Giannis Antetokounmpo

Lonzo Ball on first triple double: “We took a loss, so, it doesn’t really mean nothing”


Lonzo Ball grabbed a piece of NBA history Saturday night when he grabbed the rebound on a Thon Maker airballed three — it was his 10th rebound of the game, making him the youngest player in NBA history with a triple-double. Ball finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists on the night, he shot 7-of-12 and 3-of-5 from three, and his decision making while playing fast was the best it has been all season.

Just don’t think he was impressed.

“I really don’t care. We took a loss, so, it doesn’t really mean nothing,” Ball said in his televised press conference postgame.

The Lakers, like the rest of the league, had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 33 and led the Bucks to the 98-90 win. The Lakers didn’t shoot well (6-of-22 from three) and turned the ball over on 21.8 percent of their possessions, and that did them in against a young and improving Milwaukee team.

That left Ball frustrated.

“No, it don’t matter to me, to be honest,” Ball said of his triple-double record. “I just wanted to win tonight. I thought we put ourself in a good position to get it, but it didn’t happen.”

For Lakers fans, that’s another good sign from the night — Ball puts winning in front of personal stats.

He did a good job pushing the tempo in this game — as he has done all season — but when playing fast he has struggled some with his decision making this season. He has great vision, something especially dangerous in transition, but in the half court he drove into trouble and too often chose ill-advised shots instead of passes to open teammates. Saturday he was making good decisions — nine of his assists were either for threes or dunks. He was getting teammates efficient shots.

Keep doing that and the wins will come eventually. Then he can enjoy his big nights and bits of history.

Lonzo Ball becomes youngest player with triple-double in NBA history


Lonzo Ball found his shot Saturday in Milwaukee — at least for a night — and that combined with a fast tempo led to a little bit of history.

Lonzo Ball’s 17 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists made him the youngest player in NBA history with a triple-double. At 20 years and 20 days, he beat LeBron James by five days to take away the record.

It seems fitting Ball got his first triple-double going against the team of Jason Kidd, the future Hall-of-Fame point guard who is third on the all-time triple-double list.

Ball’s passing has been strong all season (even if his decision making on drives needed to improve), and his rebounding for his position has been strong, but it’s the shooting which has held him back. On Saturday he was 7-of-12 overall, and 3-of-5 from three. Let’s not call it a trend yet, but it’s a good sign.

The Bucks went on to win the game 98-90 behind 33 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Eric Bledsoe to start in debut with Bucks against Spurs Friday

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Jason Kidd is not going to start slowly and break things in over time.

Newly acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe is going to start in his debut with the Bucks, Kidd said at shootaround on Friday in San Antonio, where the Bucks will take on the Spurs later that night. Via Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“For his first day of shootaround, you could see the dynamic of his speed, something that we don’t have at that position,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ll find out here quickly (how he fits with the team). It’s going to take some time for him to understand his teammates and understand the defensive and offensive schemes, but he’s a pro, he’s a very smart young man and he can help us, hopefully. He’s going to start tonight. We’re going to start him and start that relationship with the starting group.”

The move bounces reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to the bench, but he could end up playing more minutes than Bledsoe, who has not played in a game since Oct. 21 and may be on a bit of a minute’s limit.

“They talk about 20 minutes, so we’ll see when that approaches how he feels,” Kidd said. “Again, it’s not like he’s coming off an injury. He hasn’t played and so we don’t want to throw him out there and have him play 35 minutes.”

Bledsoe should be a big boost to the Bucks — he is a secondary shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bledsoe can play off the ball and knock down shots. The Bucks have the seventh best offense in the NBA, and he could be a boost to it. If he can improve the Bucks’ defense — second worst in the NBA and the reason they are 4-6 — it would be a bigger help.

Jason Kidd fined $15,000 for criticizing officiating

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Bucks’ coach Jason Kidd knew this was coming.

After his team lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-119 Tuesday, Kidd said “I just got fined” after pointing out that in the previous three games combined opponents had shot 55 more free throws than his Bucks (95-40). Kidd said, “The different crews that we’ve had have been awful.”

Thursday Kidd got what he expected, the league fined him $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating.

