A night after locking down the Bobs at the Bradley Center, the Bucks turned back the clock and looked positively defenseless in Charlotte as the Bobs waxed them 102-92. Not having Andrew Bogut (back spasms) didn't help, but the Bucks didn't do themselves any favors against one of the East's lesser lights--and one they had already beaten three times this season.
Luc Mbah a Moute was schooled by Boris Diaw early and often, as the Frenchman finished with 21 points (8/11 fg), six boards, and seven dimes. Meanwhile, Gerald Wallace looked clueless in the first half before going nuts in the second half, finishing with 24 points and making 6/8 to finish the game.
Richard Jefferson. Jefferson got the better of Gerald Wallace early and wasn't entirely to blame for GW's second half explosion, so with 19 points (6/12 fg) and seven boards RJ was almost by default the Bucks' best on the night.
Michael Redd. With Andrew Bogut out with back spasms, Redd carried the early load for a second straight night with 11 points in the opening quarter. Then again, Larry Brown's puzzling insistence on again having Matt Carroll defend Redd from the start made it a fairly straight-forward task. Thereafter Brown wised up, using the bigger Wallace for stretches and holding Redd to just six points in the final three quarters. To his credit, Redd wasn't really forcing the issue and he ended up with five assists in addition to three steals. But on a night when the Bucks were missing their Australian anchor they could have used another crazy scoring night from their leading scorer. Two such nights in a row is a tall order, but we can dream, right?
- Charlie Bell. No one else really stood out, so let's make note of the fact that Bell continues to refind his touch. He scored 11 (4/8 fg) including a four-point play late in the game.
50%. Easily the weirdest thing about this game was the fact that the Bucks made half their shots, a feat they seem to accomplish only once a month or so. So how'd they manage to lose? Well, they uncharacteristically couldn't adequately defend the Bobs either, allowing them to make 33/70 shots including 7/18 threes in addition to 29/33 from the stripe. The Bucks made just one more field goal (34/68) while making four fewer threes (3/11) and scoring eight fewer from the free throw line (21/29).
- 29-14. The Bucks trailed by as many as 21 points late in the game, before their usual never-say-die mentality whittled back down to 10 at the final horn. The big difference between the teams was opportunism: the Bob scored 29 points off the Bucks' 17 turnovers, while the Bucks managed just 14 points off the Bobs' 16 turnovers.
- 22. Wallace started 1/9 from the field but turned it on in the second half with nine in the third quarter and another 13 in the fourth. The Bucks trailed by nine at the half and, with Wallace starting to take over offensively, could never get closer than seven in the third. By the end of the third the lead had ballooned to 13 and the rout was on.
Three Two Good
Joe the Garbageman. Last night I pinpointed Joe Alexander for looking a bit jumpy during the final minutes of the Bucks' blowout win, so it's only fair that I point out that he channeled his energy more effectively tonight. Of course, it was pretty irrelevant given the game had been decided by the time he entered the game, but there's really nothing else good to take from this game. Bogut was hurt, the Bucks didn't play defense, and they lost to a bad team.
Joe scored eight (3/4 fg) in nine minutes, crashing the boards for his first bucket, then slashing to his left for a driving lefty layin past Adam Morrison (OK, not the toughest task). His final hoop came off a nice feed inside from Sessions.
- The Nets and Bulls lost, too. New Jersey lost in OT in Miami, while the T'Pups embarrassed the Bulls at home. Schadenfreude, yay!
Charlie's island. A night after CV's 27 point explosion, you kinda knew he was due for a bad game...that's just how these things seem to go. Still, you had to feel kinda bad for CV as he got manhandled by former UConn buddy Emeka Okafor a couple times late in the third quarter. Both times Villanueva was vainly trying to front the bigger Okafor, only for the Bobs to pass around and eventually find angles to feed Okafor for dunks. I really can't explain why Skiles would even bother trying that matchup--maybe he was letting Villanueva take his lumps for some reason or another, but the Bucks were only down 10 until that quick burst made it 16.
Things got even worse late in the game when CV collared Wallace with a hard foul after GW had ripped a rebound away from him. The call drew a flagrant, and to make matters worse Charlie then got called for fouling Wallace on a jumper on the same possession. His night mercifully came to an end when he collected his sixth foul minutes later.
- Boris vs. Luc. Mbah a Moute has made a name for himself frustrating the best of NBA vets, but Diaw caused him some trouble in Milwaukee and even more in Charlotte. Diaw began his night by bullying Mbah a Moute down low, before taking his game outside as the game wore on. Then when Mbah a Moute finally did a good job he couldn't seem to catch a break, as Violet Palmer bailed Diaw out on a desperation jumper late in the first quarter. Skiles was rightfully pissed and took a technical to protect his rookie. All told, Diaw made 8/11 from the field and generally packed the box score.
Point guard shuffle. Luke Ridnour made 5/9 shots but didn't tally a single assist while turning it over four times; he's been due for some bad games, and in fairness he wasn't torched by Felton or Augustin either. Still, it would have been nice to see Sessions get some burn before the game was out of reach. And why was Lue the primary ballhandler when both he and Sessions were on the court in the fourth? Though Sessions has had success playing off the ball with Ridnour at the point, Lue really can't effectively run an offense. He's only going to create shots for himself, so doesn't it make more sense to have Sessions run the show while Lue spots up for open looks?