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Bucks 93, Bobs 89: Recap

What's that? A sign of life? It looked like it as the Bucks got some unlikely contributions in Michael Redd's absence to come from behind to down the Bobcats 93-89 in Charlotte ( AP recap / Alex's recap / video). Knee-jerk reactions:

  • Trailing 87-79 with 3:51 left, the Bucks probably should have been done. Not that the Bobcats are any good, but the Bucks were on the road, missing their leading scorer, and had been missing the character to hang on to leads, much less come from behind. But they did just that, as Bogut scored eight points and Charlie Bell four in a 12-0 run that gave the Bucks a 91-87 lead. Bogut didn't look anything like the offensively tentative guy we'd seen over the last month, scoring repeatedly out of the post including the go-ahead hook shot with 19 seconds left.
  • Bogut finished with 25 points (10/15 fg, 5/7 ft) and eight rebounds and was a +14 for the game. Bogut has looked out of sorts offensively for about a month, shying away from the post and generally looking like a guy who didn't particularly want the ball. But he had easily his best offensive game of the season in the same arena that he scored his career-high 27 a year ago. Back was the willingness to mix it up down low with his arsenal of ambidextrous hooks and gimmick-but-effective flip shots. Mo and Redd have been scoring all year, but so long as Bogut isn't a factor down low the Bucks won't go anywhere. Bogut has no option but to keep being this aggressive, but that's still a big question.
  • And oh year, let's not forget about Charlie Bell. The human slump entered the game shooting 27% from the field, but mixed in slashing drives with an effective enough mid-range game to pump in a season-high 27 points on 11/18 fg. You always hear people say you have to drive and get better looks/draw fouls when your shot isn't falling, and Bell did just that in the fourth, with three of his four field goals coming on drives. Hey Charlie, let's keep it up.
  • Gerald Wallace started at PF and was the danger man for the Bobs all night, scoring 25 (7/12 fg, 10/12 ft) but also tallying a costly eight turnovers. Wallace used his quickness to bother Yi on the perimeter after the Bobs' bigger lineup (Okafor/Mohammed at the 4/5) allowed the rookie to score a career-high 29 in Milwaukee.
  • Yi tried to post up a number of times early, but he's just not polished enough at the moment to punish smaller defenders, and finished just 2/9 from the field. He also played Wallace a little too tight outside, allowing him to drive effectively all night. In Milwaukee Yi guarded Wallace a number of times but managed to tempt him into a series of jumpers, which is exactly what you hope Wallace will do. That said, Yi did pull down eight rebounds, the fifth straight game he's had at least seven.
  • We're now seeing why Yi is probably a PF not a SF. Against bigger defenders he can usually strike a good balance between losing them on pick/rolls for open looks and driving by them when they get too close. But smaller defenders have an easier time keeping up with him on the perimeter, denying him open looks while also being able to keep up with him when he drives. Make him play like a small guy and he's still too stiff and mechanical. Meanwhile, he isn't yet able to punish them with his size, and defensively he's not quite quick enough to hang with more explosive small forwards.
  • Mo Williams shifted to SG, allowing Royal Ivey to start in the backcourt. I'm generally not thrilled with Ivey's ballhandling, but he had just two TOs tonight. The small backcourt worked well early on, as the Bucks led by as many as 10 en route to a 22-15 first quarter lead. What's really surprising is that they didn't need Williams to take over late in the game.
  • Bobby Simmons still hasn't found his jumpshot, but he worked hard to finish with 10 points and eight boards, including four offensive, in 32 minutes. He also was second on the team with a +12 rating.
  • Turnovers have so often been the Bucks' downfall, but tonight they turned it over just nine times against a Charlotte team that loves to use turnovers to trigger their running game. Instead the Bobs were the ones who couldn't hang on to the ball, turning it over 18 times, none more costly than Gerald Wallace's lost ball in the final 20 seconds.
  • I keep looking for reasons to believe in this team, but let's not kid ourselves. The Bucks needed season-highs from Bell and Bogut to overcome a poor Bobcats team. Still, among the Bucks' biggest problems has been that no one aside from Mo and Redd have been reliable offensively, so at the very least this could give Bogut and Bell some much-needed confidence. Especially with Redd out they will need the "other" guys to step up every night, something we haven't seen much of. Fortunately, both Bell and Simmons have shown some spunk in the last two road games, and games in Philly and then home against the Heat are winnable on paper.