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The Bucks' 18-year-old rookie was Milwaukee's obvious bright spot in an otherwise lackluster preseason opener in Cleveland, scoring 14 points to go with four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists.
The Bucks' 18-year-old rookie was Milwaukee's obvious bright spot in an otherwise lackluster preseason opener in Cleveland, scoring 14 points to go with four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists.
about 2 hours ago
According to the four players returning from last year’s squad, the difference in the locker room’s atmosphere extends far beyond the new paint job and decor. The new lines of communication that have been installed have been obvious earl...
According to the four players returning from last year’s squad, the difference in the locker room’s atmosphere extends far beyond the new paint job and decor. The new lines of communication that have been installed have been obvious early, they say.
about 4 hours ago
The Bucks' 18-year-old rookie was Milwaukee's obvious bright spot in an otherwise lackluster preseason opener in Cleveland, scoring 14 points to go with four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists.
The Bucks' 18-year-old rookie was Milwaukee's obvious bright spot in an otherwise lackluster preseason opener in Cleveland, scoring 14 points to go with four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists.
about 8 hours ago
Giannis makes his debut. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) The new Milwaukee Bucks made its moderately anticipated debut with uninspiring results, generally. After grabbing a 6-4 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers early, the Bucks began to struggle t...
Giannis makes his debut. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) The new Milwaukee Bucks made its moderately anticipated debut with uninspiring results, generally. After grabbing a 6-4 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers early, the Bucks began to struggle to make shots and deal with a more cohesive Cleveland team. The Cavs used a 17-0 run to grab a 15 point lead that would never fall below 10 points again. The Bucks shot just 35% in the first half and made only two-of-10 three point attempts. Milwaukee’s starting backcourt of O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight combined for six points on just two of 12 shooting. Both of them struggled against a very aggressive pick and roll defense from Cleveland. Cavs big men Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Earl Clark hedged very hard on any pick and rolls and both Knight and Mayo were moving away from the basket with far more frequency than they were moving towards it. In the front court, Ersan Ilyasova rolled his ankle on a landing when contesting a fast break layup. He was down for a while, but it doesn’t appear to be serious. Larry Sanders attacked the rim on the offensive glass for a few tip slams, but missed badly on the two jump shots he attempted. And, possibly just to remind us all that this season is officially getting back on track, he picked up his first technical  of the preseason in the third quarter. None of the Bucks starters played in the fourth quarter, in which the team finally started making some progress on offense thanks to an influx of Cavaliers turnovers and the strong offense of Stephen Graham (?) and … Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis seemed like the player to focus on all night Tuesday. We’ve seen so little of him and we’ve seen nothing of him competing against players like he’ll play against in the NBA. He’s one of two completely unknown commodities heading into this season along with Miroslav Raduljica, though Bucks fans hopes are tied significantly tighter to Giannis than they are to Raduljica. Giannis Antetokounmpo Well he’s already done more than many expected. The rookie’s 14 points were good for second on the team and he actually went into halftime as the team’s leading scorer. He made seven-of-10 free throws and went 3-7 from the field. (1-3 3FG). He was most obviously impressive handling the ball in the open court. A lot of forwards can bring the ball up the court, but Giannis looked very natural in getting to the middle of the floor and assessing the whole court when making a decision about what he wanted to do with the ball once it was time to make a decision. He looked as capable of making a good pass as he was taking the ball all the way to the hoop, which he did on a number of occasions, leading to his high free throw total. But there were times Antetokounmpo looked like a rookie too. He picked up two traveling violations that were the result of shuffling his feet as he started to drive. It looked like he was a little indecisive in these moments and was trying to move faster than he could. He also was a bit non-chalant on a few passes, leading to one turnover. He’ll probably learn quickly about the consequences of not putting enough on passes in the NBA after a few more players step into his passing lanes and take his passes the opposite way for layups. Overall, it was a good debut that indicated Antetokounmpo may be a ready for a few more minutes than we expect this season, especially if Carlos Delfino misses any significant time. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Miroslav Raduljica The big man from Serbia scored six points and made both shots he attempted. He looked very strong on the court, to the point where when he was holding position he was a bit reminiscent of Jon Brockman, but with about six more inches and a few more pounds. Strong is good and he used that strength to bully his way into a couple of offensive rebounds and easy baskets inside. He doesn’t look like Brockman is when he’s attempting to c
about 9 hours ago
Ersan Ilyasova suffered a sprained ankle in Milwaukee’s 99-87 loss to the Cleveland Cavs in the exhibition opener.
Ersan Ilyasova suffered a sprained ankle in Milwaukee’s 99-87 loss to the Cleveland Cavs in the exhibition opener.
about 14 hours ago
I won't bore you with too much of a narrative from this game. The Bucks led 6-4 (though two of those six points were later revealed to have been rewarded erroneously) and then Cleveland took off, building a significant lead by the end of...
