Wizards 105 Bucks 97: Recap

Following an uninspired first half, the Bucks impressively fought back to take the lead in the third quarter but ran out of energy and points down the stretch and lost 105-97 in front of Herb Kohl and friends in the nation's Capitol.

Three Bucks

  • Andrew Bogut. The Bucks were destroyed in the paint in the first half, but don't blame the man in the middle. Bogut was not only the last line of defense, but frequently the only line of defense. Bogut was also instrumental in the team's third quarter comeback, when he scored 11 points. He finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, including six off the offensive glass, a stirring follow-up to his drowsy performance on Sunday in Philadelphia.
  • Charlie Villanueva. He picked up his double-double tonight with a quarter and a half to spare. VNuv finished with 24 points and tied his season high with 16 rebounds. He also made all six of his free throws. Unfortunately he was plagued by a couple mental errors including throwing the ball off the back of his own backboard on an inbound play and throwing the ball directly out of bounds thanks to some miscommunication on the perimeter.
  • Desmond Mason. Mason gets bonus points for not only coming back from injury, but for a team-best +10 differential rating which is representative of his solid all-around game. Mason scored only five points but added six rebounds and tied for the team lead with five assists.

Three Numbers

  • 23. The Wizards' bench scored 23 points in the first half on 10-14 (.714) shooting. The Bucks' backups added only five points on 2-11 (.181) shooting in that span. The Bucks' lack of depth bordered on ridiculous in the first half. Charlie Bell managed to attempt and miss more three pointers than the Wizards in the first half. Dan Gadzuric missed four shots, got blocked twice, and picked up two fouls in eight minutes. And Bobby Simmons missed his only shot, got lost on defense, and apparently didn't impress Coach Krystkowiak, who didn't call his number in the second half. The Wizards won the overall bench scoring battle 43-10.
  • 7. The Bucks took 90 shots from the field, seven more than the Wizards. The Wizards made three more shots (41-38) however, and that was the difference in the game, especially considering both teams made an identical four three pointers and 17 free throws.
  • 15. Michael Redd (7) and Antawn Jamison (8) combined for nearly half of the turnovers in the game, partly a reflection of how much they were relied upon but also their sometimes sloppy play.

Three Good

  • Call it a Comeback. The Bucks turned a 13-point halftime deficit into a one-point lead less than eight minutes into the third quarter. They amassed 25 points in that span, and not coincidentally this run came with the starters playing each minute. After a nearly invisible first half that only inspired calls for Ramon Sessions, point guard Royal Ivey shifted from first to fourth gear in the blink of an eye, suddenly scoring, distributing, and leading the team’s revitalized offensive attack. Charlie Villanueva also combined with Andrew Bogut on a couple nice plays as the Bucks took the Wizards’ successful first-half blueprint of getting out in the open court and making fast, decisive passes that led to easy baskets. The only thing that could stop the Bucks at that point was Desmond Mason leaving the game with an injury.
  • Cowboy (gets) Up. It appeared the Bucks were possibly going to lose another starter when Desmond Mason fell to the floor and exited the game in the third quarter after Andrew Bogut inadvertently landed on him. Thankfully, disaster was averted as the Cowboy suffered what turned out to only be a knee contusion. With the Bucks already precariously thin, losing Mason would have been catastrophic. On an individual level, it’s good to see Mason okay, especially since he’s been a loyal warrior on the court of late. Down by ten late in the fourth quarter, Mason was still found diving into the stands to save a loose ball, yet another testament to the maximum effort he’s consistently shown in recent weeks.
  • Going Home. Having lost two of three at the Bradley Center, going home isn't quite as promising right now as it was a few weeks ago coming off wins against the Pistons, Nuggets, and Cavaliers. And most of the upcoming foes (Jazz, Celtics, Heat, Cavaliers) are no pushovers. Still, anything is better than playing on the road, where the Bucks haven't won in over a month.

Three Bad

  • Inside/Outside. For the third straight game, the Bucks were burned by opponent’s starting point guard-center combination. This is a concern because while the Wizards, Sixers, and Blazers are pretty solid, it's not as though they are the Spurs, Suns, or Pistons. Steve Blake and Lamarcus Aldridge torched the Bucks for 50 points before Andre Miller and Samuel Dalembert dominated from the outside and inside two days later. Tonight it was Antonio Daniels and Brendan Haywood who set the tone for the game, hitting for 15 first quarter points together. Haywood doesn't have a terribly refined offensive game but he knows what to do with the ball around the hoop, and there was plenty of open space in his comfort zone tonight. Daniels was quiet in the second half, but played the role of offensive general throughout, picking up six assists without a turnover in the game.
  • Nick Young's Day. Nick Young used Kobe Bryant Blog Day to make his best impression of the Laker great. The rookie came off the bench and immediately started throwing down dunks and hitting jumpers from outside. He also iced the game in the fourth by driving to the hoop for a pretty and-one to give the Wizards an insurmountable 11-point lead. Young finished with a career-high 22 points on 9-15 shooting along with five rebounds and three steals.
  • Depth. The Bucks only used three players (Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric, Bobby Simmons) off the bench, and only two (Bell and Gadzuric) in the second half. None of them were particularly effective either, combining for a -30 differential. For all the imperfections of Mo Williams and Yi Jianlian, they can't return soon enough.
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