The Bucks were consistently outplayed. If this game carried any meaning whatsoever, that might be concerning. It did not, so it is not. Indeed, the best indicators of its lack of meaning were (a) both teams only (and blissfully) called four timeouts, and (b) Zora spent almost half of the third quarter in the stands chatting with Lindell Wigginton’s parents while the game itself was (again, blissfully) minimized. But, lucky for me, there were still Three Things to take away.
The potential playoff rotation got more run than Friday.
Bobby Portis and Joe Ingles sat against the Grizzlies, but today they started and were the first off the bench, respectively. They both finished with about 18 minutes, which allowed both of them to flash their signature scoring and passing (respectively) without too much time on the court where they too could twist an ankle. Further, Wes Matthews saw his minutes jump from Friday night, and was subbed in relatively early (alongside Thanasis and before Wigginton and Dragic). I’ll be curious to see how this translates into the playoffs.
We. Love. MarJon. Minutes.
MarJon had himself a nice little game! He looked especially spry in the first half as he drove multiple times to the basket, either finishing strong or dishing to open teammates. 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and a block powered him to the only positive plus-minus on the team. A nice way for the rookie to finish the regular season and plenty of fodder for Bucks Twitter this offseason.
A hearty “woo” for Jevon Carter.
With his two rebounds, Jevon set career season highs in all of the major statistical categories. It’s been fantastic watching him sync with the Bucks over the course of a full season, showing that neither his three-point shooting nor his penchant for over-dribbling (and of course his incredible pestering defense) were fluky. We often focus on the player per se rather than their fit with the team. Jevon on the Nets is probably not all that much different than Jevon on the Bucks; what has changed is his fit with the team. Kudos to the Bucks and to Jevon for making the fit work.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Bobby stepped on the baseline inbounding the ball in like the first minute of the game. It set the tone for the game.
- Thanasis really isn’t a NBA basketball player, but he almost looks like one when receiving passes from Jingles.
Joe finds Thanasis for the finish!! pic.twitter.com/ccdp3Id7zN— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 9, 2023
Oh, and when he does this:
- To be fair to the Bucks, a good number of the Raptors’ points in the paint came from them essentially flinging the ball at the hoop. How several of them ended up through the net beats me.
- Goran was loudly booed every time he touched the ball. Apparently he said some unsavory things about Toronto / the Raptors / etc. when he left? Regardless, when I first noticed the booing, he buried back-to-back buckets. Haters gonna hate.
- To my knowledge, all of the Bucks who did not play were not with the team. I hope they were having a nice weekend and a happy Easter if they celebrate.
- A classic possession in the second half featured two offensive rebounds, one of which was basically a half-court kick from Thanasis to MarJon, ended in a Thanasis lay-up. Somehow.
- Enough with the basketball: let the non-basketball content begin!
- Per Thanasis, among NBA cities, Houston has the best Nigerian food and Toronto and New York have the best Greek food. Now you know.
- Marques’ “Playoffs? Playoffs!” impression is gold.
- I learned more from this broadcast about Nova Scotia than the Bucks. It is apparently just like Milwaukee: “laid-back.” At least that’s what I think Lindell’s mom said - HEAVY Canadian accent.
- Joe providing multiple easter eggs to Lisa, including trash and a sweaty towel. How kind.
- There was an INCREDIBLY dapper fan sitting behind Bud. We need more fancy hats at basketball games (and outfits to match!).
- Props to Lisa for a solid Good Will Hunting reference.
- Last but not least, how lame is the Raptors’ fourth quarter giveaway? Free pizza if the opposing team misses a SINGLE free throw? That happens every game! Giveaways derive their power from variable schedules of reinforcement. The Bucks’ fourth quarter giveaway - free wings if an opposing player misses consecutive free throws (or something to that effect) - is leagues better because it rarely happens.