One step forward, one step back. After a nice come from behind win against the Raps on Monday, the Bucks were once again Bogut-less but this time the defense couldn't hold up its ends of the bargain, as the Sixers won the final quarter 31-20 en route to a 110-105 win. Andre Miller delivered all night with 28 points, nine assists and six boards, none bigger than the three-pointer he hit with 28 seconds remaining that gave the Sixers a 107-103 edge that proved too much for the Bucks to overcome.
- Charlie Villanueva. Two days after CV's 25-point effort against Toronto, you could have reasonably expected an anonymous night from the Bucks' sixth man, but instead he offered another fast start with 20 first half points that helped the Bucks to a four-point halftime edge. It was just one of those nights, as CV stroked three for three from deep in the half and just couldn't seem to do anything wrong. Unfortunately he wasn't the same factor in the second and added just six points to finish with 26 on an excellent 9/15 fg to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
Richard Jefferson. Jefferson's usually the forgotten man among the Bucks' big names but he bounced back from perhaps his worst game as a Buck with a team-high 27 points (10-19 fg) to go with five boards.
Michael Redd. Like Villanueva, Redd had a fast start and quiet finish, scoring 16 first half points, while adding just four thereafter. He did do other things, though, dishing out seven assists to go with four boards and just one TO. He also had a good look at Miller's game-clincher, which he nailed in Redd's grill.
- 8/15. The Sixers normally don't shoot many threes or shoot them well, but they had plenty of daggers tonight, connecting on 53.3% of their attempts. Even Royal Ivey hit 3/4 tonight...now that is annoying.
- .515. You know the Bucks have made progress when surrendering 50% or better shooting is a big deal, but that likely didn't soothe Scott Skiles' nerves after the game. As Jon McGlocklin pointed out late in the game, the Sixers just always seem to give the Bucks matchup problems.
- 29. The Bucks were in a sharing mood all night, tallying 29 assists. It was a team effort as well, with six players tallying three or more assists and no one having more than Redd's seven.
- CV. With Bogut out the Bucks' margin for error on both ends gets a fair bit thinner, making CV's contributions all the more crucial. It's always been a matter of consistency for Charlie, and he deserves credit for putting together a couple big games in a row.
Sessions. Ridnour hit another big three late, but I liked what I saw from Sessions in 19 minutes off the bench: seven points, four dimes, three boards. This is now two games in a row where Sessions has gotten an opportunity to play and has impressed, so hopefully we'll continue to see him getting burn. Given Skiles' substitution patterns, I'm not holding my breath.
- Under Philly's thumb. The Bucks have no dropped both games against Philly this season--and both were games the Bucks led going into the fourth. Those kinds of losses could haunt them later in the season considering that Philly (15-20) is one of the teams gunning for the eight playoff spot currently held by the Bucks (17-20).
- Holding the line. The Bucks entered the game with the league's fifith ranked defense, so surrendering 110 points at home to a team below them in the standings isn't acceptable. The Sixers got uncharacteristically hot from deep as well, but this was a game the Bucks needed to take.
- Prince. Mbah a Moute never really got into the game, making 1/6 fg in just 14 minutes. Villanueva rightly got most of the burn tonight, but given Luc's defensive versatility he should still be able to make a contribution even if CV is getting most of the PF minutes.