The Milwaukee Bucks went on the road to play a struggling Memphis Grizzlies. Tonight though was all about one person and that was the 2009 first round pick of the Bucks, Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee started the game sluggish, trailing 15-7 early before a Joe Prunty timeout ended the run. Eventually Milwaukee would remember that they are the better team and regain the lead to end the first quarter up 32-24. Behind their bench unit, Milwaukee would create some distance in the second to go into half with a 64-50 lead. After starting the second half with a 7-0 run, some sloppiness from Milwaukee would allow Memphis to claw back into the game. Milwaukee would get it together once again and a Jennings basket before the buzzer gave the bucks a 90-73 lead heading into the fourth. More sloppiness, and general indifference by the Bucks, once again allowed Memphis get the deficit down to single digits. In the end, a couple of Eric Bledsoe layups and Giannis Antetokounmpo plus Khris Middleton baskets helped Milwaukee pull away with a final score of 121-103.
The Young Buck
We have to start with Brandon Jennings. He got in the game earlier than myself or most would have anticipated but with Eric Bledsoe in foul trouble, it was his time to shine. Jennings looked to run right away and it showed notching five points and five assists in a seven minute span. Jennings continued to knock down jumpers and seemed to be all over the place, finishinf with a stat line of 16 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists. He looked like the rookie version of himself with some step back threes, pocket passes and looking to run. For someone who hasn’t played an NBA game in almost a year, it seems his stints in China and the G-league gave him more of his swagger. While this is likely the peak of what we will get from him, for one night it was exciting and fun to see him play well in his return to the Bucks.
As mentioned earlier, Milwaukee had gotten off to a slow start trailing 15-7 and not truly getting it together until the mid first quarter. This was once again a slow start for the Bucks, who have made a habit of doing that, that could have burned the team in the long run. Thankfully Memphis is not that good of a basketball team and Milwaukee realized this early enough that the rest of the game wasn’t too worrisome. This was the second consecutive game that Milwaukee didn’t take their opponent too seriously until things got a tad nerve wracking. During the Knicks game it was Giannis, and for tonight Bledsoe decided to get some quick buckets. Maybe he saw Frank Madden’s tweet earlier.
Update: Bledsoe clearly read this tweet and decided to flip the switch (and shut me up) https://t.co/sU2h7iolkg— Frank (@fmaddenNBA) March 13, 2018
When Tyler Zeller got hurt during the Sixers game, his impact was shown as John Henson and Thon Maker struggled. Zeller returned last Friday to pick up where he left off and that effort carried over into tonight. Zeller’s size bothered Marc Gasol and he was able to form a nice chemistry with Jennings. It seemed obvious that Zeller would take over Thon’s place as the backup center, but now it might be worth asking if maybe he should take Henson’s spot as the starting center. At the rate he is going, it might not be a bad idea.
Bucks Bonus Bits
- The Bucks had 20 assists at halftime which caught me off guard. It helps when the ball is moving and players are hitting their shots early.
- Tony Snell had himself a good shooting night, hitting four 3-pointers including the back breaker late in the game.
- Due to foul trouble, Giannis only played 28 minutes which is good to see that number stay low, but he did not have a pretty game to watch.
- I frequently mentioned sloppiness but the Bucks had 19 turnovers according to ESPN.com. Despite that, the Bucks also scored 30 points off of turnovers by the Grizz.
- Memphis will have themselves a weird offseason. While the Grizzlies will be contending for the first overall pick, they still have a significant chunk of money going to guys like Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Chandler Parsons.
- Milwaukee wore their green jerseys in the first time in forever. I’m still waiting on the white jerseys to make an appearance.