Milwaukee traveled to Green Bay winless in the preseason but left Titletown with a victory.
Editor’s note: This piece was written by Behind the Buck Pass contributor Henry Russo. Henry is a senior at Marquette University and can be found on Twitter @HankRusso.
In a preview of next week Wednesday’s season opener, the Bucks defeated the New York Knicks 105-95. Milwaukee (1-5) was without starting point guard Brandon Knight who sat out with a sore left hamstring. Luke Ridnour started in his place and shot well from the field, helping pace the Bucks with 18 points and 11 assists. Caron Butler led the way with 24 points and OJ Mayo added 22 giving the Bucks a balanced backcourt attack.
The difference maker in the game, however, was Milwaukee shooting a collective 52 percent from the floor while the Knicks (2-4) managed just below 40 percent. Though the Bucks held a big lead in the third quarter, the game was not decided until late in the fourth. The Bucks picked up their first win of the season, and here are some of the more interesting takeaways from the contest:
Throughout the season the Bucks will not expect much scoring from Henson and Sanders down low, and last night was proof that Milwaukee’s offense will need to be heavily relied upon for this team to be successful. Though the Knicks were missing J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, Larry Drew has to be pleased with his guards’ performances, especially their three-point shooting. Mayo, Ridnour and Gary Neal combined to go 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. Though the backcourt played well, it will be interesting to see if Brandon Knight will provide the same results once he returns.
Throughout the preseason, the Bucks have been giving up a concerning number of offensive rebounds. Last night was no different as the Knicks grabbed 16 offensive boards. This issue will not change without the Bucks frontcourt taking on a larger role in fixing the problem. Though Milwaukee’s big men – Henson and Sanders, particularly – are talented, their slender body styles and reliance on athleticism make them prone to allowing offensive rebounds to physical opponents. Last night, Cole Aldrich made Larry Sanders and John Henson look silly in the second quarter picking up back-to-back offensive boards. If this problem is not fixed soon, it will result in unnecessary defensive possessions for the Bucks.
Giannis vs. Carmelo
Giannis Antetokounmpo received incredibly valuable experience going toe-to-toe with the reigning NBA scoring champion during the second quarter. Anthony got the best of the young Greek, drawing a foul on a three-point shot and knocking down a contested jumper in his face. Looking back, this was invaluable experience for Giannis. He got a taste of what an elite NBA talent is capable of, which may not happen much once the regular season begins.
Metta World Peace
The small forward formerly known as Ron Artest did not run into the stands to fight fans. This was a win for both teams and the city of Green Bay.