Jason Kidd said earlier this season that without a bench, his Milwaukee Bucks starters are going to get killed. He might as well keep riding them until that happens.
All Bucks starters scored in double-figures Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans and helped Milwaukee snap a six-game losing streak to the Pelicans, 103-92, inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Khris Middleton led all Bucks players with 19 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds while dishing out eight assists. In his second consecutive start since returning to the starting lineup, Greg Monroe posted 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo went through growing pains, combining for 11 of Milwaukee's 14 turnovers, yet they still ended the game strong with 15 and 18 points respectively. Kidd said after the game that these nights will come.
"It's going to happen some nights. They're going to look good and some nights they're going to have turnovers." Kidd said. "They just have to learn to minimize those turnovers.
"I thought Jabari in that third quarter might've tried to press a bit. He just has to slow down a little bit, but again, a rookie is going to make mistakes."
Jerryd Bayless dropped in 17, with seven coming in the fourth quarter as him and Middleton sparked a late 14-3 run to put the game away. Bayless scored seven-straight points right before Middleton knocked down two consecutive step-back jumpers.
"We were able to get out and run and make shots," Middleton said of the run. "We got off to a great start by just getting stops and pushing the pace."
The Bucks led the Pelicans by 11 points until New Orleans trimmed the deficit to three, 55-52 at halftime. With Anthony Davis sitting the majority of the period, Ryan Anderson and New Orleans' second unit sparked a 13-4 run.
The Pelicans continued to gain momentum and re-took the lead in the third quarter after a Dante Cunningham layup. However, the Bucks ended the quarter on a 9-2 run and finished strong shortly before Bayless and Middleton put it away.
Anthony Davis led all Pelicans players with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Milwaukee's starters combined to log the majority of the team's minutes against the Pelicans, but Kidd said after the game that tomorrow's matchup in Brooklyn will be a big test for the second unit.
"We're going to get those guys off the bench and they're going to play," Kidd said. "Tomorrow's going to be a big game for our bench because of our guys (starters) playing a lot of minutes. They have to be prepared, they know that."
In addition to it being an East Coast game, the Bucks are also losing time (and sleep) because of daylight savings. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
— The Pelicans hit a franchise-record 17 threes when they played them last. Tonight, they didn't hit nearly as many (six), but they still jacked up 29. Ryan Anderson went just 1-for-9 after going 6-for-11 in the last matchup.
— Since the All-Star break, the Bucks averaged 29.3 points off their opponents turnovers coming in. They scored well below that average against the Pelicans (17 points).
— Monroe logged the least amount of minutes from the starters with 27.
— The Bucks only committed two turnovers in the first quarter but both of them didn't come until roughly a minute remaining in the period (thanks, Giannis). As a team, they took care of the ball well early by limiting turnovers plus moving the ball well. Milwaukee assisted on 12 of their first 15 baskets.
— The Bucks will see how center John Henson (sore lower back) feels tomorrow before playing the Nets. Kidd said that they're hoping he can return from his injury next week on Tuesday or Thursday, however, they will monitor his minutes once he returns.
— There was a sequence in the first quarter where Giannis blocked a shot and ran down the floor immediately after and euro-stepped at the rim. The shot didn't fall, but AD followed his miss up by running down the floor and doing the exact same thing except actually making the shot. Watching that much length in so short a time was really fun.
— Tyler Ennis got loose in the second quarter and it was really encouraging to watch. At one point, he scored eight of Milwaukee's 10 points during a stretch (a catch-and-shoot three, a three-point-play and a layup). He surprisingly didn't play much after that, but still ended the game with a season-high 10 points and four rebounds. Do you, Tyler.
— Jabari had his worst performance in a first half since the All-Star break: 1-for-5 shooting from the field and his on-court awareness defensively wasn't that sharp. There was a possession late in the second quarter where Jason Kidd was specifically yelling "corner!" to Jabari, as in, move to the corner because Ryan Anderson is there and will probably shoot it.
— Poor Kendrick Perkins.
— The referees tonight (Dan Crawford, Josh Triven and Lauren Holtkamp) made some awful calls. In the second quarter, Giannis got a foul after Ryan Anderson drove to the rim and fell. He didn't even touch him and was whistled for it. Earlier in the game, Anderson drove to the rim and ended up falling, and Monroe was whistled for a foul a few seconds after the ball rimmed out (the ref literally made the call depending on if it went in). Embarrassing.
— These last 16 games for the Bucks won't mean much, but they're kind of important in terms of development. I don't think we need to see anything substantial from the younger guys on the team, but this is when they'll get the most reps all season. Specifically, this is time for Ennis to build and prove himself on top of Rashad Vaughn demonstrating he can possibly make a leap as a bigger bench contributor next season.
— DAMIEN INGLIS PLAYED.