Week In Review: Milwaukee Bucks Falter In Toughest Week of Season

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Dec 3, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) celebrates after making the game winning shot as time expired during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Dallas won 107-105. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday, Dec. 3rd: Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks

Wednesday night brought the return of Monta Ellis to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, and boy did he make it count.  Ellis had a team-high 23 points, including the game-winning shot.  A note worth mentioning, Dallas was without Dirk for the night with a back injury.

Monta and Dallas defeated the Bucks 107-105.

Remember how we talk about the Bucks struggling with skilled big men?  Well, Dallas had one Wednesday night.  And the Bucks struggled against him.  Dallas’ center Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 20 rebounds against Milwaukee Wednesday night.  Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia combined for 14 points and 17 rebounds.

The Mavericks as a team only out- rebounded the Bucks 46-39, but the real problem was Dallas having over double Milwaukee’s offensive boards (17-8).  I don’t want to harp on this every time a big man does well against the Bucks, but if it’s not 18 and 20 to Chandler, it’s 26 and 20 Drummond, or 18 and 12 to Valanciunas.

It’s something Milwaukee will have to fix if they want to succeed down the road.

But despite all of that, Milwaukee was in the game until the final buzzer.  How you ask?  Is that pesky bench of theirs.  Milwaukee didn’t back down after losing Ersan for some time.  Instead they outscored Dallas’ bench 51-26.

Leading the bench was Khris Middleton, who played 29 minutes (second only to Brandon Knight), dropped 21 points and added eight rebounds.  Kidd kept bench players like Jared Dudley, Jerryd Bayless, and Kendall Marshall in late into the fourth quarter as well, keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari on the bench during crunch time.

Dudley, Middleton, and Pachulia all played more minutes than both Parker and Antetokounmpo.  As a fan it was disappointing to watch in person, but Kidd must have seen something in them to keep them playing that deep into the fourth.

But on the last play of the game, Milwaukee had O.J. Mayo guarding Monta.  Everyone inside and outside the stadium knew Ellis was going to get the last shot.  O.J. played the best defense you could on the play, but Ellis just took a couple steps, faded away from Mayo, and sunk the shot near the top of the key.

The heartbreaking loss dropped Milwaukee back to .500 at 10-10.  Up next for the Bucks were the Miami Heat in Milwaukee on Friday night.

Next: Heat Check