That’s one of the few words you could use to express the Bucks’ performance Saturday night, as the masked man Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (6-23) conquered Milwaukee (14-12) 94-82 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The season series is now 2-1 in the Bucks favor, and the Bucks stay at one game behind Chicago in the Central Division standings, as the Bulls fell to the Hawks earlier tonight in Atlanta.
The Cavaliers fed the Bucks a dose of their own medicine when it came to offensive production tonight, as Cleveland had a very balanced attack and received a number of solid contributions. Just take a look at their starters’ scoring numbers: Irving 15, Waiters 18, Gee 10, Thompson 14 , Zeller 11. Compared to the Bucks: Jennings 7, Ellis 37, Daniels 9, Mbah a Moute 4, Sanders 2.
The Bucks shot a mediocre 39.2% from the field and a horrendous 20% (4-20) from beyond the arc. They were out-rebounded by seven and had two more turnovers then the Cavaliers. All of these stats led to a comfortable Cleveland victory.
Though the +/- isn’t always the best way to look at individual contributions, it often reflects the team’s performance as a whole. That certainly is the case tonight. The Bucks’ starters PERs: Jennings -13, Ellis -8, Daniels -6, Mbah a Moute -12, Sanders -20. Yikes. Regardless of the opponent and depth of the Bucks’ bench, it’s going to be tough to win games if your best players aren’t playing well.
If there’s anything positive to take away from this game, it was Monta Ellis’ dominant offensive performance. Ellis dropped a season high 37 points on 15-27 shooting. Monta looked very explosive tonight, and he was finally getting his pull up jumper (that I absolutely hate) to fall consistently. Heck, I think I even saw flashes of the Golden State scoring aficionado Monta Ellis that the Bucks thought they were getting.
Brandon Jennings had a completely perpendicular night from his backcourt companion, as the Young Buck was silenced by the defensive wrath of Kyrie Irving. Jennings finished with just 7 points on 3-13 shooting while adding 3 assists and 4 rebounds to his stat line.
And you’re weird Scott Skiles rotation factoid of the day: Samuel Dalembert again was a DNP coaches decision against the Cavs Saturday. That makes it 5 straight games that the Haitian Sensation has not seen any court time. Even Joel Pryzbilla and Drew Gooden have been coming off the bench before Dalembert.
The Bucks’ biggest flaw last season was not having a legitimate center, and their number one priority this off-season was to acquire someone who could stop the Roy Hibberts and Dwight Howards of the league. They made the move for Dalembert, and now he is swamped on the bench. If any one has a crystal ball, can you please escort me inside of Scott Skiles brain?
One thing’s for sure, this loss could be one we look back on as gravely when the playoff picture is clarifying in April.
The Bucks’ next action will be Wednesday, December 26th against the Nets of Brooklyn. Until then, we’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!