I won't bore you with too much of a narrative from this game. The Bucks led 6-4 (though two of those six points were later revealed to have been rewarded erroneously) and then Cleveland took off, building a significant lead by the end of the first quarter that was never seriously threatened. The Bucks couldn't shoot at all, finishing with a 37.7 team FG% and going just 4-18 from deep. They also left 12 points at the line, shooting 25-37 on free-throws. The defense was good enough to hold Cleveland below Larry Drew's targeted 43% shooting, but Milwaukee gave up 19 offensive rebounds and 24 points at the stripe. But you all don't really care much about that, so let's run down the list of meaningful performances from the Bucks' roster. Caron Butler: Rough night. Butler had a hard time in the early going handling Cleveland's aggressive traps on the wings and committed a few turnovers trying to pass out of them. He made just one shot to go with a rebound, an assist, and two steals. Caron mostly took the shots you want him to take, he just didn't make them. He'll be better, though he might have more competition than expected. Ersan Ilyasova: His performance is far less important than his immediate health, as he appeared to roll his ankle defending a Cleveland fast break. He was down on the court for a few minutes and didn't return to the game. Wouldn't be surprised if he missed a chunk of preseason just to be safe, hopefully no more than that. Prior to the spill he was shooting the ball pretty well and even blocked a shot. Still looks to be a vital cog in Milwaukee's offense. Larry Sanders: The shot blocking was there from the opening tip as Sanders picked up right where he left off under the basket. He altered multiple shots beyond the ones he actually got his hands on and generally mucked things up. Oh, and he also got whistled for a technical after griping about and over-the-back call. It was all so familiar. Offensively, Sanders continues to function best as a garbageman and dunk-finisher. No shot was more emphatic than an early lob flush in a pick and roll with Brandon Knight, even though the dunk was later wiped out due to a shot-clock violation. When paired with John Henson on offense, Sanders set up camp around the elbow with Henson on the block a decent amount. It was a valiant (if strange) attempt to generate floor spacing but mostly led to awkward jumpers when Henson kicked the ball to him. Brandon Knight: Struggled with his shot but showed a bit more shot creation than expected, missing a few shots at the rim that led to putbacks for his teammates. He was also 0-3 from behind the arc. Knight finished with two assists in 20 minutes (not counting the aforementioned lob to Sanders), both on O.J. Mayo jumpers. Knight's strength, at least in comparison to his predecessor, was evident on defense and in the lane, he just had a hard time making anything concrete out of his good moves. He also had some trouble dealing with Cleveland's trapping, but coughed the ball up just twice. O.J. Mayo: Struggled with his shot just like his starting backcourt-mate, finishing with 7 points on 3-10 shooting (1-5 3PT). He didn't earn any free-throws but like Butler and Knight, they were mostly shots you were alright with seeing him take. Defensively, Mayo waffled from shut-down to shook, locking down in isolation but occasionally finding himself off-balance when threatened by a screen (Knight had the same issues). He matched Knight with two assists and turnovers apiece, and there wasn't much to say for his playmaking--both assists came on long two-point jumpers. Mayo's here to score, so when he isn't doing that he's not likely to make a big positive impact. John Henson: Still a rebounding machine, still a great weakside shotblocker who can wreak havoc on defense when paired with Sanders, still an uneven contributor on offense. Henson flashed a great running hook early in the game, but didn't do much with a multitude of post touches throug
about 16 hours ago
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1 day ago
The best nicknames are often not simply plays on words, but also vivid descriptions of what a player does with a basketball. Think Pistol Pete Maravich. With 11 new players, we should probably give this group some time to grow into nickn...
The best nicknames are often not simply plays on words, but also vivid descriptions of what a player does with a basketball. Think Pistol Pete Maravich. With 11 new players, we should probably give this group some time to grow into nicknames.
1 day ago
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports Larry Sanders just signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension this summer, and his team and their fans should be thrilled. The Milwaukee Bucks’ 6-foot-11, 235-pound big man out of Virginia Commonwealth...
