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Magic 103, Bucks 86: Recap

A bad night for hoops in Wisconsin started with the surprising thumping UW took against Davidson, and ended more predictably with the Magic's easy 103-86 win at the Bradley Center, the Bogut-less Bucks' third straight loss and ninth in ten games. Dwight Howard scored 14 of his 25 points in the first quarter, helping the Magic build a double-digit lead that was never threatened in the final three quarters.

Three Bucks

  • Mo Williams. Mo led the Bucks with 18 points (8/13 fg) and five assists in just 26 minutes, and was the only Buck to shoot better than 50% from the field. But as has been the case all too often, Mo couldn't outplay his counterpart: Carlos Arroyo, starting in the place of an injured Jameer Nelson, finished with 13 points and nine assists in 30 minutes.
  • Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva continues to struggle offensively, making just 5/16 from the field and scoring a lone free throw. Like the rest of the Bucks he worked hard on the glass, grabbing five boards both offensively and defensively to finish with an 11/10 double-double. Villanueva was realistically never going to stick around long-term with the organization's commitment to Yi Jianlian, so while his struggles make that decision easier, it also unfortunately diminishes his value this summer.
  • Mike Ruffin. Ruffin pulled down eight rebounds in 20 minutes, and is now averaging 6.4 rpg in just 15.9 minutes this month, or about 16 rebounds per 40 minutes. And in his last 70 minutes, Ruffin has grabbed a staggering 35 rebounds including 18 offensive.

Three Numbers

  • 8. With Andrew Bogut missing the game due to surgery on his broken nose, the Bucks were shorthanded in the middle against the game's most physically dominant center. Michael Ruffin, Dan Gadzuric and Jake Voskuhl couldn't handle Howard early, combining for eight fouls in the first quarter. Howard made the Bucks pay as well, making eight of ten from the stripe in the quarter. Howard added another 3/6 from the stripe in the second quarter before the Bucks managed to avoid giving him any free throws in 14 second half minutes.
  • 25. The Bucks had another monster night on the offensive glass, grabbing 25 offensive boards and out-rebounding the Magic overall 59-44. The Bucks rebounded well in the first month, and after falling off a bit since then they've hit the glass relentlessly of late. Unfortunately that's in part because they've been unable to hit shots, greatly increasing the number of chances they get.
  • 23. All those offensive rebounds helped the Bucks tally 23 more field goal attempts than the Magic. So how'd they still manage to get blown out? The Magic made 10 more free throws (23/30 vs. 13/18), hit seven more threes (10/28 vs. 3/12), and shot 10% worse from the field (44% vs. 34%).

Three Good

  • Bucks' All-Time Team. No doubt one of the highlights of a forgettable year was the Bucks' halftime presentation of their all-time team, featuring 20 players voted on through internet balloting. It got started with Eddie Doucette providing the pre-game intros and then sitting in with Jon and Jim during the first half. Though guys like Kareem, Sidney Moncrief and Paul Pressey were busy with their current NBA coaching gigs, most of the Bucks' retired numbers were in attendance, including Oscar Robertson, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and (of course) Jon McGlocklin. But perhaps the most interesting attendees were Glenn Robinson and Vin Baker, both of whom have been out of the league only a couple years. Both seemed excited to be among the honored, and given Baker's well-documented struggles in recent years, it was nice to see Vin in good spirits.
  • Sessions watch. Ramon played the game's final 13 minutes, scoring four points, grabbing four rebounds and handing out two assists with no turnovers. It's difficult to put much stock in garbage time numbers, but with a number of intriguing point guard prospects in the 2008 draft, it's in the Bucks' best interest to figure out what they have in Sessions. While it'd be helpful to see him get more meaningful minutes, the early returns suggest that Sessions has the sort of point guard instincts the Bucks haven't seen since T.J. Ford left town.
  • Yi watch. Yi is hardly setting the world on fire at the moment, but he managed a somewhat respectable line with 11 points, seven boards, two steals and a block. As his 3/11 shooting suggests, his touch from the outside continues to elude him and he's not making much progress in the finishing department either. However, the one benefit of so much garbage time is that Yi can work on being more aggressive going to the hoop. While the other starters don't seem to have any interest in giving him the ball (perhaps justifiably given his struggles), in the big picture Yi needs all the on-the-job training he can get. At least Sessions seems willing to pass him the ball.

Three Bad

  • Redd's House of Bricks. On a night when he was honored as the only active Buck on the team's 40th anniversary team, Michael Redd scored just seven points, making 3/16 fg and not attempting a free throw in 33 minutes. Starting 2/5 in the opening quarter, Redd proceeded to miss 10 of his final 11 shots. Add in the final three quarters of the Hawks game, and Redd has scored just eight points in the last seven quarters.
  • Mission: Impossible. With the exception of the Cleveland game, the Bucks of late have looked like a broken bunch. Add in the loss of Andrew Bogut, and it never seemed like the Bucks would have enough against one the East's "other" top team.
  • Out of gas. The Bucks took three out of four following the all-star break, but since February 28 they've gone just 2-12.