Henson bright spot in Bucks’ record-setting loss
MILWAUKEE — It was inevitable with the way the season has gone, but the Milwaukee Bucks made the wrong kind of history Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
A 102-98 loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors gave the Bucks their 63rd loss of the season, surpassing the previous franchise-record of 62 losses set by the 1993-94 team.
"That’s not something you want to be associated with," Bucks forward John Henson said. "Hopefully we can look back on this and say this was the turning point in what we did in this organization. That’s all you can hope for."
The encouraging part of Saturday night’s loss was the performance of Henson. He put forth his best performance in months, scoring 23 points with nine rebounds, a career-high six assists and three blocked shots in 39 minutes.
"I got to play a little bit and got in a rhythm," Henson said. "I haven’t played like that in, whew, a long time. It felt good. Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but we played well under the circumstances."
Milwaukee suited up just eight players Saturday, as O.J. Mayo, Ekpe Udoh and Miroslav Raduljica were out due to injuries. The Bucks had Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo and recently signed Chris Wright as their only options off the bench.
Henson was likely going to have to play increased Saturday after Zaza Pachulia played 40 minutes in Friday night’s loss to Chicago. But Pachulia was limited to just nine minutes against the Raptors due to foul trouble, and Henson was the only big man available off the bench.
"I thought he did a good job from an effort standpoint." Bucks coach Larry Drew said of Henson. "Zaza picked up a couple of early fouls and we were limited to one big guy off the bench. John had to play a lot of minutes tonight. He did a good job. It was a tough matchup for him. I thought he did a good job."
Henson scored 12 of his 23 points in the second quarter, as Milwaukee outscored Toronto 34-19 to take a 56-47 advantage into the locker room. The Bucks saw the first half as a great success, but the playoff-bound Raptors were not pleased with their effort.
"Well, first half we played like crap," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "There’s no nice words you could put to it. We can’t approach the game that way. It’s just not acceptable to where we want to go and how we want to do it.
"If we want to be average, fine. But to get where we want to go and be a playoff-caliber team, we have to perform better than that. No matter who you play, doesn’t matter if it is Indiana or a high school team, it doesn’t matter. We got to come out and perform."
Yet another slow start to the third quarter ruined any kind of momentum created from the 10-0 run Milwaukee ended the first half on.
Two season long problems came back to bite the Bucks again on Saturday, as a slow start to the third quarter and a failure to defend the 3-point line — Toronto hit 12-of-27 from beyond the arc — did them in.
Greivis Vasquez hit three-of-four 3-point attempts in the second half, while DeMar DeRozan scored 19 after the break as the Raptors outscored the Bucks by 13 in the final two quarters.
"We did not come out at the start of the third the way we ended the second," Drew said. "I was a little surprised at that. It’s something we harp on before leaving the locker room, making sure we come out with some energy and some juice and make sure they’re the first to call a time out. We were forced to call it tonight."
Words of advice: Before Saturday’s game, Drew further addressed the five-game suspension handed down by the league to Larry Sanders for testing positive for marijuana.
The Bucks coach was asked what kind of advice he plans on giving his troubled center.
"I try to take off my coaching hat and be kind of more of a father figure than anything," Drew said. "I think any young man that makes it to this level, there’s a very high level of responsibility that you have to take on. I just try to offer my advice more than anything. I’ve seen different players in different situations. I just try to offer some advice that probably can help him. Maybe it won’t.
"Having three boys myself, I know how sometimes how a young man can get caught up into certain things. What you don’t want to see more than anything is a pattern developing."
Wright returns: It appears as if Chris Wright won the battle of the three guys the Bucks have auditioned on 10-day contracts, as the former University of Dayton forward was brought back on a second 10-day deal Saturday.
He played 16 minutes against Toronto and scored four points with four rebounds and three steals.
"We just kind of thought that of the three guys he was more of a fit for us," Drew said. "I thought he did a good job when he was here. He showed really good energy. I’ve always said I’ve wanted guys that have energy, some bounce in them. He definitely has that."
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