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports Larry Sanders just signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension this summer, and his team and their fans should be thrilled. The Milwaukee Bucks’ 6-foot-11, 235-pound big man out of Virginia Commonwealth University is the best there is when it comes to keeping the air space around the rim free from attack. If you’re looking for the most exciting defensive highlight reel from last year’s NBA season, simply do a YouTube search of his name. After playing just 12.4 MPG in 2011-12, Sanders saw his minutes increase to 27.3 per game last season, and it was one of the biggest reasons the Bucks were able to reach the playoffs. His 2.8 blocks per game were second-best in the league. He was also a top-20 rebounder, averaging 9.5 per game. However, the impact Sanders has on a game is not best represented in a box score. Few players have the combination of quickness, speed and length that Sanders possesses. It is this unique combination that allows him to be the defensive force that he is. Sanders has the ability to cover an incredible amount of space instantly. Though he will seemingly be standing motionless with arms outstretched while the offense blows by perimeter defenders and breaks into the lane, he is simply drawing his opponents further into his scheme. Just as you think the opposing team is about to get a good look at a layup due to Sanders’ apparent laziness, he bursts into the air and swats the ball away with relative ease. Even if he doesn’t reach the ball, his sudden quickness will often cause the shooter to alter his shot and miss or make a snap decision that often results in a turnover and fast break going the opposite way. While Sanders lacks much of an offensive repertoire, relying mostly on lobs from teammates and put-back slams, he has shown a strong work ethic. His FG percentage has increased each season he’s been the league. His 61.8 percent free throw shooting last season was a career-high, and a vast improvement upon the horrifying 47.4 percent in 2011-12. Unfortunately, this career-high is still well below the league average, and he still has a long way to go to become a serviceable offensive player. Furthermore, jawing about former teammates not passing the ball to him enough could paint the image that he doesn’t grasp how much work he has to put in to become even an average threat on the offensive end of the floor. Regardless, at just 24 years of age and entering only his fourth NBA season, Sanders is already the league’s best interior defender. The scary thing is that he is only going to get better. These two things make his contract extension worth the money. Opposing offenses have to adjust their style of play simply because he is on the court. At this point, his reputation alone will keep opposing guards from routinely driving the lane while Sanders is on the floor. He is one of only a few players who can alter a game solely with his defense. This is an almost invaluable quality in the NBA, and fortunately for Bucks’ fans, he’s not going anywhere. Expect big things from Sanders this season.
1 day ago
Seven days after kicking off training camp, the new-look Bucks head to Cleveland for their preseason opener. 13/14 NBA Preseason (0-0, 0-0 away) vs. (0-0, 0-0 home) October 8, 2013 Quicken Loans Arena | Clevel...
Seven days after kicking off training camp, the new-look Bucks head to Cleveland for their preseason opener. 13/14 NBA Preseason (0-0, 0-0 away) vs. (0-0, 0-0 home) October 8, 2013 Quicken Loans Arena | Cleveland, OH 6:00 CT FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ Probable Starters Brandon Knight PG Kyrie Irving O.J. Mayo SG Dion Waiters Caron Butler SF Alonzo Gee Ersan Ilyasova PF Tristan Thompson Larry Sanders C Anderson Varejao 2012/13 Advanced Stats 94.7 (3rd) Pace 92.3 (13th) 103.6 (22nd) ORtg 104.3 (19th) 105.2 (12th) DRtg 109.4 (27th) On the Cavaliers: Fear the Sword | Cavs the Blog | Waiting For Next Year Let the games begin. Saturday's open scrimmage had its share of encouraging moments--Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like an NBA player, Larry Sanders can still dunk and block shots--but it also reminded us of the challenges of bringing together a brand new roster under a brand new coaching staff in less than a week. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Larry Drew isn't exactly expecting a well-oiled machine for Tuesday's preseason opener in Cleveland. As expected, rust was rather evident during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, particularly on the offensive end . While both teams pushed the tempo and kept the ball moving (positives!), no one seemed capable of making a jumper and too many possessions ended with sloppy passes and/or poor spacing. And with good reason: the Bucks' offensive playbook has thus far taken a backseat to learning Drew's new defensive schemes, hints of which we saw clear signs of on Saturday. Via Charles Gardner: "There's more showing for the big (man); you have to be a little more active on the perimeter," Sanders said. "Being able to show on the screen and get back and affect the play is huge. We have a number of guys who can do that. It's just showing and rushing back to the paint, hands high, deflecting balls." Earlier in the week Drew set a goal of 43% for defensive field goal percentage, a number that if achieved would put the Bucks among the elite defenses in the league. "I have a color system and I have a number system and they have to learn that," Drew said. "I know it can be confusing at times. "It calls for all five guys to be on a string when we call for a certain defense. Offensively, guys seem to know when it's their shot. We haven't put a whole lot of offensive stuff in. I've really been trying to focus on the defensive stuff and then we'll start slowly adding some offensive things." Starting. Drew's presumed starting five coming into camp consisted of Knight, Mayo, Butler, Ilyasova and Sanders, and that's been the group getting reps together during scrimmages over the past week. On the injury front, Carlos Delfino (foot) and Zaza Pachulia (Achilles) are out, while Ekpe Udoh (knee) and Khris Middleton (ankle) practiced on Monday but continue to nurse injuries that limited them over the past week. Don't expect Drew to take any chances with his banged-up players, but this is also the preseason, so you can expect plenty of guys getting extended looks as Drew tries to figure out exactly how to round out his rotation. Via Gardner: "It's preseason. Everybody is probably going to play at some point in the preseason," Drew said. "Everybody might not play tomorrow. But at some point they'll be in a position where they'll get some minutes." Hopefully that means we'll see less of Caron Butler (though getting older, he doesn't need 30 mpg in the preseason to prove what he can do) and more of Antetokounmpo and Middleton (if healthy) battling for backup small forward minutes. Numbers game. Drew's latest numerical goal for the Bucks is 46%, as in 46% shooting from the field for the season. Via Andrew Gruman: "I think we have good enough shooters," Drew said. "I think offensively if we execute and get the shots that we want, if we play together, I think there's no reason why we can'
1 day ago