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Nets 97, Bucks 95: Recap

Another close game against a mediocre team, and another close loss for the Bucks, as they fell 97-95 to the Nets Saturday at the BC (video / recap). Knee-jerk reactions:

  • Look at the game flow and you can see there really weren't any huge runs. We know the Bucks don't have the shot-making or defensive screw-turning ability to run a team off the court, so it's probably not surprising that the Nets hung around on a second night of back-to-backs. And like has been the case so many times of late, the Bucks didn't make plays in the closing minutes while their opponents did.
  • Look at the final three minutes and you'll see a fairly typical Bucks game. The Bucks can't score, the opponents can. Tonight the Bucks' task was complicated by Mo Williams' foul out with 2:03 left, leaving the offense in the shaky hands of Charlie Bell and Royal Ivey. After Yi hit a jumper to make the lead 86-83 with 2:54 left:
    • Carter hit an open jumper
    • Ivey had his layup blocked off a backdoor play
    • Kidd hit a three after the Net got an offensive rebound
    • Yi hit a jumper to tie it
    • Carter worked his way down low and made a reverse layup
    • Redd was called for an offensive foul
    • Malik Allen stuck an open jumper with 15 seconds left to give the Nets a four point lead.
  • The Bucks got big scoring nights from Mike Redd and Mo Williams (59 points on 20/35 fg) but there was just very little help beyond that. Yi was the only other guy who stepped up offensively, hitting a couple big jumpers in the fourth and finishing with 12/9 and two blocks.
  • The Bucks did a nice job putting Bogut in good spots on Friday (15/11), but against the Nets he missed some chipshots early and was again an offensive non-factor down low, spending the vast majority of his time triggering the offense 20 feet from the hoop in the fourth quarter. He's still defending and doing other stuff (nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks) but it's pretty frustrating to see him so deferential offensively. Still unable to hit a jump shot or make free throws, Bogut's got very little to keep the defense honest. I like that the Bucks usually run some plays for him early in the first and third quarters to get him free around the basket, but otherwise he's not much of a threat.
  • Bobby Simmons and Charlie Bell continue to battle for the title of most ineffective player in the league. Bell was 0/3 from the field but did contribute three assists and no turnovers. Still, there's a palpable sense that Bell is not only afraid to shoot, but afraid of how badly he'll miss when he does. It's painful to watch. Yes, Bell works defensively, but offensively his shooting is setting new standards for futility. In November he shot a shocking .275 from the field, which he seems almost unrepeatable for an NBA player who had been a reliable shooter in his two previous seasons. But he's actually been even worse in December, shooting .260 this month including .147 from deep.
  • Simmons meanwhile was 1/4 from the field in 21 minutes, his only bucket coming on a tip-in. In previous years, the Bucks could at least count on trying to outscore opponents, but this year the offensive disappearance of Simmons and Bell has killed the Bucks, especially with Bogut unable to improve offensively. Krystkowiak talked the other day of simplifying the offense, and the Bucks did only turn the ball over 10 times, which helped them stay in the game despite allowing the Nets to shoot 50% (while turning it over 17 times themselves). But the Mike and Mo show just wasn't enough, as the bench players were all in the negative +/- range--as was Redd.
  • Watching Jason Kidd score 17 along with 15 assists and a clutch three late, I couldn't help but be amazed at what he's done over the years. He basically willed the Nets into the Finals twice, but he's never quite had the talent around him to get it done. Obviously the Lakers' decision to hang on to Andrew Bynum looks pretty smart at this point, but as a basketball fan I would have loved to see what Kidd could have done with Kobe and Odom.