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Bucks 87, Clippers 78: Recap

What to do when you've lost four in a row? Find a team that's lost five in a row. The four game losing streak is history as the Bucks dealt the wounded Clippers their sixth straight loss 87-78 (recap). Yes, you can pinch yourself. Alex's recap here. Knee-jerk reactions:

  • Feels good, doesn't it? Well, let's be realistic, the Bucks faced an extremely banged up team that had Dan Dickau as their point guard down the stretch. Sam Cassell and Al Thornton were unavailable while Corey Maggette missed much of the fourth with a sore hammy. Overall the Clips went ice cold in the second half, making only nine field goals. But hey, the Bucks also forced plenty of tough shots en route to holding the Clips to 29 second half points, so give the Bucks some credit too.
  • Larry Krystkowiak finally shortened his bench, playing only nine guys as opposed to the ten or eleven we've seen recently. Royal Ivey and Dan Gadzuric were the odd men out, though the Bucks again got poor shooting by Simmons, Villanueva and Bell (5/19). I think it's a move that had to be made, as there have been simply too many different combinations playing together for guys to get settled. They didn't do that tonight, but Bell was at least a +8 in spite of his continued shooting woes and Andrew Bogut got close to 40 minutes. Ivey has outplayed Bell this year, but it seems like LK has been a little hesitant to use Ivey as a PG with no other ballhandler on the court.
  • Player of the game is a toss-up between Mike Redd and Bogut, but I gotta go with the big fella. He was again a force inside, scoring 19 on 8/10 fg and pulling down 12 rebounds to help the Bucks absolutely dominate the glass 46-28. Bogut again protected the rim as well, blocking four shots and finishing second to Yi with a +12.
  • More importantly, Bogut outplayed Kaman, the Clips' hottest player who came in averaging a fierce 19/14. Kaman wasn't bad--13 pts (6/14 fg), 11 rebs, and six blocks, but he never really got going offensively. The Bucks tried hard doubles on him early, using Yi's length to try to force turnovers, but Kaman beat the Bucks a couple times with good passes. The Bucks then started to play him smarter, yo-yoing their perimeter defenders on him and giving him some different looks.
  • As per usual the Bucks came out a little flat and the banged up Clips took advantage by jumping out to a lead that the Bucks were fortunate to only trail 26-18 after the first. Like we've seen all too often during the losing streak, the bench again couldn't get in any rhythm early in the second and it all looked to be falling apart as the Clips took a 13 point lead into the half.
  • A quick Kaman hoop put the Clips ahead 51-36 early in the third, but credit to Mike Redd for being the stabilizing force. He got a couple hoops and made four free throws to help the Bucks chip away at the lead. Bogut was again the man on the glass and in the lane, swatting a pair of shots and helping the Bucks build their huge lead on the glass. By the end of the quarter the Bucks had gone on a 28-13 run and evened the score at 64. It was a game the Bucks should win, but given how they had been playing you have to tip your cap to the way the Bucks kept fighting in spite of their cold spell in the first half.
  • I was worried the Bucks might suffer a letdown with a number of starters on the bench early in the fourth, but the Clips stayed cold and the Bucks hung in until reinforcements could arrive. The Clips went down 72-67 on a pair of Bogut layups midway through the quarter, before Tim Thomas finally connected on a three to give them the lead 74-73. But the Bucks went right back down, going to Bogut on the right block--great to see the Bucks showing confidence in him late. Sensing a double, Bogut found Villanueva wide open cross court on the left wing, which would have been nice enough, but the best part was yet to come, as CV quickly swing it left to Redd for a wide open corner three to put the Bucks back up in front 76-74. Play of the game in my book. Redd then used a CV screen to get himself a layup to extend the lead to four.
  • Redd got the majority of shots late, but the Bucks did well getting him good looks in the flow of the offense against a very good defender in Quinton Ross. The only shot that was even slightly forced was Redd's step-back three to give the Bucks an 83-78 lead, but even that one wasn't off balance. That was effectively the dagger, as the Clips wouldn't score another point. Redd finished with 25 on 8/15 fg along with eight rebounds. He took over exactly when he needed to and didn't have to put on his superman cape to do it.
  • Mo Williams couldn't find his shot for a change (3/14 fg) but he did everything else right, tallying nine assists, no turnovers (!), and seven rebounds. He's bound to get a triple double at some point.
  • There was no revenge for Ruben Patterson, as he played only three minutes and didn't take a shot.
  • Corey Maggette, playing with a sore hamstring, missed a large portion of the fourth but came back in with 1:40 left. He promptly drove on Bogut, who even with all his shot-blocking can still take timely charges.