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Bucks 102 Grizzlies 97: Recap

Without Pau Gasol and Michael Redd, the Grizzlies and Bucks appeared on paper to lack star power. The reality on the court Tuesday night was something very different. Mike Miller and Mo Williams dualed to a draw with 32 points each, but it was Williams who had more ammunition, and a win, in the end. The Bucks won 102-97 over the Grizzlies to halt a three-game losing streak.

Three Bucks

  • Mo Williams. Williams was the closer for the Bucks tonight, finishing with 32 points, including 12 in the decisive fourth quarter.
  • Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva had a very Dwight Howard-like 16 points and 16 rebounds, badly outplaying fellow up-and-down forward Hakim Warrick.
  • Charlie Bell. Bell's 36 minutes were his third highest of the season, and his 17 points were his fourth highest total of the year.

Three Numbers

  • 7. Charlie Villanueva grabbed seven offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies had five offensive rebounds.
  • 3. The three-guard starting lineup of Mo Williams, Royal Ivey, and Charlie Bell combined for just three turnovers. They had 12 assists. Ivey scored just four points in 36 minutes, but didn't turn the ball over at all and had two steals.
  • -14. This was a tough start for Kwame Brown, who turned the ball over three times and picked up three fouls in 15 minutes. He had a team-worst -14 differential rating.

Three Good

  • Charlies. In a disappointing season for the Bucks, Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Bell have been singled out perhaps most frequently for not performing up to expectations. With injuries forcing the Bucks to rethink their usual lineup, both players started, and both responded with strong games. When Villanueva wasn’t shooting from deep, he was a mighty effective offensive player, converting on 7-11 two point attempts. Despite picking up an offensive foul and missing a couple shots badly in the first quarter, it was obvious that Villanueva was determined to make an impression. His performance, combined with Yi’s slump and injury, will force the Bucks to consider all their starting lineup options when Yi returns. Meanwhile, Bell made three of the Bucks’ four from outside on a night the Bucks were once again badly outscored on three pointers.
  • Mo Knows. With 2:10 remaining, the Bucks trailed 97-92. Thankfully, Mo Williams pitched a personal 10-0 shutout to emphatically close the game. Williams didn't get any layups either; he scored the first eight points on jumpers before icing the game at the line. Mo knows the fourth quarter.
  • Moving On Up. There are still a couple months remaining, and already it's difficult to avoid looking at the crowded Eastern Conference standings. Tonight, the Bucks won and the Nets and Pacers lost. The Bucks are 1.5 games behind the final playoff spot.

Three Bad

  • First Quarter. Apparently spurred on by what must have been hundreds of fans (fair excuse: tornadoes) in the stadium, the new-look Grizzlies pounced on the Bucks in the first quarter. Playing in their first game since trading away the player who was the face of their franchise for the past six and a half seasons in Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies proceeded to make their first eight shots from the field. After five minutes, Mike Miller was beating the Bucks 9-8. The Bucks overcame the deficit and took a 23-15 lead after one quarter... against Miller. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies played with a team around Miller, and they added 16 more points, resulting in a 31-23 lead. The Grizzlies made 12-18 from the field, had nine assists, and committed one turnover in the opening period. The preview indicated the Grizzlies came into the game playing at the seventh fastest pace in the NBA. Even with the three-guard starting lineup along with Villanueva in the frontcourt, the Bucks were blitzed by a Grizzlies team more than a couple steps quicker in the open court. The first quarter was the only period the Bucks lost.
  • Gadzuric's Around-The-Back Pass/Assist Ratio. Dan Gadzuric has racked up seven assists this season, including two in the last two months. This naturally gave him the confidence to attempt an around-the-back pass, which we were lucky enough to witness in tonight’s second quarter. The ball just as naturally went out of bounds. On another note, there were lots of airballs tonight. Granted, Gasol left town and Redd is still sidelined, but these teams actually shot the ball pretty well. Still, Villanueva, Cardinal, Milicic, Bell, and Bogut didn’t find rim or backboard on seperate occassions.
  • Darko vs Bogut. High draft picks and mixed results has been the story for these two talents. However, if Bogut hopes to take the next step, he must first more consistently win battles against opposing centers, Darko included. To Bogut's credit, the charge he drew on Gay was an important play in the final two minutes.