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Recap: Sixers 93, Bucks 88

The Bucks played from the front for three quarters, but in the final period they seemed content to sit back and watch as Sixers' youngsters Lou Williams and Marreese Speights took control and guided Philly to a 93-88 home win. Williams scored 10 of his 25 points (9/17 fg) in the final period while Speights subbed in for an injured Elton Brand to score eight of his 12 in the decisive quarter.  Redd, Jefferson, and Bogut were AWOL for the Bucks, combining for a paltry 23 points on 8/26 fg.  Meanwhile, Andre Miller provided a key scoring punch for Philly with 19 points on 9/14 fg.

Three Bucks

  • Luc Mbah a Moute.  Where was Mbah a Moute down the stretch?  That's a good question considering he had played well with 13 points (4/7 fg), five rebounds, two assists, and no turnovers when he was replaced by Ridnour with six minutes remaining.  Interestingly, Skiles had put Mbah a Moute on Williams for stretches, and Mbah a Moute had once again shown his versatility in using his length to keep up with the smaller but quicker combo guard.  Once Mbah a Moute left, Williams had his way in the final minutes, scoring six straight at one point and all going to the rack.
  • Charlie Bell.  Bell was the only Buck who didn't look bewildered in the fourth and notched 14 points (4/8 fg) in 24 minutes.  When those kind of numbers rank you among the team's best performers, you know you're in trouble.  The one time the Bucks slowed the Sixers' fourth quarter momentum was thanks to Bell's steal and three point play that tied the game at 86.
  • Charlie Villanueva.  A quieter game from Villanueva compared to his last two, but 11 points and eight boards in 22 minutes is nothing to sneeze at either.   Like Mbah a Moute, CV didn't see action down the stretch as both coaches went small--the Bucks had Ridnour, Bell, Redd, Jefferson, and Bogut in the final minutes.  What do they say about hindsight?

Three Numbers

  • 4.  After back-to-back 20 point games, Bogut managed just two made field goals and as many field goal attempts as turnovers (4).  But before you go railing on the guards or coaches for not getting Bogut the ball, give the Sixers credit: they knew Bogut and his teammates don't know how to punish teams that double the post, and that's what the Sixers did.  I'm not sure why more teams don't do this, as you can effectively neutralize Bogut since he doesn't have any game outside five feet.  Everytime Bogut got a post touch tonight you knew help was coming, and the Bucks couldn't move the ball quickly enough to make the Sixers pay (they similarly doubled the post against other Bucks, too).  Major credit to new coach Tom DiLeo for a great gameplan.  Bogut also didn't do much damage on the boards, as he collected a below-average eight rebounds and couldn't keep up with Reggie Evans (nine boards in 18 minutes) most of the night.  
  • 23.  Contain the Bucks' (sort of) Big Three and you won't lose often, and that's exactly what the Sixers did tonight as Redd, Jefferson and Bogut tallied a mere 23 combined.  Redd had a solid all-around start to the game, dishing out some nice assists even as he was quiet in the scoring department.  He was even d'ing up fairly well.  But he didn't do anything in the second half and came up empty on a couple good looks in the closing minutes.  His final tally: eight boards (impressive!), five assists (nice!  for the second straight game), and 2/13 from the field for just six points (OUCH).
  • 11.  The Bucks never trailed in the first three quarters and were bidding for their second straight wire-to-wire road win.  And then the fourth quarter happened, when the Sixers outscored them 26-15.

Three Two Good

  • Defending with the stars.  A game after frustrating Dwyane Wade for 48 minutes, the Bucks put the clamps on Andre Iguodala (2/14, four points, six boards, and seven dimes) and Elton Brand (four points in 22 minutes before dislocating his shoulder).  In other words, if you came to the game purely to see both teams' stars do their thing...well, sorry about that.  Credit Scott Skiles with bringing a concept apparently referred to as "team defense" to Wisconsin.  As a long-time Bucks fan I'm still not altogether familiar with it, but I'm liking it so far.
  • Return of the Prince.  After a stretch of poor games, Mbah a Moute is again looking better, bringing it on both ends.  Tonight he looked equally capable guarding Elton Brand (6'9", 254) and Lou Williams (6'2", 175). 

Three Bad

  • Bad Three.  As has been discussed at length already, the Bucks' big money players didn't get the job done.  'nough said.
  • Firing blanks.  With the game in their hands, the Bucks simply couldn't buy a bucket for nearly nine minutes, a period spanning the end of the third to the four minute mark of the fourth.  They were particularly poor from distance, making just 2/15 from deep--an area where the Sixers (4/8) normally struggle.
  • Rebounding.  Losing the rebounding battle 45-41 isn't a crippling blow to most teams, but the Bucks simply don't shoot well enough to afford losing the rebounding edge on most nights.  The two teams came into the evening with nearly identical rebound rates of 52.6%--good for fourth and fifth in the league--but Evans and Speights were particularly active and simply outworked the Bucks when it mattered most.  Philly had a 15-10 edge on the offensive boards.