Milwaukee Bucks Game Review: The Long-Needed Blowout That Wasn't

Where is the fun in a 27-point lead if you don’t get to use it?

Brandon Jennings hit a three-pointer from the top of the circle with 0.9 seconds left in the first half.  The shot capped a brilliant 38-8 second quarter in which the Bucks smoothly turned defense into rebounds, rebounds into fast breaks, and fast breaks into hitting the open man.  With a game looming in Atlanta tomorrow, Milwaukee’s 58-31 halftime lead gave the Bucks a great (and rare) chance to rest their starters for the second half of a back-to-back.

Then the second half happened.  Portland parlayed Milwaukee’s poor shot selection into a 12-2 run to start the second half.

The Blazers chipped away at the lead by getting hot from long distance.  Wes Matthews led a 50% effort from the Blazers from three-point range by making seven of his 11 threes.  He finished with 28 points.  Portland closed to within seven points in the final two minutes, but could get no closer.

Monta Ellis filled the stat sheet with 21 points (on 18 shots), nine rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and three steals.  After getting to his preferred spots in the first half, he fell in love with the pull-up jumper in the second half at the expense of Milwaukee’s ball movement.

Late in the game, he injured his left wrist but managed to finish the final minutes.  Ellis played 44 minutes and the three blocks equaled a career-high.

Brandon Jennings had seven assists and six turnovers.  As a team, the Bucks only turned the ball over 13 times, but that stat totally misleads.  With the rotation off-kilter due to the absence of Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute, the Bucks spent the evening bobbling passes and trying to reel the ball back in.

Jennings made 4-of-7 three-pointers and 5-of-13 two-point shots.  He is rapidly approaching a point where his three-point field goal percentage eclipses his overall percentage.  Here’s hoping that he gets back into the “threes and passes” mode that he has used for most of March.  He did have a few nice finishes in the paint: a pass fake layup in transition, a driving lefty layup, and a floater in the lane.  But his strengths clearly lie in his handle and long-distance stroke.

Samuel Dalembert finished with 16 points after getting ten in the game’s first few minutes.  Gustavo Ayon passed the eye test as part of the second-quarter blitzing, but he didn’t play in the second half.

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Tags: Milwaukee Bucks Monta Ellis Portland Trail Blazers Portland Trailblazers Wes Matthews

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