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Bobs 102, Bucks 99: Recap

The Bobs couldn't hit a free throw (22-43), but the Bucks gave them enough opportunities (43-14 FTA differential) and mismanaged the game enough to hand the Bobs a 102-99 win in Charlotte's home opener (box score). My knee-jerk reactions:

  • After the preseason I don't think I would have pictured myself saying this so soon: I felt better with Charlie Bell handling the ball down the stretch than Mo Williams. Some atrocious decision making down the stretch by Williams, with a charge, a turnover, and then a complete misread of the game clock in the waning seconds. With the Bucks down three and 7 seconds left, Mo dribbled around a screen at the top and went for a layup with less than a second left. Sorry Mo, no time to foul, and the Bucks didn't have any timeouts left anyway.  
  • Bell did a commendable job (8 pts, 5 assists, 0 TOs) for most of the fourth, suggesting that he may be over the mopeyness of camp. Meanwhile, Mo followed up his 1 assist, 0 TO game in Orlando with 4 assists and a painful 6 turnovers.  All that overshadowed a 10/18 fg, 20 point shooting night. It's still early, but you'd forgive Bucks fans if right now they wouldn't trust Mo with a paper route, much less the running of an NBA team with a $60+ million payroll. For the game Bell led the Bucks with a +7, while Mo was the worst with a -8.
  • I will say this though: am I crazy or did Mo and Redd defend pretty well for three quarters? In the fourth no one seemed capable of forcing the Bobs into a bad shot without fouling, but defensive effort level was OK. Now the results need to change.
  • Mo's decision-making overshadowed some sketchy timeout usage by Krystkowiak. The Bucks used their last timeout (a 20) with 26 seconds left to get scorers in the game following free throws. They burned their last regular TO with a minute left after bringing Voskuhl in to rebound on some Bobs' free throws. Had Williams gotten his last layup with more than a second left the Bucks wouldn't have had a shot at fouling and then advancing the ball with a TO for a final look.
  • I'm not sure who must have been more frustrated down the stretch: Bobcat fans watching their team try to give away the game by missing free throws, or Bucks fans watching as their team was unable to defend without hacking down the stretch.  Even when the Bobs did miss it seemed they got to every loose ball, meaning the Bucks best defense down the stretch was watching the Bobs miss from the line.
  • The Bucks just didn't have answer for Gerald Wallace, who was doing his best Shawn Marion impression with 22 pts, 10 rebs, 4 steals, and 4 assists. He did have 5 TOs, but in general he looked like that kid in the school yard who's just bigger and more athletic than everyone else.
  • Ray Felton also came up big late, making a living at the line (26 pts, 11/15 ft) while also dishing out 12 assists.
  • Bogut bounced back well from the Orlando loss: 11 points, 17 rebounds, and a career-high 5 blocks before fouling out with a few minutes left. I had the sinking feeling when he sat down that the Bucks would be done. Even though Bogut wasn't scoring that much he was more involved in the first half, and in the third he really asserted himself, aggressively looking for shots down low. As Paschke noted during the broadcast, it's not simply getting him shots, but just getting him touches. Much of Bogut's problem is that he doesn't always work for position on the block; he gets sealed and then circles back out. Especially with his added weight he should be getting to good spots. When he gets the ball too far from the hoop he often doesn't have a good idea of how to get a shot, as his mid-range game still isn't there. Defensively, huge credit to Bogut tonight--a career-high 5 blocks speak for themselves, plus 17 rebounds.  
  • In general CV was much better than in Orlando (14 points, 7 rebounds).  He had some aggressive drives to the hoop, and a couple key threes to keep the Bucks close. He also had one of the game's lowlights: his lazy pass got picked off for a breakaway by Wallace, as Villanueva continued to run into the lane, seemingly oblivious to what had happened until Wallace was putting it down on the other end.  
  • Here's a reason to be concerned: the Bucks' best post option was Desmond Mason shooting 15-foot hook shots.  Nice effort by Desmond with 12/6.