Charles Gardner has a nice piece on Bogut getting it all together against the Grizz. The biggest compliment I can pay Bogut at the moment is that I've become confident in his ability to defend the league's top big men. Sure, he's not a shutdown guy and will still get into foul trouble occasionally, but he's come a long way on the defensive end. If he can be consistently active on the offensive end like he was tonight then he'll be just fine.
"I stayed on the court tonight," Bogut said. "I played pretty bad the last couple games, and I was on the bench (with fouls) with 7 minutes left in the first quarter of both games. This game I concentrated on not getting early fouls, and I didn't.
"It makes a big difference for anybody. You get in the rhythm of the game. You get three fouls and sit down, come back in the second half, and it's a completely different ball game."
- No one would have confused the Bucks' offense last night for a juggernaut, but they still managed to top the century mark in spite of some rough shooting in the first half. And whenever Mo, Bogut and Redd contribute as effectively in the same game there's little excuse not to come up with a win. Tom Enlund writes that things appear to be slowly coming together, and that showed in the game's closing seconds.
"Coach was asking for a timeout at the same time I was calling the play," said Williams. "He looked at me and said, 'Hey, go ahead.' Calling timeout in that situation kind of gives them time to sit back and concentrate on defending us. Des has worked on that shot every day in practice. I was confident."
Said Mason, "If I'm open and they pass to me and have the confidence in me to make a play, I'm going to try and make a play. One dribble and a pull-up . . . I shoot tons of them in practice."
Of course, if Mason misses the shot then it would have been easy to second guess: why have Mason taking a jump shot at the end of the game with Redd and Mo on the court? Desmond has been playing well and it was a good look, but let's just be happy it went in.
- ESPN's David Thorpe writes in today's Daily Dime that Yi Jianlian is his current pick for Rookie of the Year. Up until now most of the rookie rankings have simply ceded the ROY to Durant and his volume scoring, so it's interesting to now see Yi and Al Horford getting more love. At this point it's hard to see anyone outside those three taking the honors, but my gut tells me that voters will have a hard time ignoring Durant's 20+ ppg when all is said and done.
What I love about Yi's offensive game is his versatility and mental acuity. In a series of plays, we will see him post up and back his guy down, face up in the midpost, slash to an opening inside, go glass, and play off the ball beautifully. And he does all of it with passion and purpose.
His agility for a guy his size is impressive, as is his "smoothness" as an athlete, but he also has a fire around the rim (averaging 6.9 boards per game) that will serve him well for years. That fire helps him on defense, too, where he has blocked at least one shot in all but two games so far, with multiple blocks in four. Watching him play leaves me wondering: What kind of numbers would he be putting up if he were playing in Seattle? He's averaging 11 ppg in Milwaukee.
Rob Peterson at NBA.com blogs about mouthguards, including Andrew Bogut's. Rob did some detective work on how the Bucks deal with the big Aussie's moutguard after noticing something during the Rockets' game:
Then, on Saturday, moments after he left the Bucks-Rockets game with less than a minute remaining, Milwaukee center Andre Bogut hit the pine, opened in his mouth and plucked out his mouth guard. Along came a gentleman in a green Bucks polo, carrying a plastic container. He flipped it open, Bogut placed his mouth guard in the container and the gentleman closed the container and walked away.
Now, that was classy.
"Wow! Bogut has his own mouth guard valet," I thought. The only thing missing from the scene was a clean white towel draped over the gentleman's arm and maybe a glass of a nice Australian Shiraz, a Thorn-Clarke, 2006."
- One thing worth noting: after talking earlier this week about spreading the minutes out a little more effectively, LK still gave a ton of minutes to Redd (42), Mo (39) and Bogut (41). In some ways it was key since the Bucks' starters made a run on the Grizz second unit at the end of the third/beginning of the fourth, but the visitors then got a lot of it back when Redd went to the bench. Simmons and Villanueva especially need to be utilized more extensively, though in fairness they also have simply not been as good as the guys they lost their starting jobs to.