Without Mike Redd, Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian, the Bucks followed up their win in Memphis last night by giving the Mavs a pretty decent run. But after playing even for 46 minutes, Milwaukee collapsed in the final two, losing 107-96 (recap). Mo Williams had 36 but Dirk Nowtizki messed around and got his first career triple-double (29/10/12).
- Mo Williams. Coming off his huge 32-point effort last night in Memphis, Mo was lights out in the first half, connecting for 28 points including a buzzer-beating bank shot from about 35 feet out. He did much of his damage with the Bucks catching the Mavs off guard in transition, as well as when the Mavs consistently went under screens. But with the Bucks unable to run as effectively in the second half, the Mavs also began to double him more consistently and he simply ran out of gas--unsurprising considering his 46 minute night came after 38 minutes last night. He finished with 36 (14/29 fg, 3/7 3 fg, 5/7 ft), five boards and four assists along with just one turnover, but missed his last five shots and didn't score in the final 11:25 of the game.
- Andrew Bogut. After grabbing five or fewer rebounds in three straight games, Bogut got back on track with a 24 point, 14 rebound effort including 17 in the second half as Williams wore down. Bogut was 10/19 from the field, so he again was a major focal point, and made 4/5 free throws to boot.
- Charlie Villanueva. Following up his 16/16 night in Memphis, CV shook off early foul trouble to go for 16 (5/9 fg, 6/6 ft) along with seven boards and three assists. Another decent effort was marred by his ejection in the waning seconds, when he threw a wristband at Brandon Bass. Zach Randolph was suspended for a game earlier this season for throwing a headband into the stands, so we'll wait to see if CV faces further disciplinary action.
- 12. Before tonight, Dirk Nowitzki had never had even 10 assists in a single game, but he shredded the Bucks' zone for his first career triple-double: 29 points (9/17 fg), 10 rebounds and 12 dimes.
- 14. The assist differential said a lot about the team's differing styles. While the Mavs increasingly probed the Bucks' zone looks to find open men and rack up 26 assists, the Bucks relied mostly on Mo Williams finding his own shot or Andrew Bogut going it alone in the post. The result: just 12 assists. Williams had only four, while his fellow starters (and PG-types) Ivey and Bell had none.
- 16-5. The Mavs' scoring run in the final 132 seconds. While the Mavs held single-digit leads for much of the first three quarters, the game was back-and-forth most of the way in the fourth--until the final two minutes. That was when the Mavs made the Bucks look like the inferior team that they are, using an 8-0 run to put the game away: a Brandon Bass putback, a breakaway Jason Terry dunk after a Bucks turnover, and two Nowitzki buckets.
- Hanging in. Without three regular rotation members (Redd, Yi, Simmons) and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Bucks deserve some credit for managing to compete for 46 minutes with one of the West's best.
- Mo lobs!. A week after I used this space to call him out for never throwing lobs, Mo Williams seems intent on changing that. He's probably thrown six or seven lobs in the last two games, and they've actually worked about half the time. Bogut, CV and Desmond Mason thank you.
- Mogut stepping up. Without Redd, there's really no way for the Bucks to compete in games like this without big nights from Mo and Bogut. In the first half Williams' Teen Wolf act kept the Bucks in it, while Bogut shook off a quiet start to get rolling in the second half, particularly in the fourth when he scored 11.
- Zoned out. If Krystkowiak is going to play his miniball lineup of Mo-Ivey-Bell (at least throw Mason in there) then it's difficult not to play a lot of zone, and the Bucks spent much of the game that way even with Desmond Mason (37 minutes) getting most of Ivey's burn in the second half. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the Mavs got smarter as the game went on, finding the zone's soft spot at the top of the lane and near the elbows where Nowitzki, Jason Terry (23) and Josh Howard (17/8) did plenty of damage.
- Charlie Bell. A day after scoring 17 in Memphis, the bad Charlie Bell made the trip to Dallas, missing 8 of 10 shots and finishing a team-worst minus-19. But it wasn't just misses, it was how he was missing them; at least a couple of his jumpers bricked off the glass and missed the rim entirely. It seemed odd that Bell never got pulled for Royal Ivey in the second half, but Bell did reward LK's patience by drilling a game-tying three from the corner with less than three minutes remaining.
- Closing it out. We already broke down the Mavs' 16-5 rout of the Bucks in the closing minutes, but it was another example of the Bucks being unable to execute down the stretch. Last night Mo Williams bailed them out with his monster fourth quarter in Memphis, but against a good team it was a much different story. Like in Phoenix, New Jersey and Utah last month, the Bucks simply had no ammo left when it came time to make plays toward the end of the game.