There have been a lot of stars frustrated with calls this season. Kevin Pelton at ESPN did the math and James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and others have seen their percentage of fouls per shot attempt go down — guys are not getting the superstar treatment from referees quite the same way this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is in that mix as well. It’s going to be an adjustment for players. And coaches.

Maybe Kidd will get his point across with the comment and fines. He seems to feel it was worth it.

Winners, losers from the Eric Bledsoe trade to Milwaukee

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Eric Bledsoe got his wish — he is no longer a Phoenix Sun. He has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Greg Monroe, an oddly-protected first-round pick, and potentially a second rounder. Who came out on top on that deal, and who didn’t? Let’s make some flash judgments (which could look foolish in a few months) and say who won and lost in Tuesday’s trade.

WINNER: Eric Bledsoe. He asked for a trade, he wanted out of Phoenix and to play for a team headed to the postseason where the games would matter — he got his wish. Bledsoe landed in a spot at the top of his wish list in Milwaukee, a team with a top-five NBA Greek Freak player, but one who could use a secondary playmaker to take the next step. Bledsoe can be a good defender when he cares, he just hasn’t cared for a couple of years now. Can he still flip that switch? Either way, he forced his way out of a bad situation into a potentially very good one, that’s a win in any book.

WINNER: Milwaukee Bucks. Losers of three in a row before the trade and four in a row now (after a Tuesday night loss to Cleveland), it quickly became clear this season that the Giannis vs. the world offense was not going to be enough. Now the 4-6 Bucks have gone from “can they make the playoffs” to “can they contend in the East?” Probably not yet, but this trade certainly fills a need and creates the potential.

LOSER: Phoenix Suns. This isn’t a “Bucks trade Dirk Nowitzki to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor” level disaster, but they gave up the best player in the trade and when that happens you don’t get to call it a win. I’d grade them a “C” on this trade, really. Phoenix gets a very oddly protected pick (my guess is it doesn’t convey until 2020), maybe a second rounder, and Greg Monroe, who the Suns will try to flip again. It’s a trade that gets them a piece or two for their rebuild, but not true value back for a quality player.

WINNER: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak has been a one-man show in Milwaukee in part out of necessity — they didn’t have another playmaker. Jabari Parker can create shots for himself, but he’s out injured, Malcolm Brogdon at the point is not a shot creator, and so it was all Antetokounmpo. No longer. Bledsoe is a good playmaker for himself and others, and it will take the load off and give Jason Kidd more options in calling plays and going after mismatches. Antetokounmpo could see his raw counting stats go down a little with this trade, but he should be able to be more efficient.

LOSER: Greg Monroe. The Bucks leaned on him in the playoffs a year ago, but he was never part of the future (especially with the emergence of Thon Maker). Now Monroe goes to a genuinely bad team in Phoenix, one that will use him as an asset to trade at the deadline for another pick. He shouldn’t unpack his bags, he’s just a pawn in the salary moving chess match that is the NBA.

WINNER: Jon Horst (the Bucks GM). Milwaukee’s young new GM saw a team once again stumbling and not taking a step forward — this has been a “two steps up, one step back” team for years — and he did something about it. The Bucks gave up very little and got a quality point guard and shot creator who can also defend. The most valuable asset surrendered was the future first-round pick, and it is so heavily protected it’s not a problem. The new guy did well.

LOSER: Matthew Dellavedova. He has been genuinely terrible this season — shooting 34.8 percent from the field with a PER of 5.9 — but coach Kidd played him because he didn’t have a choice. Now, he does. Soon Bledsoe will start, Brogdon will back him up at the point, and the feisty Dellavedova will be reduced to playing only garbage time.

GUY NOW FEELING THE PRESSURE: Jason Kidd. Milwaukee is a team that needed to take a step forward this year, and the 4-6 start they got off to is certainly not that. This trade means the Bucks have the talent to make the postseason in the East (and maybe even do some damage there), but if Kidd’s gambling defense and older-school offense doesn’t get them there he’s the one that pays the price. The Bucks have their GM in Horst, and he didn’t hire Kidd, which already put the coach on shaky ground. Now he has to get this team some wins or start polishing his resume.