Fresh off back-to-back losses to the winless Mavs and Pelicans, the Milwaukee Bucks came through with a much-needed 106-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night — though not exactly the way you might expected. We dig into the details in our latest podcast below:
Grit and Grind. Slow-paced games have hardly favored the Bucks thus far this season: of the Bucks’ five slowest-paced games before Saturday, they’d lost four. So seeing the Bucks score efficiently and win a slower-paced game — this was their third-best offensive night and third-slowest pace — is decidedly something.
Giannis. After watching Matthew Dellavedova take on an increasing share of playmaking duties over the past week or so, the Bucks seemed intent on making Giannis Antetokounmpo the guiding light of their offense again on Saturday. It’s not as if Giannis wasn’t getting touches before, but the Bucks made a point of letting Giannis initiate early and often on Saturday, helping him get off to a fast start that nearly resulted in his first career five-by-five.
Be easy. The Bucks made signing Mirza Teletovic a priority this summer, but he’s been curiously marginalized of late, as Michael Beasley has been Jason Kidd’s first forward off the bench over the past week. On Saturday Beasley repaid Kidd’s trust and then some, manufacturing 19 points on just eight shots in 19 minutes. Of course, Teletovic’s limited minutes of late are also an obvious reason why the Bucks’ three-point attempts have fallen notably the past two games; after shooting 27+ threes during a 3-1 stretch, the Bucks have attempted just 18 in each of the past two games.
The big man shuffle. The Bucks have played well with Miles Plumlee at center this season; or maybe the bucks have played well in spite of Miles Plumlee at center this season? Milwaukee has outscored opponents by a team-best 12.7 points per 100 with Plumlee on the floor this season, but he’s struggled to get involved in the pick-and-roll and barely rebounded — not exactly good news for a guy the Bucks bid against themselves to re-sign to a $52 million deal this summer.
In other words, it was notable but not entirely shocking to see John Henson — he of the team-worst -17.5 net rating — get a crack at the starting center spot vs. Memphis. Greg Monroe once again deservedly played the most minutes of any Bucks big while Plumlee deputized as the third center in Jason Kidd’s three-headed rotation. Considering Monroe’s solid two-way play and career-low 21 minutes per game thus far, is it only a matter of time before Kidd goes to a more traditional two-center rotation that more prominently features (even without starting) Monroe?