Many hoped to see a triumphant return to action for Jabari Parker on Wednesday night, but they were instead treated to an uneventful return and an often ugly game. Still, it was a game that the Bucks ultimately won 91-87 over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Parker started for the Bucks and played 16 minutes, but his return was not at all noteworthy. He hit just one of his six shots and ended the night with two points, four rebounds, and one assist. After the game, Parker nearly perfectly summarized his debut by saying, "I tried to play my role and didn't overstep my boundaries."
The Bucks struggled throughout the night, trailing the Sixers by as many as seven with 3:51 left in the third quarter. Following a timeout, Chris Copeland made his first appearance since the fourth quarter against the Raptors on Sunday. Copeland and Greivis Vasquez teamed up to score the next nine points, effectively saving the game and allowing the Bucks to take a 68-67 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was relatively even, with the Sixers taking an 83-80 lead with three minutes remaining. Thankfully, the Bucks were able to turn to Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton down the stretch, and the former Pistons teammates came through to ultimately send Bucks fans home relieved -- if not entirely happy. Monroe and Middleton exchanged back door assists between a Monroe hook shot to give the Bucks a 86-85 lead with 1:29 left. After a stop on defense, Vasquez probed into the middle of the defense and found Middleton on the left wing for a three that sealed the game for the Bucks.
The Bucks' leading scorers were Middleton with 21 and Monroe with 18. Giannis Antetokounmpo also tallied 17 points, which ended his three game streak of scoring 20 or more points. Though the three starters led the team in scoring, it is hard to look past the performances of Vasquez (11 points, five assists) and Copeland (eight points, two assists) when thinking about the players that affected the game most Wednesday night.
The Bucks will be in action again on Friday as they travel to New York City to take on the Knicks. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST.
- The Bucks' first possession was a dribble handoff from Antetokounmpo to Parker. Parker missed the shot, but ultimately scored his lone basket on the Bucks' third possession.
- Miles Plumlee had a fantastic block on a Sauce Castillo two-hand dunk attempt in the second quarter.
- Tyler Ennis made his season debut tonight. He entered the game in 2nd quarter and quickly recorded an assist. Ennis re-entered the game for a single minute with 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. In his eight minutes of action, Ennis recorded two points, two rebounds, and one assist.
- Before complimenting Copeland's defense, Kidd said, "It was pretty impressive to get seven threes off in ten minutes. He's going to take 'em." Copeland was one-for-seven from the three point line on Wednesday night
- Vasquez picked up his third foul mid-second quarter and it was one of the dumber fouls I’ve ever seen.
- Johnny O'Bryant was the first one off the bench tonight. He grabbed four rebounds in six first quarter minutes, including three offensive rebounds int the span of a minute. That matched his total of three offensive boards in his first 88 minutes of the season.
- Rashad Vaughn was the second sub and entered the game with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter.
- Giannis played the entire second and third quarter. Middleton played the entire first quarter. When asked about Antetokounmpo playing the entire second and third quarters, Kidd commented, "We would like to split him and Khris as much as we can. We like Giannis with the starters, but we'd also like to see him with the second group. Somewhere down the road we'll want to watch Khris with the second group too."
- After Vasquez and Copeland went on their run in the final few minutes of the third quarter, Antetokounmpo made a huge three-point play to give the Bucks a lead going into the fourth quarter.
Giannis struggling tonight. Took him *7* whole dribbles to go coast to coast. https://t.co/Ns8nzZbdME— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) November 5, 2015
- Antetokounmpo is just fantastic in transition. Even with MCW out tonight, Jerryd Bayless threw it up to Antetokounmpo on the wing and he was able to attack as the Sixers were on their heels. It’s fascinating to see how much he scores with so little action for him on offense.
- I will not be making any judgments on the Bucks defense based on the last two games. Both the Nets and Sixers were atrocious offensively.
- The Bucks’ offense is paralyzing. Pass. Catch. Hold. Attempt to take defender off the dribble. Pass. Catch. Hold. Attempt to take defender off the dribble. There is no flow to the offense and players are rarely able to take advantage of a trailing defender or catch the ball on the move.
- Watching Monroe grab an offensive rebound with one defender left on the backside is almost always a little bit disappointing. Sure, he finishes a lot of times, but it’s definitely not with a dunk.
- Kidd has played players for entire quarters a lot this season. Tonight, Middleton played the entire first quarter and Antetokounmpo the entire second and third quarters. I can’t recall if he did that last season.
- On Monday, I mentioned Vasquez's skip passes and eight assists. I generally thought he played well. Tonight, he hit a few shots and had five assists. I thought he played fine. A lot of people commented on him finally making an impact. Remember: Point guards don't have to score to influence a game.