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Bucks 87 Hawks 80: Recap

The Bucks starting center may have found some basketball gold on his recent trip west. Andrew Bogut carried the Bucks to an 87-80 win over the Hawks, posting his third consecutive 20+ point, 10+ rebound game. Bogut had two such games this season prior to this streak.

Three Bucks

  • Andrew Bogut. Bogut confirmed our suspicion that if he played his 82-game schedule against only the Hawks, he'd be an All-Star shoo-in. He led the Bucks with 21 points and put the Hawks away down the stretch. And while you wouldn't mistake him for Josh Smith, he kept things interesting with a few monster swats on the defensive end, finishing with four blocks.
  • Royal Ivey. Normally when someone shoots 4-13 from the field, 1-4 from the line, turns the ball over five times, gets four of his shots blocked, and commits four fouls, it's not a wonderful game. When Ivey scores nine points, grabs eight rebounds, and dishes out six assists filling in as a last-minute starting point guard, it's pretty wonderful.
  • Michael Redd. Redd was cold from outside, making 1-6 on three pointers, but contributed in other ways. No one played more than his 43 minutes, and no one had a better +/- than Redd's +11.

Three Numbers

  • 3. As in, number of assists and fouls by Awvee Storey in five minutes of playing time. Hey, Storey hasn't had many BrewHoop mentions, and he was pretty busy in limited action, even throwing a basketball at the side of the backboard at one point.
  • 7. With Mo Williams suffering from a stomach flue, the Bucks turned to Royal Ivey to start at point guard. Ivey responded to his starting role by diving on the court, dishing out assists, scoring a little, and most shockingly, pulling in seven rebounds... in the first quarter alone. Three of his seven first quarter boards were on the offensive end.
  • 18. The Bucks have had better shooting days. Much better than tonight's 37.9% field goal, 27.8% three point, and 69.6 % free throw percentages. The Bucks rarely have had more tenacity on the glass however, as evidenced by their 18 offensive rebounds.

Three Good

  • Shooting Guards?. Remember when the pregame notes indicated Joe Johnson's hot streak coming into Milwaukee? The shooting guard showdown turned out to be more of a dud than anything, but even a relatively quiet Michael Redd outplayed the Hawks' main man. The Bucks did well to limit Johnson's effectiveness on the offensive end all night long. Johnson not only didn't score much, he failed to play the role of distributor, totaling just one assist. Mo Williams stepped up and put the team on his shoulders when Redd was out. Redd definitely didn't do the same tonight, but he also didn't dominate the ball or make many ill-advised shots or passes. Redd didn't commit a turnover in 43 minutes.
  • RookYi Showdown. In the previous two meetings between power forward Rookie of the Year hopefuls, Al Horford got the better of Yi Jianlian. Horford averaged 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds on 66.7 % shooting compared to Yi's 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds on 30.0 % shooting. This was hardly a primetime game; the Bucks and Hawks get national television dates about as often as Royal Ivey grabs seven rebounds in a quarter. Still, media types might have paid some attention to this game as a battle of Rookie of the Year contenders. Similar to the Redd/Johnson non-showdown, neither rookie showed their full potential. Also similar however is that the Buck won the personal battle. Before Horford scored his first point of the game, Yi had accumulated ten points and three rebounds. Although he played two more minutes than Yi, Horford was plagued by foul trouble, unable to find any rhythm. Yi struggled to find his shot late, but was more productive overall. Yi finished with 16 points and nine rebounds compared to Horford's six points and seven rebounds.
  • Harder, Faster, Stronger. The Hawks and Bucks are young teams. They average 25.2 and 26.2 years respectively. However, the Hawks aren't your stereotypical young team. Despite having premier athletes like Josh Smith and Marvin Williams, they came into the game ranking 23rd in pace. They also tend to shoot free throws well, but don't take many three pointers. Further, the Hawks are known for their defense, not offense. Yet it was the Bucks who looked all grown up in the first quarter, getting in the paint and to the line often, and dominating the glass. The Bucks outrebounded the Hawks 16-7 in the first period, including 5-0 on the offensive boards. They also beat the Hawks at their own game, making 6-8 free throws while holding their opponents without an attempt. After each Bucks starter missed exactly one shot in the first two minutes, it looked ugly. They remained aggressive, namely Royal Ivey, Yi Jianlian, and Andrew Bogut, and clawed their way to a 25-23 lead after falling behind 6-0 more than three minutes in. The Bucks didn't necessarily play much better, but more proudly, they played harder, stronger, and were faster to the ball than the Hawks in winning the first quarter.

Three Bad

  • Closing Time. The Hawks waited 10:56 before making their first field goal of the fourth quarter. That's ten minutes and fifty-six seconds. Seriously. We knew they weren't an offensive dynamo, but wow, this was the Bucks they were playing. The bad part from the Bucks' perspective? Anthony Johnson's three pointer with 1:04 remaining closed the Hawks within four points, at 81-77. Teams can try to allow the Bucks to put games away as much as possible, and it never seems to work. Close games are exciting, but closing games comfortably is even better.
  • Slow In Transition. They don't run-and-gun naturally, but the Hawks are successful when they get out in transition. Judging by tonight's game, you wouldn't know if the Bucks are any good on the fast break. They never really even tried to run, although their mere three steals prevented opportunities. The Hawks couldn't find a way to score after halftime, waiting almost three minutes before Marvin Williams hit a running jumper. In a seesaw game, the Bucks opened up a 51-45 lead that momentarily seemed like more than a normal six-point advantage in this low-scoring, back-and-forth battle. That lead quickly evaporated however as the Hawks started playing at another speed, tearing down the court to take a 53-51 lead in the blink of an eye; one minute and nineteen seconds to be precise. At that point, they had outscored the Bucks 16-0 on the fast break.
  • Block Party. The Bucks apparently are trying to get Josh Smith the blocks per game lead from Marcus Camby. Adding seven more to his total tonight, he's now blocked 15 shots in three games against the Bucks. The Hawks blocked 12 shots as a team tonight.