First Glimpse: Bucks-Timberwolves pre-season live blog, game 1

Tip off is in about ten minutes, and still haven’t seen Stephen Jackson in uniform.  Andrew Bogut just got in the FoxNorth camera background and swished a warm-up free throw — right handed — and he’s not wearing a sleeve or a brace on the bad arm.

The pregame hype revolves around Ricky Rubio‘s debut against Brandon Jennings, and Bogut’s health. Rubio isn’t starting – Luke Ridnour does.

Interested to see who takes the Bucks first shot tonight.  If this is anything like last year, it will be Drew Gooden, starting again at power forward, shooting at will.

Not this year.  Mike Dunleavy drains the Bucks first shot, a three-pointer off a feed from Bogut in the post.  Dunleavy’s starting for Jackson.

The starting lineup:  Bogut, Gooden, Dunleavy, Delfino and Jennings.

Gooden takes an off-balance post-up fallaway, misses.  Bogut still hasn’t shot.  8-4 Bucks.  The T-Wolves aren’t getting anything in the paint.

4 minutes in:  Kevin Love beats Gooden on a drive and draws a foul.  Skiles yanks Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova makes his entrance.  13-7 Bucks.

Tobias Harris in for Delfino at the 6:30 mark.  The rookie can get to the rim.  First a layup on the break, then a foul drawn on a drive into the lane.  Two free throws.  17-10 Bucks.

Bucks need a good look and are trying to get it to Bogut in the post, can’t. 3 second call on Bogues on an Ilyasova drive.  17-15 Bucks.

Rubio and J.J. Barea into the game.  Barea somehow grabs an offensive board and Michael Beasley draws a foul on Tobias Harris.  17-16.

Bucks don’t look settled at all on offense.  Jennings, Beno Udrih, Harris, Ilyasova and now Brockman in for Bogut.  We know the Brockman-as-backup-center didn’t work last year.  Yet here we go again.

Larry Sanders anyone?

18-20 T-Wolves.  Leuer into the game for Ilyasova, who has two fouls.

Brockman-Leuer-Harris-Udrih-Shaun Livingston.  This is a D-League lineup to close the first quarter with BJ Livingston and Beno.  Udrih looks shorter in a Bucks uniform for some odd reason.  24-26 T-Wolves, end of quarter.

What have we learned so far?   Mike Dunleavy can shoot, and Delfino looks ready to have his best season as a pro.  Bogut looks comfortable and healthy but didn’t get touches.   The Gooden-Ilyasova playing time problem is still there, same as it was last season.  The bench rotations aren’t set, and one wouldn’t expect them to be at this point.

Livingston looks like Jennings’ taller, older brother.

2nd Quarter:  Luc Mbah a Moute starts the quarter, immediately grabs an offensive board and lays it in, starting the Bucks on a 12-2 run.  Leuer is scoring at will against Anthony Randolph.  Moute is all over the court, making plays.  The guy hasn’t practiced a day due to visa problems with Cameroon that finally cleared on yesterday.

Bogut’s back in at about 9:00 left.   He finally gets his first bucket after grabbing a Moute airball at the rim.

Bogut at the line, 6:28 mark.  He’s one for two, a lot of rim.

Skiles calls timeout after the T-wolves bomb away from three to close the gap, then Gooden eats the ball in the post and takes another bad fallaway.  45-40 Bucks.

Kevin Love just drained a three with Bogut in his face.  Then another one.  Skiles has realized he can’t put Gooden on him, so k-Love is Bogut’s charge.  This is clearly a job for Ilyasova or Moute.   46-50 T-Wolves.

Love hits another one from Downtown, where Bogut can’t get to him.  Bogut looks annoyed, and answers with a driving lefty hook.  Bucks go into timeout after a foul with Skiles looking confused.  48-55 T-wolves.

52-62 at half. Eight threes in the quarter by the T-Wolves.  Ilyasova looks glum, but gives Gooden a hand slap on the way to the locker room.  Bucks assistant Sidney Moncrief is clearly not happy.

This looks far too much like the beginning of last season for comfort.

Did the Bucks really just give up 62 to the T-Wolves in the half?   T-Wolves are 8-11 from 3-point-land.

SECOND HALF: Skiles starts Ilyasova on Love in the second half but Love picks up right where he left off and drains a mid-range jumper.  He’s on fire.

Now the refs are getting into it.  Ticky-tacky fouls and the T-Wolves are living at the line.

Great basketball play by Ilyasova – to Dunleavy – to Bogut for a dunk.  Best passing of the night.  61-68 T-Wolves.

Jennings hits a three from the corner.  But the Bucks are having trouble with Mike Beasley.  And Love again.  67-77.  But Dunleavy’s keeping them close. Another three. 16 for Dunleavy.

Love finally misses.  A jumper by BJ, and the Bucks are in a groove with this unit:  BJ, Delfino, Dunleavy, Ilyasova and Bogut.  It’ll be interesting to see where Skiles goes from here.   79-72 with Bogut at the line.  One of two – 79-73 and the Wolves turn it over.

