Maybe Michael Redd heard that we dissed his clutch shooting in the game preview. Following LeBron James' tough banker that tied the game with six seconds left, Redd atoned for a missed free throw on the Bucks' previous possession by driving three quarters of the court and burying a three at the buzzer to propel the Bucks to a 105-102 win over the Cavs at the Bradley Center.
- Mo Williams. A season-high 37 points (12/22 fg, 10/10 ft) in 46 minutes for Mo, who had 22 in the first half and was money down the stretch as well. He also tallied seven boards and six assists, none prettier than a one-handed, half-court alley-oop to Desmond Mason with 1.5 seconds left in the first half.
- Desmond Mason. Everyone will be talking about Redd and Williams tomorrow, but check out the Cowboy's statline: 11 points, a team-high 11 rebounds and five assists. While he did all his scoring in the first half, he did it with plenty of flair, throwing down two alley oops including the aforementioned one to close the half. Now if he could only guard LeBron James (35 pts on 16/24 fg).
- Michael Redd. Aside from his rainmaker at the final horn, the Bucks' leading scorer finished with 25 points (7/17 fg, 10/11 ft) and four assists. However, with 11 seconds left and the Bucks leading by one, he missed the front end of two free throws, giving LBJ the chance to tie it with a two on the ensuing possession. Without a timeout, the Bucks were forced to then take it out from under the Cavs basket, but Redd drove down the left side, pulled up on the wing about 28 feet from the hoop, and following one pump fake drilled his shot to win it. Looked like he might have dragged his pivot foot when he gave his pump fake, but who's counting?
- Zero. The Bucks led 57-53 at half in large part due to their care with the ball, as they had zero turnovers in the opening two quarters. They came back down to earth in the second half with eight, but their perfection in the first half helped them notch a 20-6 edge in fast break points and a 13-0 edge in points off turnovers.
- 32-10. The Bucks made only have as many threes as the Cavs (10-5) and shot worse from the field (49%-44%) but they overcame it by making nearly three times as many free throws as the Cavs. Mo, Redd and Andrew Bogut all had 10+ free throw attempts, while LBJ was surprisingly only 2/5 from the charity stripe.
- 31. That's the margin by which the Cavs bench outscored the Bucks' bench, which for the second game in a row was barely used by Larry Krystkowiak. Yi, Bell, Gadzuric and Ivey combined for just 45 minutes and 1/3 fg, while Bobby Simmons didn't play at all.
- Mr. Clutch. The numbers suggest Mo Williams (.440/.391/.940 shooting in close/late situations) has been much more deserving of that title than Mike Redd (.375/.286/.870) this year, but Redd will happily take the plaudits for a night with his long bomb. Don't underestimate Mo Williams' late game heroics though. He's shot 94% from the line in the clutch and he responded with more of the same tonight, hitting all ten of his freebies including two with 16 seconds left.
- Lucky Bucks. We told you a couple weeks ago the Bucks haven't been as unlucky this year as some have suggested, and with the win tonight the Bucks improved to 12-9 in games decided by 5 points or less. Don't feel bad for the Cavs though; they've still won a ridiculous 75% of their close games this year (18-6).
- Oopin'. In our midseason grades we bemoaned the Bucks' lack of alley-oop passes, but since then they've really gotten their act together. Plenty of variety tonight, as the combos of Redd/Mason, Mo/Mason and Mason/Bogut all got the crowd up off their feet.
- Bogut's shooting. Bogut's post game hasn't been working this month and he seems to be snake-bitten even on easy shots, as he had his seventh consecutive game of sub-50% shooting from the field (5/15 fg). He still finished with 16/8 and some good interior defense, but the Bucks would be playing even better if Bogut could live up to his end of the bargain offensively. Perhaps his hip is still bothering him, but he certainly appears to be moving OK.
- Bench woes. As noted above, the bench neither saw much PT nor did they do much with the time they did get on the court, a similar theme to what we saw against Denver. Perhaps LK has simply lost faith in arguably the worst-performing bench in the league, but it's causing the backcourt especially to log serious minutes. At least we don't have a long playoff run ahead of us, eh?
- Baby Ben. Normally we use this space to pick on the Bucks, but there was definitely something funny about watching the Cavs try to run a pick/roll with LBJ and Wallace. Ben had a game-worst minus-14 rating, and while he did manage 11 rebounds, Wallace's presence caused problems for the Cavs when the Bucks trapped LBJ and forced other guys to make them pay. For that reason the Cavs looked much more dangerous with Joe Smith (12/8) on the floor, whose mid-range shot is exactly the sort of weapon that complements James' attention-drawing ability.