Bucks' opponents feasting on offensive rebounds

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Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
November 25, 2014

ST. FRANCIS—Rebounding is a lingering issue for the Milwaukee Bucks.

In the last three games, opponents have grabbed offensive rebounds on 34.6 percent of their misses, and the Washington Wizards rebounded 41.7 percent of their misses in a 111-100 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday night.

For the season the Bucks rank 28th among 30 NBA teams in opponents’ offensive rebound percentage (28 percent).

So what is to be done?

“We’ve got to get back to rebounding the ball; that’s put us in harm’s way,” Kidd said. “Not being able to finish plays off and giving teams second and third opportunities; you can’t beat anybody like that.

“We have to try and stay in front of the ball. We’re asking our bigs to bail us out a lot, and that takes a big off a big. We’re giving their bigs opportunities to rebound the ball, and so a small is on a big. Most of the time the bigs are going to win that contest.”

Twice in four days this week the Bucks will face the Detroit Pistons, a team that always presents Milwaukee a challenge with the big man tandem of 6-foot-11 Andre Drummond and 6-11 Greg Monroe.

Last season the two players averaged a combined 34.3 points and 25.3 rebounds per game against the Bucks, although they were limited to a combined 21 points and 17 rebounds on Nov. 7 when the teams met for the first time this season. The Pistons prevailed, 98-95.

The teams will play Tuesday night in Milwaukee and then Friday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

“You’ve got to understand how to use your length, and if you’re not long, how to use your strength,” Kidd said. “For us it’s being able to double-team some guys so that you have multiple guys in front and it discourages them to go for the offensive rebound.”

The Bucks have length on their front line with 6-11 center Larry Sanders, 6-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo and 6-8 Jabari Parker. Ersan Ilyasova (6-10) and John Henson (6-11) also provide it off the bench.

“A lot of time it is mismatches,” Sanders said. “These are really good rebounding bigs, so it is really hard for a guard to box out a big. We have to put an emphasis on five guys securing the ball before starting the break.”

The rebounding numbers were gruesome in the back-to-back losses to Toronto and Washington last weekend. Milwaukee was outrebounded 110-66 and outscored in second-chance points 59-18. The Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas and the Wizards’ Marcin Gortat punished the Bucks with their physical brand of play.

“When you look at the last couple games, it’s part of our defensive system.” Ilyasova said. “If somebody gets beat, a big guy has to step up and help. It’s why we have a mismatch on the boards.

“It’s not all about big guys. Sometimes we are out of the spot. It will take all five of us. We have to help each other and figure out those small things and we’re going to be better.”

The Bucks rank 17th in the league in rebounding (42.1 per game) and are 23rd in total rebounds allowed (43.8 per game). Sanders is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.8 per game, ranking 45th in the league. Parker and Antetokounmpo both are averaging 5.6 rebounds.

Sanders said he will be well aware of Detroit’s big men this week.

“The emphasis is just on trying to attack first, hit bodies before they hit you,” Sanders said. “There’s going to be a huge emphasis on being physical.”

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