Vince Carter just wasn’t going to let the Mavericks lose.
After the Bucks stormed back in the fourth quarter, down 14 at one point, Carter buried shot after shot. The Bucks had trimmed the lead to five for a short while but Carter was too much.
But the Bucks were missing one of their biggest stars.
Brandon Jennings had completely disappeared. He wasn’t dishing the ball (five assists) in double digits like he had vowed he would from here on out. Jennings scored four points, played 25 minutes and was -21 while in the game.
It’s what we’ve seen from Jennings his whole career. His three games of 40 plus assists were extremely promising. Yet, he has now had two bad games in a row.
Sometimes he knocks down threes like we saw in the Golden State game, sometimes he has four points.
Monta Ellis continued his hot play, shooting 50 percent and scoring 32 points and dishing out 9 assists. The more Ellis attacks the rim, the better chance the Bucks will have to win games. Except, there is one problem.
Regardless of Ellis’ play and the addition of J.J. Redick, it seems that this team can’t win games without Brandon Jennings playing well. Ersan Ilyasova is on the cusp of being a premier player on this team. However, tonight he didn’t have it all going. He seemed to not be the same old Ersan, only grabbing three rebounds and scoring seven points.
We can expect Ersan to get better as he feels healthier, but Jennings? That’s a problem the Bucks will just have to deal with for the rest of the way. Larry Sanders looked like his old self and that will be important going forward. Ellis and Sanders are the only two true game changers the Bucks have. One offensively, the other defensively.
The Bucks will have a quick turnaround tomorrow against John Wall and the Wizards. Wall, who apparently thinks he’s worth a max deal, will be a tough matchup for Jennings. However, this game is a must win for the Bucks. With the Miami Heat looming on Friday, it’s essential that the Bucks knock off a bad team.
Of course, many thought that tonight’s game was a must win. Take care of the bad teams, give the tough teams a good fight, and we’ll be ok. With disappointments aside, the Bucks are still 6-3 since the All-Star break and just came off a 2-1 West Coast trip.
For tonight, they’ll get a free slide. But they better win tomorrow.