving multiple efforts on the defensive end. We just try to come out and continue to get better and build off the success we've had the last few games."
5. Tonight's game attendance was 18,717, the Bucks' first sellout since the home-opener. This was definitely the best crowd of the season and energized Milwaukee in their second half surge, in particular during a 31-point third quarter.
"There's a lot of buzz about the city of Milwaukee. It's a great sports town, there's a lot of good things happening right now." Kidd said.
"The crowd was the best I've seen in a long time. They got into the game early and often," Henson said.
"You can see it's starting to come together," said Bayless, "it's an exciting time in Milwaukee and hopefully it continues."
The Bucks head back out on the road tomorrow as they get ready to face the Raptors in Toronto on Monday.