Skiles has stuck with the group for most of the quarter, then subbed Livingston for Delfino, which may signal a Skiles preference in terms of who’s on his bench.  He’d normally go to Moute but Ersan has slowed down K-Love and Dunleavy’s filling it up.  Bucks had a good rhythm going until a couple of fluke bounces led to second chance hoops for the T-Wolves.

Bogut out after a ticky-tack call guarding Darko.  These refs won’t let Bogut d-up on Darko?  Really?  87-76 and it’s slipping back to the T-wolves.

92-78 at the end of 3 quarters.  The T-Wolves cooled off a bit from Downtown (2-7) but got enough garbage going to hold the Bucks off.  There’s not much to what the T-Wolves do but shoot threes and move off of point guard penetration.

Which is to say that BJ and Dunleavy haven’t been good on the perimeter D. This is where the Bucks need Moute and Livingston to help tighten it up.  (It’s not happening tonight).

4th Quarter:  The D-League unit of Udrih-Livingston-Hobson-Leuer-Brockman is getting smoked.  84-100 T-Wolves but Leuer has 14 against Derrick Williams this time in the matchup of rookies.

Hobson has some nifty moves on the perimeter, dropped a nice pass to Livingston for a dunk.  But how different from Chris Douglas-Roberts will he be?   He’s bigger but CD-R was pretty smooth on the offensive end.  I wonder how these things play out in GM John Hammond’s mind.

Bucks are shanking shots, still with the D-League group. Ooof!  Rubio to Derrick Williams for a lob dunk.  Williams beat Leuer badly on a back-cut.  86-105.

86-107.  Another dunk for Leuer.  The rookies Rubio, Williams, Leuer and Hobson are putting on a show.  Skiles isn’t entertained but, why not?  This one’s over and it’s fun watching Leuer light it up in Bucks green.

117-96 final, a poor night on the defensive perimeter, a second quarter of bad matchups that Skiles would like to have back.

LINK. Just to show that I didn’t make all this up.

8 thoughts on “First Glimpse: Bucks-Timberwolves pre-season live blog, game 1

  1. Kevin

    I could not watch the game, but Minnesota was scorching us with those threes and playing small. Defense is what everyone says what it takes to win, and while I’m not arguing that point, the best Bucks team in the last 24 years was one that played no D but could shoot the lights out. Scoring 96 points on 39% means they need to get to 43-45 to score 100 or more. Matchups will probably determine who gets in, and with this condensed schedule they may alternate from game to game.

  2. J.D. Mo. Post author

    I should edit that to say they looked “halfway decent” in the 3rd quarter, not pretty good. Jennings was getting roasted by Ridnour.

  3. J.D. Mo. Post author

    First glimpse indication was that Gooden is pussyfooting again, and neither Gooden nor Leuer can play the D Skiles wants. Leuer had a pretty rough time with Derrick Williams, while Ersan was the guy who was able to knock K-Love off track so the Bucks could get it together in the 3rd Quarter when they looked pretty good: Jennings, Delfino, Dunleavy, Ersan and Bogut.
    I like Leuer, too, but he needs some time to develop.

    Hammond has stuck Skiles with Gooden and we’ll see how this develops. He’s gotta be able to do something out there or that contract of his becomes less and less tradeable. If that happens, figure Ersan to find a better situation while Leuer becomes his heir apparent.

  4. Kevin

    I know it’s just one preseason game, but Leuer and Dunleavy seem to bring energy to this sagging offense. Then you can bring in Luc for defense and Delfino for 3s. Outside of our nucleus Bogut, Jennings, Jackson, there are 9 guys who all command playing time. I think Sanders and Ersan may be the odd men out unless Gooden is pussyfooting again and Leuer is just an experiment.

  5. J.D. Mo. Post author

    I had been hoping the talk about Gooden losing weight and having good workouts was true — but now I have my doubts. He’s not compatible with Bogut. Skiles has to be allowed to start the power forward who is most compatible, and right now that would be Ilyasova. Skiles could also get over his reluctance to play Moute and Ersan together, with Bogut. It’s always been the Bucks best defensive front, and with Dunleavy and Jackson, along with a point guard, there would be enough offense on the court, and there’s always Delfino to come in and score, though it would be nice if he did something other than shoot threes, which is all he seems to want to do..

  6. Kevin

    This is how I see it: start Dunleavy and Leuer at forwards and back them up with Delfino and Moute and Ersan. Gooden and Sanders back up Bogut. Livingston can back up Jax. Brockman, Harris and Hobson or whoever’s injured inactive.

  7. J.D. Mo. Post author

    There are just too many guys that Gooden can’t guard, where you need Ersan and Moute out there. Leuer’s defense has to get better but he was impressive on the offensive end. No hesitation and a lot of good moves around the basket.

    The Jackson-Delfino-Dunleavy with Moute rotation will be tough to manage, I agree. If Dunleavy and Beno can’t play the D, and if Jennings can’t even stay with Ridnour, we’ll see a lot of Livingston and S-Jax.

  8. Kevin

    Leuer may make those minutes for Ersan and Gooden even tougher. And what about Prince when Jackson is added to the mix? Sanders may have still been recovering. So many players of comparable ability make this a difficult rotation to figure out.

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