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Recap: Bucks 79, Bobcats 74

It was ugly all the way around, but no one will be complaining with the Bucks' 79-74 win in Charlotte.  Richard Jefferson's three point play with two minutes remaining gave the Bucks a 77-70 lead, which they held onto in part thanks to the Bobcats' inability to finish inside five feet.

Three Bucks

  • Ramon Sessions.  With no one able to score, Sessions again stepped up to fill the void with 18 points (4/11 fg, 10/10 ft) and four dimes, including the game-clinching free throws with 13 seconds left.  Not that Sessions was immune to the Bucks' wastefulness of course--he chalked up five turnovers himself.  But with Luke Ridnour exiting early with a sore knee, the door could be open for Sessions to claim the starting PG spot that he seems destined to claim anyway.  
  • Charlie Villanueva.  After 20 points in 13 minutes last night, Villanueva couldn't keep his shot-making going with a 3/11 night in Charlotte.  Fortunately, he got to the line for an uncharacteristic eight free throws and connected on all of them en route to 15 points and eight boards in 27 minutes.  More impressive (and uncharacteristic)?  Villanueva's four blocks.
  • Andrew Bogut.  Bogut couldn't prevent Emeka Okafor from having a very good night (16 pts, 18 boards) but he did keep up his rebounding tear with 17 boards and 12 points.  That's now an average of 18 rpg over the past three games, though unfortunately Bogut's free throw shooting also took another turn for the worse with a 2/7 night.

Three Numbers

  • .370.  Let's just pretend it was an epic defensive struggle, OK?  The two teams each shot just 37%, in part due to some good defense but also owing a fair bit to their own ability to make open jumpers and finish around the hoop.
  • 21.  Indicative of the game's ugliness, the Bucks complicated their night by turning it over 21 times, though the Bobs managed 18 of their own as well.  Fortunately for the Bucks, they edged the Bobs in points off turnovers 18-16.
  • 43.  The Bucks got just 36 points from their starters, a paltry figure that would be impossible to overcome on most nights.  But Sessions and Villanueva filled in just well enough off the bench, contributing 33 of the bench's 43 total points.

Three Good

  • Four down, three to go.  The Bucks now stand at 4-5 on the road, which is none too shabby for a team that was 7-34 away from the BC a year ago. 
  • The defense doesn't rest.  A year ago the Bucks held opponents under 80 points twice in 82 tries; they've now matched that in their first 15 games.  The Bucks also came into the game ranked 10th in defensive efficiency, 20 spots better than they finished last year.  It might not be a fluke.
  • Throw it down, big fella.  If you missed the game, be sure to check out the highlights to see Bogut's throw down on Okafor.  Nice dish from Tyronn Lue.

Three Bad

  • Winning ugly.  Let's just say this game wouldn't have wowed anyone randomly flipping around on League Pass.  Skiles said it best after the game: "This game set the game of basketball back a ways."
  • Ridnour's knee.  Ridnour hasn't made much of a case for keeping the starting job over Ramon Sessions, but that doesn't mean the Bucks can particularly afford to see him in street clothes.  He left in the first half with a sore knee, and at the moment it's unclear if it will cost him any time on the shelf.  Tyronn Lue had a couple nice moments but was far from confidence-inspiring down the stretch, most notably when he stepped on the baseline with 21 seconds left and the Bucks winning by three.
  • The week ahead.  The Bucks took care of business against New York and Charlotte, providing them a small bit of momentum as they start perhaps their toughest stretch of the season.  Next week the Bucks get four playoff teams with visits to Orlando, Atlanta, and Detroit before getting a home date with the Cavs on Saturday.  The Bucks then get a little bit of a breather as they start December with the Bulls and Bobcats at home, before they play six out of seven on the road, including three in a row out West against the Lakers, Suns, and Warriors.