Milwaukee Bucks Game Review: Skiles Interview, Extra Thoughts from Washington


Ekpe Udoh scores a lefty, +1 layup over Jan Vesely at the end of the third quarter. Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Before the game, I spoke with John Henson and asked him if he had any butterflies when he played his first regular-season game Wednesday. He admitted that he did, but that playing in Summer League and preseason made it more tolerable.  He didn’t play in last night’s game.

Scott Skiles had zero comment on the Lakers’ firing of head coach Mike Brown.

As far as making Drew Gooden inactive, Skiles said, “He took it professionally. No permanence to any of it.”  He also said that he wished he could dress all his healthy players and that “throughout exhibition, I just thought that a couple other guys played better.”

Gooden and Luc Mbah a Moute were the inactive players for the game.  While Mbah a Moute sat at the end of the bench next to John Henson, Gooden — who was at the arena — didn’t go out to the bench area for the game.

The Bucks are 3-1. THE BUCKS ARE 3-1! They lead the Central Division with games against Boston and Indiana coming in the next week.  The Celtics and Pacers currently rank as the Eastern Conference’s two biggest disappointments thus far — wins over the pair will give the Bucks a huge advantage in the playoff race, losses would pull the two back up the standings.

Ekpe Udoh does all of the little things. In addition to his timely three-point play to end the third quarter, and a stretch of impressive defense to start the fourth, Ekpe was the one who got between Trevor Booker and Brandon Jennings in the kerfuffle last night. If there’s one guy on the Wizards not to mess with, it’s Booker.

Also, Ekpe came out of the showers quite boisterous from the win.  Soft-spoken Monta Ellis — who had a horde of reporters around him following his incident with Bradley Beal — was nearly inaudible under Udoh’s happy mix of freestyle and crooning.

Udoh had a defensive rebound in the game.  The board raised his defensive rebounds per 36 minutes rate to an astoundingly low 0.8.  Read more about that here.

Marquis Daniels played his best game as a Buck.  In 15 minutes, he scored six points with three assists.  He showed the first flashes of his back to the basket game when took Jordan Crawford down low and scored in the post.  He also got one of his two steals from Crawford on a wretched, overcomplicated dribble-move-gone-wrong just past midcourt.

Bonus points to Daniels for sporting the Rambo-style headband on Veteran’s Appreciation Night.

The referees wore purple wristbands in support of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Trevor Booker had the best dunk I’ve seen so far this year, a lefty throwdown over and around a challenge from Larry Sanders (who quietly may have been the best player on the court — no, really).  Sanders smartly rotated over quickly to Booker, but made a contest on the right-hand side of Booker, a natural lefty.

A big sign of growth?  On one possession, with seconds dwindling on the shot clock, Sanders found himself with the ball and not much happening.  He made a move to dribble toward the hoop, then zipped a long pass out the corner for a Mike Dunleavy three-pointer.  Drive-and-kick Larry.  Bet you weren’t planning on that this season, right?

In his pregame interview, Wizards coach Randy Wittman got a roar out of the assembled reporters.  When asked if guards Ellis and Jennings were “itching to get off”, Wittman replied, “I think they should get off every night.”  After a chuckle, he backpedaled and said he didn’t mean for it to come out quite that way.

Dunleavy on the Beal-Jennings-Ellis thing: “There were two guys chasing him down.  He went up kind of exposed and I think it looked a lot worse that it was.  I don’t know that there was a lot of bad intent…. It was one of those plays where you get up in the air and come down hard. But obviously our guys wanted to be there and step in.  After that I kind of lost track of what happened.  I was holding one of our guys back.”  The teammate Dunleavy held back was Sanders.  He doesn’t think Jennings will get suspended and said that it was a “stretch to throw both guys out”.

Brandon Jennings had a clever steal of the inbounds pass following a made Ellis basket that he converted for a layup of his own.

Beno Udrih won the battle of backup point guards with Jannero Pargo.  He comfortably drove his way to the paint for short pullups when most of the offense for both teams was iffy early in the fourth quarter.

Tweet of the night:

Skiles addresses the media following the game:

Beal fouls Ellis, Jennings shoves Beal: