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Kings 102, Bucks 89: Recap

Sorry Milwaukee, you've officially been Beno'ed. If the loss in Cleveland was the most gut-wrenching loss of the season, you can categorize the Bucks' 102-89 loss to the Kings as among the most lackluster, as Beno Udrih scored 24 (9/13 fg, 6/7 3fg) including some huge threes late to seal it  (recap / video).   I had the misfortune of seeing it live, so I don't have notes, but here are my knee-jerk reactions:

  • The game wasn't on FSN Wisconsin, so give the FSN crew credit for picking a good game to miss. Not a good crowd, not a good effort, just not a very good game.
  • The Kings came out and made their first seven shots but the Bucks hung on and closed the gap to 28-26 at the end of the first with a 10-2 run. They then took a one point lead into the half but no one found the accelerator in the second half before the Kings used one run late to put it away. As good as the Bucks' home record is (now 8-3), there's just never a sense that they can turn it on and run you out of the building. Even when they've won, mostly they just hang around and beat you by five points or so. Tonight it was similar, they just couldn't get a real lead and play from the front (as Jonny Mac might say). Finally the Kings hit a couple shots and it was curtains.
  • Trailing by three with 7:33 left, Redd scored 10 straight for the Bucks, tying it at 85 with just under five minutes left. But then Artest hit a wide-open three and on the ensuing possession Redd got a severe case of the dribbles, holding onto the ball with a double coming and then losing it  near halfcourt while trying to dribble out of it. The Kings had numbers and 'Cisco Garcia (who did the Bucks a number of favors by missing every open look he had) laid it in for a five point lead. Redd then turned it over again trying to make a play down low and Udrih hit a three from the wing to ice the game 93-85 with just over three minutes left.
  • Redd (7/14 fg, 5/8 3fg, 8/11 ft) and Mo (8/16 fg, 1/4 3fg) both shot well from the field, but nine turnovers and some very poor defense negated that pretty quickly. Udrih and Salmons were getting into the lane at will early on, and it took Bogut and Yi's shot-blocking to keep them somewhat honest. Perhaps that wasn't a good thing, as Udrih's outside shot then sealed the game late.
  • Look at the fourth quarter play-by-play and you'll see why the fans that did see the game came away bitter with how things ended. After Redd tied the game at 85, here's how the Bucks used their remaining possessions: Redd TO, Redd TO, Williams missed 3, Williams made 2, Redd two FTs, Williams missed 2, Williams missed 3, Redd misses 3 FTs (!), Bell missed 3, Williams missed 3. Believe it or not, the Bucks did actually have five players on the court the entire time, but as we've seen so often, the guards get so focused on being the ones to take big shots that everyone else gets forgotten.
  • For the first time in a week or so Bogut showed some real signs of life on both ends (6/10 fg, 12 pts, 11 rebs, five blocks, four asssists) so naturally he shots in the fourth. It was too bad because he did some nice things offensively in the middle quarters and his help defense erased a number of defensive mistakes on the perimeter.
  • With Charlie Villanueva out with the ankle inury he sustained in practice yesterday, Yi Jianlian was in line for major minutes but he couldn't find his shot, starting 0/7 from the field. Finally toward the end of the third he got a dunk and then had a follow-slam on the next possession. He attacked the hoop once to begin the fourth, missing a tough lefty shot, but then didn't get another shot the rest of the game (sound familiar?). Even with his shot off he contributed in other ways, pulling down 12 rebounds and had three blocks, including consecutive blocks on Artest at the rim late in the third. Fittingly however, he pulled down the rebound only to be stripped and have Artest lay it in uncontested. Seriously Yi, strengthen those hands.
  • Desmond Mason didn't play in the second half, so given LK has had the same lineup in every game and I can't recall him not using his starters at the outset of the third, I figured he might have picked up an injury. Mason didn't seem capable of guarding Artest, so perhaps that was also part of it. It looked like LK might keep Williams on the pine all fourth quarter before bringing him back with just under 6 minutes left. The Bucks were outscored 19-9 the rest of the way. Let's keep an eye on all this because LK seems like he could go ballistic at some point with the way they've played in fourth quarters.
  • Packer clipboard technician Aaron Rodgers was shown on the jumobtron with a lovely young lady in the fourth quarter, nodding shyly when he was shown. Bucks MC Rahny Taylor explained on the WSSP postgame show that he asked Rodgers if they could do something on the scoreboard where Taylor would just wish him luck this weekend or whatever (as they did with Charles Woodson against Dallas last month), but Rodgers refused. To add insult to injury, the fans in the section then booed Taylor for bothering Rodgers. We feel for you, Rahny.
  • On a more positive note, Marquette guard Dominic James was in my section and was signing a ton of autographs as people were leaving. I guess I'm too old and jaded to see the point in getting an autograph from Dominic James, but it's nice to see kids excited to see an athlete and for the athlete to be cool about it.