Behind the Boxscore: Milwaukee is better than Detroit


Milwaukee 107, Detroit 104

Detroit spent a long weekend at home, downing the Celtics on Saturday before desperately plowing through this loss. Ten of this club’s next 14 games take shape on the road, the Pistons wanted a little stretch to ease into the ranks of the handful of .500-and-uppers in the shitty East and keeping Boston at arm’s length was a good start.

The Pistons didn’t have the same length on Monday, the Bucks had too many arms in the right places and sturdy helpers to prop up the project.

The Bucks still run a Chicago Guy with a huge ass in the rotation, but this year’s outcomes are different because Sterling Brown replaced Jabari Parker’s little puddles, the do-it-all Buck was in Blake Griffin’s beard all evening.

When the ball meets Brown’s hands he slides to either toss it up or whip it back around, Sterling fouled three times and had three field goals, Maywood Marcus Smart finding his marker.

This was nearly all the bench help Milwaukee boasted, a good reason for Detroit to sneak back in the contest, new Buck George Hill missed all six of his shots and Donte DiVincenzo was just no, no Donte. Do not do that, Donte.

D.J. Wilson provided slick defense off the Buck pine in both halves and Eric Bledsoe banked in a three-pointer. Brook Lopez emerged with five blocks, those “excuse me” contests of his, Khris Middleton overcame what could have been one of the frustrating games to dish six assists and hit for 22 points on 16 shots.

Giannis Antetokounmpo pitched with Stanley Johnson hanging all over him and still finished with 32 points, five assists, a dozen rebounds (and six turnovers). Johnson was a beautiful Piston, hitting for 20 points on four three-pointers off the pine, six rebounds, Stanley was on it.

Detroit couldn’t make it happen: Luke Kennard missed six of seven shots, Langston Galloway had his looks taken away, MKE had its priorities and the Bucks are thatmuch better.

Blake Griffin earned a Shawn Kemp Memorial Triple-Double with 19 points, 10 defensive rebounds, 11 assists and 10 turnovers.

The Shawn Kemp Memorial Triple-Double takes no time to consider the math.

Bucks: 20-9, Pistons: 14-14

Lost a lot of time this morning due to a bit of stomach trouble, this is late and I didn’t watch the NBA TV games in full. The Bulls game has been argued elsewhere, I don’t have the tummy.

The unintended consequence is that the uninvited movements from my midsection will provide enough muscle memory to discuss the holy shit Knicks.

Phoenix 128, New York 110

Brutal showing by the home club on Monday, there’s a suck that lives at Madison Square Garden and demands 72 percent cut from of your good times.

James Dolan buys his hats through the mail, he expects extemporaneous garnishes on the glasses of juice he carries from the bar (“the guy that was just here has cash, I don’t ever have any on me, he’ll help you out”), he enjoys the music of the Eagles without reflex and the air, there isn’t any at MSG.

It used to be a rush, doors open and blammo, all of New York shouting with the wind.

Now you stick a Knicks game on Christmas or randomly on TNT and the noise, it’s a different noise. Even in 2013, it was a different noise.

People like James Dolan thrive in airless vaults, heaps like him do their best explaining within the gulps without a pulse, the Fallon-eyed opposite of the bullshit “space between the notes”-quote that people keep attributing to Miles Davis. Dolan was probably thinking of Miles, famous fedora wearer, when he scribbled off the check for a hat of James’ own.

This is the sort of guy that will sit in on your soundcheck, because he can. He’ll hang out in the room that was designed solely for your needs, on a day when you’re at work, because technically he owns the joint.

Most NBA owners are hopeless boys, pulling their foreheads back until they feel 1994 again, but Dolan always spins sadder.

He’s not going to find whatever he’s looking for, from this, no matter how much space he’s allowed to discuss himself.

The Knicks become better the afternoon Dolan figures this all out.

Jamal Crawford destroyed the Knicks on Monday, a game played in the last month of 2018, keeping his dribble long enough for the sort of frog-tongued passes he slicked at Eddy Curry a decade and’a-half ago.

