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Bucks 111 Cavaliers 107: Recap

The Bucks won on the road and we've got a link to prove it (video).  Oh, and it was after being down big against the defending Eastern Conference champs.  There was no shortage of memorable moments, from Andrew Bogut's fourth quarter stuff of Sasha Pavlovic to Charlie Villanueva's bank three-pointer.  Down 22-8 early, it looked like a continuation of the road woes but turned out to hopefully be the start of a new trend: success away from home.  

Three Bucks:

  1. Michael Redd.  More details later.  Delivered a real star performance, scoring 34 points on 15 shots from the field.
  1. Mo Williams.  Continues to impress and yes, live up to that big contract.  $52 million?  Fine with me.
  1. Royal Ivey.  He did come into the game averaging less 1.7 points, right?  How about this for efficiency: 15 points in 15 minutes on 7 shots from the field.

Three Numbers:

  1. Team blocks, including four from suddenly block-happy Andrew Bogut.

Zero. Number of turnovers committed by point guards Mo Williams and Royal Ivey.  An incredible stat, especially since they combined for 11 assists.

  1. Offensive rebounds against one of the top rebounding teams in the league.

Three Good:

  1. Redd’s crossover was killin’ tonight.  He made Pavlovic look like he wished he was still holding out with Anderson Verajao in the first quarter and kept adding victims like Gibson throughout the second half.  But that’s not all. The pregame notes mentioned Redd hadn’t made a three on the road, so it was no surprise that he snapped out of that funk.  And his big all around game was right on cue after commenting on his improved versatility.  There wasn’t much he didn’t do tonight.  He made some great passes, accumulating five assists.  He got to the line an incredible 20 times compared to 25 attempts for the entire Cavaliers team. He also pulled down seven  rebounds and had three steals and two blocks.  The scintillating third quarter truly propelled the Bucks to victory. He didn’t have a big fourth quarter, but did more than enough in the preceding three to make up for it.
  1. Daniel Gibson wreaked havoc against the Bucks, but he wasn’t the only point guard who played college ball at Texas to make a big impression.  Royal Ivey played very well defensively, but that’s no surprise.  His 11 first half points were a huge surprise, and kept the Bucks within striking distance in the process.  He was rewarded with some fourth quarter minutes, and picked up right where he left off.  Point guard play overall was nothing short of excellent.  It wasn’t Charlie Bell’s finest night, but Mo Williams directed the offense with precision.  
  1. There are more than three good things to address.  But I'm going to use this space to give Villanueva some love.  He's taken a ton of criticism in the last couple months, but continued his recent stellar play tonight.  I argued repeatedly that he should start over Yi.  While I can't argue with Coach Krystkowiak's choice to start Yi, the debate over who is better definitely isn't over.

Three Not-So-Good:

  1. Okay, in a close game against a division rival on their floor, you can’t afford to give away points.  Usually anyway.  So drawing up a play with 4.8 seconds to go in the first half in which the ball is thrown all the way down court into a group of seemingly unsuspecting players from both teams can’t be a good thing.  The Cavaliers stole the ball and almost scored.  Yi Jianlian’s lane violation was not a huge deal but it kind of hurts when the free throw goes down.  And Mo Williams’ technical of course also gave a point away.  The Bucks only have two technicals so far this year, both courtesy of Williams.  Let's try to keep those to a minimum.
  1. Going into Cleveland and allowing 31 first quarter points despite a relatively quiet start by LeBron James is asking for trouble.  Some of it was good shooting by the Cavaliers, but more of it was bad defense by the Bucks.  Zydrunas Ilgauskas established himself early with a couple baskets that the "extreme fan of the game," a face-painted pigtailed little girl, could have converted on.  There really just wasn’t much of anything going on defensively early on, as the wide open spaces in the lane proved.  Gibson dribbled in for a layup without much resistance, and the Bucks kept leaving him open after hitting his first three from outside.  His bombs shouldn’t have come as a surprise, considering he came into the game shooting .545 on threes. He scored 14 first-half points on eight shots with only one turnover and finished with 26 points overall.  It worked out this time, and was a lot of fun, but playing from behind on the road is no recipe for success.
  1. Desmond Mason had a pretty fat Tuesday two weeks ago, and tried to get it going again on this Tuesday night, firing five first quarter shots.  But he finished with just six points in 24 minutes.  Charlie Bell and Yi Jianlian were pretty quiet too, but it’s definitely nitpicking to expect everyone to have a good game on the same night.