Ever since the Knicks modified their lineup to push Carmelo Anthony into the power forward spot, the Bucks have had trouble with them. Tonight, the Bucks took it on the chin from both small-ball and power-ball.
Working primarily out of the low post, Amar’e Stoudemire scored 17 points (on just ten shots) and grabbed ten rebounds. He simply backed his way in and the Bucks could not stop him. While he didn’t have any assists, when the Bucks were forced to bring over an extra defender to the low block, he often had the pass before the pass before the pass that set up the open three-pointer. Those open three-point shots didn’t fall much in the second quarter, but they made 5-of-9 in the third quarter to help erase a 12-point Milwaukee lead.
When Stoudemire wasn’t in the game, Milwaukee didn’t quite look like they knew what they wanted to do with their size advantage. They certainly didn’t use it on the boards. Even when the Knicks go “small”, they still have the one “big” who gets all the rebounds: Tyson Chandler. Tonight, he had 20 of them, including many that led to a portion of New York’s 17 second-chance points.
The Bucks defended Carmelo Anthony reasonably well, limiting him to 7-of-22 shots from the field and forcing him into seven turnovers. They (or the referees) did let him feast at the free-throw line though.
Ersan Ilyasova had his jump shot going. He scored 16 points in the first half (on just 8 shots). He also alertly jumped the passing lanes to snag four steals in the game. But in the second half, he tried to hit the low post to prey on the guards the Knicks were using to guard him. Unsurprisingly, it did not go well.
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 30 points on 38 shots. When the Bucks went cold (like Ice Age-level cold) for the better part of the second half, there was little either could do to stem the damage.
Jennings, in particular, still looks like he has zero idea what to do when driving the lane. It all looks good until he takes his shot, a shot which is usually rushed, unaimed, and rather pointless. If the trend keeps up, teams are going to start scouting him to take away his outside game and force him inside.
Larry Sanders fought his way to ten rebounds and a pair of blocks, but he still looked like a player in his first game back after illness. Plus, Chandler is a tough matchup for him, since he essentially plays like a three-inch-taller version of Larry.
— Rochelle Shaw (@Bucks3and11) February 2, 2013
After watching the Knicks throttle the Bucks’ double-digit lead with repeated bashings from Amar’e in the low post, it is very easy to get jealous and want a low-post player of our own.
Curiously, John Henson didn’t play much in this game. While there may not have been a natural defensive assignment for him, his presence would have helped as a rebounder. He is one of the few (or would that be ‘only’?) players on the Bucks who can go up and pluck high rebounds out of the air where Chandler gets them.
He’s probably their best low-post threat, too.