The Knicks played with effort and genuinely tried execution but the defense was so bad that none of David Fizdale’s help mattered, the Suns would just swing the ball until New York’s reputation took hold (and someone got a layup).

Suns: 7-24, Knicks: 9-23

Minnesota 132, Sacramento 105

The Wolves delivered by routine in this win, whooshing past the Kings before Sacramento (who played down in Dallas the night before) could understand what it was in for.

Then Minnesota’s bench hit: Tyus Jones ran like what 5-8 Scott Pippen musta looked like in high school, Josh Okogie destroyed every Sacramento he sought, Dario Saric delivered as Johnny on the Spot again, (Gorgui Dieng hit 3-3 shots for the Wolves in the second period).

SACTO was punchless, most of its starters sat about 88 percent of the game after its miserable beginning, coach’s choice, the Timberwolves led by as many as 36.

Skal Labissiere is still alive, I saw him. Nine points, two three-pointers in 28 minutes.

Karl-Anthony Towns tells a lot of jokes.

Timberwolves: 14-16, Kings 16-14

Trail Blazers 131, L.A. Clippers 127

The Clippers start slow because the squad starts a rookie and a very old man, in 32-year old center Marcin Gortat.

The rookie is 20, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11 points, 48 percent shooting, three boards and three assists in 27 minutes) tries very hard and Gortat runs to the best of his ability, but the pair is a step-slow in every NBA regard due to inhibitions that only time can help.

Pair that with the minutes lost when Boban Marjanovic’s moments on the court aren’t clicking, and you have enough piled possessions to waste a beautiful, pinpoint night from the absurdly-active Tobias Harris.

Tobias ran about 92 miles on Monday, he’s up to 21.5 points and eight boards per game, dude shoots over 51 percent.

The pinpoint didn’t matter, the Clippers dug too deep a hole to arm out of, PDX had some superstar answers when the calls clapped for it: C.J. McCollum sprang ultraclutch, 27 points on the night, Dame Lillard hit for 39.

Clipper Patrick Beverley fouled out, and I’d be angry too if I had to come off the bench behind the always-complaining Avery Bradley.

The Blazers can still be had, Evan Turner isn’t fooling people the way he used to and Zach Collins has missed more shots than any other NBA player in history, but PDX still has a profoundly tough starting five to get past.

Trail Blazers: 17-13, Clippers: 17-13

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San Antonio 123, Philadelphia 96

The 76ers worked in led boots on Monday, all credit to Gregg Popovich’s Emerging Beard and San Antonio’s perpetual movement machine, but Philly was dead tired in its third game in four nights.

The club played in Ohio on Sunday afternoon and it showed, the developing Sixers weren’t ready for the weirdness and San Antonio never let up. The execution from the home club was magnificent, the Spurs never looked up from the typewriter.

LaMarcus Aldridge (20 and 10, three blocks, no turnovers) badly outplayed Joel Embiid (6-17 shooting, ohfer six on threes, 13 points and five boards), Embiid was never where he was supposed to be but for the rare post appearances (that LMA bottled up). Joel enjoyed four of Philly’s ten turnovers.

The Sixers went desperate and began trapping in its comeback bid, but the Spurs knew exactly what to do.

Also, Wilson Chandler should not post up if his plan is to out-jump the opponent on the way toward a score, because Wilson Chandler cannot jump over a bean and rice burrito at this point.

Spurs: 16-15, 76ers: 20-12


If you’ve ever gotten into an empty cab with half-a buzz (or more), if you’ve ever done it alone and at night while still sitting like the coolest swing in the set, well, Grover Washington Jr. had the most to do with all that. The city helped, but the music made it work.

So, he kind of invented smooth jazz, but he also has a song called “Santa Cruzin” which is somehow even happier than the title suggests, boundlessly exuberant, Washington’s records are the limit. They are as smooth as jazz should go, Grover was the only one that should have been allowed ownership of a soprano.

He also wrote that song for Dr. J.

I’m all better, BtBs all week, thank you for reading.

(More to come.)