Liveblog: Bucks vs. Timberwolves

I'm here in Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, so we might as well live blog the Bucks games against Minnesota, right?  At the moment the Nuggets and Lakers are playing the fourth quarter, but the Bucks will be up next at about 7:30 central.

Pre-Game

  • Minnesota guard Blake Ahearn's name is misspelled on the back of his jersey.  The greatest free throw shooter in NCAA history deserves more respect than that.
  • You know that Vince Carter dunk where he put his entire forearm into the rim?  Joe Alexander almost wedged his entire torso into the hoop during a warmup dunk.  He's breaking out the full arsenal of windmills, reverses and alley-oops right now.  Let's hope he finds his way into the dunk contest.
  • Matt Freije wins the Vegas Dirk Nowitzki look-alike contest.  Scrubby blond hair, shaggy facial hair and he wears the number 41.
  • Someone courtside is wearing a Michael Jordan #45 White Sox jersey.  Really?

1st Quarter

  • Darius Washington, Rod Wilmont, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Joe Alexander, and Olumide Oyedeji are starting.  Sessions warmed up but is not starting. (Edit: Sessions apparently had a minor injury, and may play tomorrow)
  • Darius Washington makes a technical free throw.  Yes, the Darius Washington whose two missed free throws lost Memphis a conference title game (and trip to the NCAA tourney) a few years ago.
  • I'm a big Kevin Love fan, but he's got a defensive three call, a foul, and a lane violation on the first possession.
  • Lots of tough jump shots right now for the Bucks--they're clearly missing Sessions.
  • Love throws down Oyedeji on one end and gets a layup, but the next trip for the Wolves Oyedeji returns the favor.  They exchange words, followed by another foul by Oyedeji in the post.
  • Alexander drives on Corey Brewer and misses a short jumper.  Oyedeji and Love get mixed up again going for the rebound and Love gets called for the foul this time. 
  • Alexander tries to drive on Brewer again but gets called for the charge.  Brewer should be a good challenge for Alexander since he's smaller and quicker than many of the guys he's faced so far in Vegas.
  • Alexander seals Brewer in the post, absorbs contact to draw the foul, but can't quite finish on the double pump.  He makes both free throws.
  • Brewer flies in for a huge alley-oop on the other end. 
  • Washington finds Freije for an open three, then fires crisp passes to Awvee Storey for acrobatic layups on the final two possessions.  Still, Minnesota is riding Kevin Love's 6 pts and 7 boards to a 19-14 lead after the first.

2nd Quarter

  • Trey Johnson, Storey, Matt Lojeski, Freije, and Aaron McGhee start the second.
  • A relatively rare sight: Freije puts it on the floor and good things happen as he hits a pull-up over a flopping Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
  • Bryce Taylor hits a couple threes and now has eight points in only a handful of minutes.  The Bucks had Taylor in for one of their pre-draft workouts but he went undrafted. 27-18, Minny.
  • Alexander gets it on the left block, fakes middle and then drop steps baseline for the layup and the foul.  Creative use of his elbow there, but he gets the call.  He misses an 18-footer from the top on his next trip.  29-21, Minny.
  • LRMaM gets it in the post and rolls it in over his former teammate at UCLA. 
  • Washington motors down and gets the and one , then gets a steal and layup to make it 31-28 Minnesota.  Washington now has 10 points and is generally looking much better than in his previous outings.
  • Alexander's huge block leads to a runout, Washington finding Luc for the easy two.  Defense creating offense?  What a novel thought.31-30 Minny with 3:40 to go in the half.
  • Freije hits a jumper over Love on one end, but Love responds with a beautiful step back 17-footer from the post. 33-32 Minny.
  • Alexander handles an airball and throws the outlet to Luc, who takes a handcheck and throws it down for the three-point play. Mbah a Moute now has 9 points and 4 boards.  35-33 Bucks.
  • Alexander drives on the bigger Chris Richard but his baseline jumper misses, taking him to 1/6 from the field.  Joe's got into the unfortunate habit of cold-shooting first halves. 
  • Washington's contributed 10 points and started running the offense more smoothly, while Freije's got his shot working (4/6 fg, 9 pts) and Mbah a Moute has been extremely active in racking up his 9/4.  37-35 Bucks at the half.

Third Quarter

  • Chris Richard and Matt Freije are having too much fun chatting as the ball gets brought up here to start the third.  I guess there's a fair bit of SEC camaraderie there?
  • Defensively Alexander's covering Love to start the quarter; not exactly a great matchup from a Bucks' perspective.  Alexander gets called for a defensive three second and then fouls Love on an alley-oop attempt.  He then makes up for it a bit by easily swatting Drew Neitzel's jumper. 40-39 Minny.
  • Joe hits a pair from the line following an out-of-bounds foul called on Drew Neitzel.  He then partially blocks Pops Mensah-Bonsu's jumper attempt but is called for tapping him on the wrist.  On the other end he misses an open pull-up from the baseline.  With the elevation he gets on his jumper, he doesn't have much excuse for being only 1/8 from the field.  44-41 Minny.
  • Alexander finds Oyedeji down low, but he has to earn two from the stripe (he misses one).  Nobody is talking defensively as much as Oyedeji, and he's usually the guy who's encouraging his teammates going into timeouts.
  • So far in the third Luc's clearly been the better rookie; he now has 13/8 on 6/10 shooting.  Nothing flashy, he just seems to always put himself in good positions on both ends.
  • Lojeski has curled off a couple screens for pretty jumpers this quarter.  He's now 3/3 with 7 points in 12 minutes.  And soon as I write that he dribbles the ball off his foot for a turnover. 52-50 Bucks.
  • Storey almost kills himself flying over the Minny bench for a loose ball.  Washington then gets an acrobatic layup and a triple to extend the Bucks' lead to 57-52 at the end of three.

Fourth Quarter

  • Former Marquette forward Dan Fitzgerald opens the fourth with a board and a mid-range jumper in his first action of the day.  57-54 Bucks.
  • Washington hits another jumper and then finds Aaron McGhee for an open 15-footer.  Washington has easily been the Bucks' best player with 19 (6/9 fg) and 5 assists. 62-54 Bucks.
  • Now Freije and Storey are laughing about something after a timeout.  Maybe Storey is giving him a hard time for not passing out a post double team earlier.  Freije hit the shot anyway and now has 12 points (5/9 fg).  66-55 Bucks.
  • Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a rookie. Alexander comes in and hits a mid-range jumper, but then allows Mensah-Bonsu to get past him in the post for a layup.  After a follow acting coach Kelvin Sampson yells, "Joe Alexander!  Come here!" 70-61 Bucks.
  • Freije finds Lojeski for a layup and a foul.  Even without Sessions and Alexander struggling, the Bucks' no-namers are getting the job done.  Lojeski then leaks out for a two-handed flush following some team solid defense.
  • Corey Brewer seems to dribble too much, but here he eventually finds Chris Richard for a flush.  Of course, the next time down the court Brewer doesn't dribble enough, getting the traveling call in transition.  75-63 Bucks.
  • Alexander drives on the smaller Neitzel but then gets called for a travel when he tries to allow a couple defenders to fly by on the shot fake. 
  • Neitzel hits a floater to make it 75-65, but Washington runs the PnR to perfection by getting Freije dunk.  Brewer gets a huge flush and now has 8 pts on 4/13 fg.  79-67 Bucks.
  • Washington makes a rare mistake when he walks it up and gets called for an 8-second call in the final 30 seconds.  Still, he was hands down the Bucks' best player with 19 points, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 turnovers in 37 minutes.  Final score: 81-67 Bucks.
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