So much for that winning streak. As much as the Pacers seemed intent on keeping the Bucks in the game, they made enough big shots to snare a 105-101 win at the Bradley Center. Mike Dunleavy continues his strong campaign for a Rogaine endorsement, combining some great play (27 points, 11 boards) with his rapidly thinning mop of hair. Pretty uninspiring stuff from both teams, but Indiana keeps alive their faint playoff hopes. Former Marquette star Travis Diener added 11 points and five assists in 26 minutes off the bench.
- Andrew Bogut. Bogut keeps racking up 20/10 games (21/16 to be exact), but he didn't look particularly good doing it. He never got anything going in the post against Jeff Foster, which helps explain his subpar 8/17 shooting night, but Mo Williams and Ramon Sessions got him a number of easy hoops. Credit Foster (9 points, 16 boards, three blocks) for a very nice game opposite Bogut. Bogut did however have the highlight of the game with a huge one-handed dunk on Troy Murphy.
- Michael Redd. Redd was shooting (28 points on 24 shots) and doing little else (four boards, one dime), but he can be forgiven to some extent because his teammates were providing little offensive ingenuity of their own.
- Ramon Sessions. Sessions continues to rack up big minutes (31) and respectable stat lines (11 points, seven assists, four rebounds, two TOs), but tonight he couldn't provide nearly the game-changing effect that he has the past three games. After posting ratings of +17, +16, and +5 in the previous three contests, he was a minus-4 tonight. Still, his defense was solid in man-to-man situations and he looks to be a good complement to Michael Redd: while Sessions defends and passes, Redd shoots. Yep, you know Redd loves playing with Ramon. He also hit his first NBA three pointer en route to a career-high 11 points, though he also missed a couple chippies as well as a couple free throws in the fourth quarter--the last one after taking a two-handed flagrant foul to the face from Mike Dunleavy with the Bucks trailing by five with 17 seconds left.
- 21. The Pacers' inability to hang onto the ball was the main reason Indiana could never build a more commanding lead, as they turned it over 21 times, more often than not without all that much pressure from the Bucks. Jermaine O'Neal had a nice shooting game as he works his way back into shape, making 5/7, but inexplicably managed to cough it up six times in just 19 minutes. Dunleavy was the next biggest culprit, with five turnovers. While both teams shot 35 free throws, the Bucks had 14 more shot attempts thanks to being +5 in turnovers and +9 in offensive rebounds.
- +18. Despite all those extra shots, the Bucks made only three more field goals than the Pacers, but three point shooting decided the game. While the Bucks made only 2/10 from deep, Indiana hit 8/19, giving them an 18 point edge in that category. Dunleavy made four of six from deep, including a couple daggers in the fourth quarter as the Bucks were keeping the game close.
- 18:17. Mo Williams played fewer than 30 minutes for the fifth straight game, seeing only 18 minutes of action. While Krystkowiak's continued preference for Sessions is the main factor for the streak, foul trouble was also an issue tonight. Williams was never into it offensively, making just 1/5 fg, but he did manage four assists and no turnovers in his limited action. He also got fourth quarter burn for the first time in a week, coming in for the closing minutes. He seemed to be bringing a little more defensive intensity than usual (read: he was trying to D up but kept getting called for fouls), which I'll guess is his pride kicking in, and he also seemed more intent on creating for others. Is he looking over his shoulder a bit?
Jonny Mac. With the game not being carried by FSN Wisconsin, I saw only a couple short glimpses of Jon McGlocklin's halftime jersey rededication on the Indiana feed. But hats off to the Original Buck on his special night.
"I remember when I retired, I said, "I don't just play for the Milwaukee Bucks. I am a Milwaukee Buck.' I said that then, and it's been true for 40 years. It's so much of who I am. I'm a lot of ofther things in my life, but this is a big part of it."
- Krystkowiak's obSession. A couple weeks ago we were bemoaning Larry K's unwillingness to give Sessions a chance to play, but now he can't seem to get enough of his young point guard. Whether it's just basic logic or a way to put Mo Williams in his place, we're more than content to let the rookie show us what he's capable of.
- Brewers win! Sorry, but let's not fool ourselves--Milwaukee is infinitely more interested in the Brewers' opening day victory than in yet another meaningless Bucks game. Fortunately the Brewers are delivering the goods so far.
- Bo-ring!. Yep, we've reached the dog days of the season and both the Pacers and Bucks played like teams on the outside of the playoff race. All the turnovers and missed opportunities kept it close, but to say the game was exciting would be stretching it. If you missed out because you were expecting FSN Wisconsin to carry it, consider yourself lucky.
- Yi's done. Fortunately it's not a serious injury, but Yi Jianlian's sprained MCL will shelve him for the rest of the season. With only seven meaningless games left, the focus should clearly be on getting Yi ready for next season. And while the Olympics mean a busy summer for Yi, some rest now might be the best thing for him anyway.
- Marquis Daniels' hair. Seriously, what the hell's going on there? His head looks like a rotting pineapple or something.