Another Bucks loss to a sub-.500 Eastern Conference rival, falling in Atlanta 96-80 (recap / video). Here are your knee-jerk reactions:
- The Bucks starters came out much better than last night, with Desmond Mason aggressively defending Josh Smith and holding the high-flyer to 1/6 fgs in the first half. Each starter was at least a +2 in the half, but tonight it was the bench that did them in. Villanueva, Bell, Gadzuric and Simmons were all between minus-14 and -16 in the first half alone.
- After playing even in the first quarter, the Bucks were ice cold in the second quarter, scoring only 14, seemingly all of them in the final few minutes. Gadzuric got the first basket with a baseline turnaround with about four minutes gone in the quarter.
- The Bucks started both the third and fourth quarters well but the Hawks then took timeouts and always bounced back. It was actually similar to the first game between the two teams in that the home team had a couple huge leads, only to let the visitors chip away and get within a possession multiple times. But just like in Milwaukee it never seemed like the comeback would ever be completed. Sure enough, a cold stretch midway through the fourth guaranteed another lopsided loss.
- Interestingly, the big three all put numbers for the Bucks--but the bench did absolutely nothing. Bogut had 18/11 and four blocks while Mo had 23 on 9/9 fg along with nine assists (but six TOs). Redd kept the Bucks in it for the first three quarters but missed his last four or five shots. Redd finished with 24 and five rebounds.
- Meanwhile, the subs finished 2/17 from the field with seven points, five of them from Simmons and none from Villanueva or Bell, who finished a combined 0/9. So in other words, it was the exact opposite of last night, when the starters stunk and bench kept the Bucks in it.
- Mo's hot shooting from the field was somewhat negated by a slew of careless turnovers. I don't know if the wrap on his thumb is affecting him or what, but he seems to be just dribbling the ball out of bounds and giving it away a lot lately. I assume it can't be that big of a problem considering he's shooting so well, but the TOs certainly temper the value of his passing and good shooting.
- No one guy killed the Bucks, just a lot of guys playing pretty well (six in double digits).