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Kings 96 Bucks 93: Recap

The loss to the Warriors was the most thorough and started the losing streak, but the last three are much more difficult to digest. While the Warriors simply ran the Bucks off the court, the losses that followed were all within reach before some slipshod play down the stretch. The Kings defeated the Bucks 96-93 on Monday night thanks to a 30-19 fourth quarter.

Three Bucks:

  1. Michael Redd. He'll hit one of those last second shots soon enough.
  1. Charlie Villanueva. He's stepping up as a pretty strong sixth man.
  1. Mo Williams. Pushed the ball at mostly the right times and hit both threes, but he must make better decisions in crunch time.

Three Numbers:

  1. Bucks' blocks, for the second night in a row. Ron Artest had four of the Kings' eight total blocks.
  1. Mo Williams' second half assists.
  1. Field goals made by the Kings and Bucks. The Bucks attempted six more shots.

Three Good:

  1. Even on a night when Salmons, Garcia, and Udrih were on fire from outside for the Kings, the Bucks fared better from long range. More amazing yet, Bell, Williams, Ivey, and Villanueva combined to shoot an accurate 5-7 from outside.
  1. Typically, Ivey comes in and does a nice job of pestering the opposing team’s guards. His defense doesn’t slump, making him a valuable contributor. Once or twice a month, he’ll take everyone by surprise, and discover his jumpshot. In the midst of the Bucks’ mid-November winning streak, he blew up against the Cavaliers, scoring 15 points on 6-7 shooting. He waited a few weeks, but Ivey found his form again tonight, popping in seven first half points, good for second on the Bucks. Ivey's offensive jolt was particularly timely with Bobby Simmons still out. Bell added a quick seven-point spurt of his own, as the backup point guards shot atypically well from the field.
  1. Yi started very strongly, calling for the ball and posting up Moore before hitting a nice jumper. He started 3-3 from the field, and was active on the boards and set a few solid screens. He's a starter, so we expect more than one good quarter per game from him, but he's also still a rookie.

Three Not-So-Good:

  1. Williams racked up eight assists in the first half alone, but saved his poorest pass for the most crucial time, telegraphing a long bounce pass to Bogut on the second to last possession in regulation. In a tight game down the wire, this play stood out as the most decisive and deflating.
  1. Redd's improved passing and Bogut's emergence as a shotblocker are two of the most positive themes early in the year. Redd led all scorers with 24 points, but didn't dish out an assist. Meanwhile, for the second consecutive night, Bogut didn't block a shot. The multi-dimensionality of these two stars must resurface for the Bucks to start winning close games again.
  1. The Bucks took excellent care of the ball for most of the game. Williams, Ivey, and Bell all played important roles. But the Kings' 12-0 fourth quarter run was the product of a two-minute span of ultimately sloppy play. The Kings aren't a great defensive team, but with Artest leading the way, they predictably create turnovers, coming into the game ranking 7th in the NBA in steals. For a while the Bucks managed a controlled game, and led as a result. But on the road it doesn't take much to lose momentum fast, and the fourth quarter proved that in a hurry.