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Blazers 117 Bucks 113: Recap

The Bucks and Blazers are similar on paper: young teams on an uphill battle to reach a winning record, led by a dynamic shooting guard and a versatile, young post player. They played similarly on the court for four quarters too, finishing tied at 105. However, the home team prevailed in the extra period as the Bucks fell to the Blazers 117-113.

With all the close games the Bucks won the first month of the year, they were due to drop a few in this fashion. But this game hurt, as the Bucks impressively battled back to lead against an in-form Blazers team that shot 56.3% from the field, 50 % on threes, and 90.3 % from the line.

Three Bucks:

  1. Mo Williams. Although he ran out of heroics late, his spirited play became infectious, helping to force overtime.
  1. Charlie Villanueva. With great effectiveness, he played around the rim, rather than around the perimeter.
  1. Andrew Bogut. He provided an efficient scoring touch on a night when Redd didn't.

Three Numbers:

  1. Field goals made by both the Bucks and Blazers. The Bucks attempted 21 more shots.
  1. Bucks' team blocks, courtesy of Jake Voskuhl.
  1. Yi Jianlian's minutes, half as many as substitute Charlie Villanueva.

Three Good:

  1. Williams played with the purpose and skill of an All-Star. His first shot, a lovely arcing fadeaway jumper, was a sign of things to come. Williams mixed darting drives into the lane with a potent outside jumper. He played at a different pace, even speeding things up on the defensive end, picking up four steals. It is too bad he didn’t convert at the end of regulation, but his 25 second-half points made overtime possible.
  1. Last time out, the Bucks got 41 points from Michael Redd and lost to the Sonics, one of the worst teams in the NBA. No one else on the Bucks scored more than 13 points in that game. They seemed to have that unsuccessful formula in mind against the Blazers, as each Bucks starter attempted a shot before Redd.  And the Bucks led 18-15 before Redd attempted his first shot, more than seven minutes into the game. When Redd finally scored, he put the Bucks up 27-24 on a corner three. Williams, clicking from outside, and Bogut, armed with his smooth lefty hook, combined to start 7-7 from the field.
  1. Villanueva attacked the basket early and often, notably not attempting a three pointer until less than two minutes were left in the game. Coming into Portland, Villanueva was shooting 29.8 % from outside, but amazingly had attempted a three in all but one game this year, the win over the Mavericks. Refreshingly, Villanueva hung around the perimeter sparingly tonight. The second quarter looked as though it was going to get away from the Bucks, but Villanueva provided an offensive spark, making all three of his shots from the field in the quarter. He converted because he got his points near the basket, including a dunk and a layup. Villanueva helped counter the Blazers’ key first half bench offensive contributions from James Jones, Channing Frye, and Travis Outlaw. The second half provided more of the same, with Villanueva getting out in transition for a dunk and-one immediately after reentering the game.

Three Not-So-Good:

  1. The ease with which Brandon Roy made a layup with the game on the line reminded of how the Hawks let Marko Jaric drive in for an uncontested layup with seconds remaining on Thursday. TNT had cut to the game, and the guys in the studio were all over the Hawks for allowing such a play. But while the Hawks got a game-winner from Joe Johnson at the buzzer, the Bucks came up empty.
  1. When a guy is as ridiculously hot from outside as James Jones, it is imperative to mark him. Jones had made 11-14 from downtown in his last three coming into this game. So it is no wonder he made three more from outside tonight when left open.
  1. We are now accustomed to the new Bogut, who is not only a monster on the boards, but contests and blocks shots. So for him to wait until their were under three minutes left in regulation to pull down his first defensive rebound was pretty astounding. He also didn’t block a shot. The Blazers were in a shooting groove tonight. Even Steve Blake had a difficult time missing shots, so they were destined to score points. And the Blazers did most of it from outside, but Bogut certainly didn’t put his defensive stamp on the game like he has so frequently this season.