The Bucks started and finished with great effort and success, diverting from season-long form. The result was also something rather unfamiliar: a road win, 93-89 over the Bobcats.
- Charlie Bell. Smiles are good. Bell scored 27 points in the previous ten games. He scored 27 tonight.
- Andrew Bogut. He won the personal battle with Okafor and carried the Bucks to a win in the fourth quarter.
- Mo Williams. Three assists in 45 minutes is very out of character of Williams, but he played well defensively, and turned the ball over just once.
- Mo Williams' steals. The Bobcats had five.
- Number of rebounds by Bogut, Simmons, and Yi, individually. Also, the number of Bucks who played in the game.
- Bucks' turnovers, half as many as the Bobcats.
- The Bucks had a gameplan offensively down the stretch, and appropriately, came back and won. The Bucks ran off an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter, a testament to great, active defense and calculated offensive possessions. This is all very new for the Bucks in the clutch. And they did it without Redd. Bravo. Here's what they did offensively with under three minutes remaining in the game before icing the game at the line:
- Bogut hits a right-handed, and-one hook over Okafor. 83-87.
- Bell gets an open layup in transition off a steal. 85-87
- Bogut faces up, and rolls in a lefty layup. 87-87
- Bell misses awkward 18-footer badly. 87-87
- Simmons feeds Bogut for righty hook in paint. 89-87
- Charlie Bell and Bobby Simmons teased us against the Heat, combining to shoot 9-16 from the field including 4-5 from outside along 12 rebounds. I say they teased us, because against the Wizards they combined for 11 points and 1-8 from outside in 50 minutes. But the talented yet beleaguered twosome appeared truly on the road to career recovery against the Bobcats. Simmons broke off the shackles of indecision and passiveness by shooting seven times from the field in the first quarter. Numbers easily quantify Simmons’ newfound intensity. This is a guy who only attempted more than seven shots in an entire game seven times this year. More importantly, he attempted and made four first quarter free throws. He hasn’t made more than four free throws in a game all year. Simmons and Bell combined for ten first half rebounds, including five on the offensive boards. Bell’s 13 second quarter points kept the Bucks afloat when the Bobcats were running, gunning, and coming back. He finished as the co-star of the game, with Bogut, scoring 27 points in just 28 minutes.
- As a marginally capable offensive team and bad defensive club, the Bucks don’t have a lot of comeback ability. As a result, they’ve been severely plagued by their many slow starts this season. When they were in top form, they managed to win five in a row from Dec. 14 to Dec. 24 despite winning just one first quarter in the streak. Inevitably, that trend didn’t continue. Whereas against the Wizards, the Bucks were clueless without Michael Redd in the first quarter, in Charlotte, they were focused and determined. The first few minutes were choppy, and neither team could shoot the entire quarter, but the Bucks played defense and did the little things to take control. That’s almost sickening cliche, but accurate in this case. The Bucks made up for their missing star not by trying to replicate his game, but by rebounding, taking care of the ball, and playing aggressively in the post. They were rewarded with a 22-15 lead after holding the Bobcats to four points in the first six minutes and turning the ball over just twice in the first twelve minutes. Among the gritty highlights were two Bobcats' 24-second violations forced as the result of shot blocks, a Bogut tip rebound to Ivey, and Yi's pretty pass to Bogut for a dunk.
- The Bucks were outshot in every way. This isn't excusable just because Redd was out either. On the road you can't get outshot from the field, the line, and from outside, like the Bucks were, and expect to win. Against all odds, they pulled this one out.
- After shutting the Bobcats down in the first quarter, the Bobcats burned the Bucks for 32 points in the second quarter, turning a consistent deficit into a halftime lead courtesy of Wallace's three with a second remaining.
- The power forwards have had better days. Yi was aggressive early, with memories of his dreamlike game against the Bobcats two weeks ago surely in mind. He had a huge stuff of Okafor in the first half but combined with Villanueva to score just 11 points on 4-19 shooting from the field.