Nervy shootouts against mediocre teams isn't exactly how Scott Skiles wants his team to win games this year, but sometimes he's just going to have to take the good enough along with the good.
On paper, the Bucks and Hornets both entered Saturday's game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center having relied primarily on their defense in the season's opening two weeks, but evidently that message didn't get through to the guys on the court. Both teams scored season highs, with the Bucks narrowly pulling out their third straight win thanks to nearly identical, brilliant lines from Brandon Jennings (8/16 fg, 4/7 threes, 22 pts, 9 ast, 4 stl, 1 to) and Monta Ellis (8/16 fg, 22 pts, 9 ast, 0 to) and another excellent performance from Mike Dunleavy (17 pts, 9 rebs, 5 ast, 0 to).
Ellis struggled with his shot (and shot selection) early but kept the Bucks in it with his playmaking, with five of his seven first half assists leading to dunks or layups. Monta's playmaking certainly helped Sam Dalembert (15 points, 8 rebs, 6/10 fg) and Ersan Ilyasova (5/10 fg, 10 pts, 6 rebs) look good, while Dunleavy (14 first half points) and Jennings (11 points in each half) were also major factors as the Bucks took a 60-58 lead into halftime. But the Bucks couldn't stop the Hornets' P&R game and could only watch as New Orleans connected on 66% of its shots in the first two quarters, with Milwaukee's narrow lead owing primarily to rebounding (12-1 offensive rebound advantage in the half) and turnovers (10-5).
Ellis led the way in the second half with 20 of his 22 after intermission, repeatedly attacking and finishing in highlight fashion, and the Bucks looked on the verge of putting the game away on a pair of occasions in the fourth quarter. But first overall pick Anthony Davis was unstoppable in the basket area and scored 10 of his career-high 28 points in the final stanza, including back-to-back three point plays that trimmed a 110-102 Bucks lead to just 110-108 with 2:01 remaining.
Thankfully, Ellis answered with difficult jumpers on both occasions (note: I was shaking my head on both occasions), and Larry Sanders made the defensive play of the game with 18 seconds remaining, cleanly stuffing Ryan Anderson at the rim to preserve a 114-110 advantage.
|Final - 11.17.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|New Orleans Hornets||27||31||33||22||113|