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Bucks 108, Cavs 98: Recap

A funny thing happens when the Bucks play Cleveland: they play well. The Bucks finished the four game season series with the Cavs by winning for the third time, outscoring the Cavs by a combined 61-35 in the first and third quarters to win 108-98. The loss snapped the Bucks' six game losing streak and five game streak at home.

Three Bucks

  • Mo Williams. With 29 points on a blistering 9/11 shooting AND 13 assists, Mo was the hands-down player of the game in one of the best games of his career. He was owning Delonte West with mid-range jumpers and aggressive drives to the hoop, and locating teammates (especially Bogut and Mason) with crisp passes when he wasn't shooting. He also added five rebounds with just one turnover.
  • Andrew Bogut. In his first game back since bruising his thigh over two weeks ago, Bogut couldn't find his shot (8/19 fg) but worked hard enough on the boards and got enough dunks thanks to Mo's court vision that he still had 16. The more important numbers were his 15 boards and three blocks, two of which came on Anderson Varejao during the Bucks' 9-0 third quarter run that helped them build the lead they would hang onto for the remainder of the game.
  • Desmond Mason. For all the complaining we've done the past few months, none of it has been directed toward Mason. Tonight he scored 17 (8/12 fg) along with five boards, and helped hold LeBron James to 9/25 shooting from the field.

Three Numbers

  • .374. It seems a rare occasion when the Bucks hold their opponents under 50% shooting, so holding the Cavs to below 40% is extra impressive. Combine that with the Bucks' hot shooting (52%) and they were always likely to come away with the win.
  • 19. The Cavs would have lost by 20 if not for their big night on the glass, outrebounding the Bucks 51-39 despite the teams' shooting differential thanks to a 19-5 edge on the offensive end.
  • .133. Even with the bricklaying Ben Wallace out with back spasms, the Cavs' PFs couldn't buy a bucket, finishing 2/15 from the field. Former Buck player and current Buck killer Joe Smith had a rare off night against his former team, making just 1/5 shots, while Anderson Varejao had an ugly 1/10 night from the floor.

Three Good

  • Defense. Wait, really? The more rational explanation when the Bucks hold a team to sub-40% shooting is that the opponent was simply missing easy shots, but let's give the Bucks the benefit of the doubt for once. The Bucks' ability to run was fueled by forcing misses and turnovers, with Bogut's shot-blocking standing out.  
  • Mogut!. In November especially the Williams-to-Bogut combo seemed to be working very well, and tonight Mo's vision--something we don't see as often as we'd like--led to a number of big dunks for Bogut.
  • Home advantage. Losing five straight games at home, the Bucks had dropped to 17-17 for the season, but the win moves them back above .500 at the BC while matching the Bucks' home win total from 06/07 (18-23).

Three Bad

  • Bell limps off. Charlie Bell was having another solid game (12 points on four triples) when Andrew Bogut fell backwards into the side of his knee while trying to draw a charge. Bell limped off with what was termed a "sprained knee."
  • Sessions inactive. A day after Krystkowiak said he was planning to give rookie Ramon Sessions more playing time, he left him on the inactive list. Thankfully it wasn't because Royal Ivey was getting big minutes--he also got a DNP--but at this stage of the season there's no reason for the Bucks not to get a better feel for what Sessions can do in game action. The only positive side of Bell injuring his knee is that it could open up minutes for Sessions.
  • Charlie V cooling off. Following his five game streak of averaging nearly 25/10, CV had his third straight poor game, playing just 22 minutes thanks to his five point, 2/7 shooting night.