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Nets 111, Bucks 98: Recap

The Bucks didn't look all that concerned about auditioning for their new boss, falling 111-98 to the Nets in front of new GM John Hammond. Vince Carter had his shooting mojo, making 10/15 shots for 21 points along with 10 assists, while the Bucks got nice nights from Desmond Mason (18 pts), Bobby Simmons (15) and Ramon Sessions (12/13), but no-shows from Mike Redd and Andrew Bogut.

Three Bucks

  • Ramon Sessions. The rookie had perhaps his best game yet, scoring 12 points (6/11 fg) along with 13 assists, six rebounds, two steals and just two turnovers. His counterpart Devin Harris torched the Bucks the last time the two teams met, but Harris was fairly subdued offensively with 13 points with nine assists, six steals and five turnovers. Sessions' defense was perfectly respectable, but Harris also wasn't as aggressive as he could have been against his rookie defender. Offensively, Sessions started the game with a 10-foot floater before hitting a pair of jumpers and getting into the lane for his other three field goals.
  • Desmond Mason. Lately Desmond's offense has been a little too jumper-happy for my taste, but tonight he managed to make a couple early mid-range shots and then stay in the flow with some more aggressive work going to the hoop. Though he turned it over five times, his attacking approach netted him 18 points (7/11 fg), four rebounds and three assists.
  • Jake Voskuhl. The Bucks for some reason just looked a lot more fluid with Jake on the floor than Bogut; while Voskuhl was +16, Bogut was a dreadful -26. With Mike Ruffin in streetclothes, Jake made the most of his 17 minutes by notching eight points (3/3 fg) along with four boards, two steals and a block.

Three Numbers

  • .562/.500/1.000. Those were the Nets' shooting percentages; good luck finding a team that shoots the ball that well and doesn't come away with a win.
  • 13. With Mo Williams out, Redd and Bogut are the teams' leading scorers, yet they somehow combined for just 13 shots in a combined 64 minutes. The Bucks were actually quite democratic in their shot distribution with Mason (11), Sessions (11) and Simmons (10) the only players taking double-figure shots.
  • 20. The Bucks turned it over 20 times, with Bogut and Mason accounting for half of those. Especially in light of the Bucks' 54% shooting, turnovers were the only way for the Nets to get their transition offense, and their 11 steals helped do just that.

Three Good

  • The Hammond era begins. One of the few things to be optimistic about these days: things might be changing soon.
  • The Sessions effect. There's something refreshing about watching them push the ball with Sessions running the offense. Perhaps because he's a rookie trying to win the trust of his teammates, Sessions is pass-first almost to a fault. Especially when driving to the hoop he looks hesitant to shoot, which leads to occasional indecisiveness when the pass isn't there. That causes problems especially late in the shot clock, where he has nowhere close to Mo Williams' ability to improvise a high percentage shot for himself. But in transition and early in the clock his unselfishness seems to inspire plenty of movement--guys know he'll get them the ball, so they seem more motivated to work to get open.
  • Short bench. With Mo, Villanueva, Yi, Bell and Ruffin all sidelined, the bench's depth was already lacking. But Simmons, Voskuhl, Storey and Ivey fared just fine, combining for 42 points on 16/27 shooting.

Three Bad

  • Emo Bogut. Perhaps Bogut was traumatized by his 10 turnover outing against Boston, because he's been offensively tentative and defensively meek in the three games since then. Tonight was perhaps the most egregious example yet, as he finished with just seven points, eight rebounds and five turnovers despite relatively few touches. Since Sessions has been starting the Bucks have been running curiously few plays for Bogut, but it's tough to argue he should be more involved when he's so lacking in energy. It's clear that many of the Bucks' regulars are just playing out the string, but especially with a contract extension to play for you'd hope to see fewer games like this from Bogut.
  • Intensity schmintensity. Jon McGlocklin offered a sad summary of the Bucks defense when he noted in the fourth quarter, "If you can't run your offense and have a big offensive night against the Bucks, you've got a problem." The Bucks seemed to be zoning a lot, but the Nets had little trouble attacking and moving the ball until someone had an open three or a dunk. While Richard Jefferson (24 points and seven assists) and Carter were up to their usual tricks, Bostjan Nachbar was a more surprising zone-buster, making 6/8 fg including 3/3 from deep.
  • Losing the war at home. After starting the season 6-0 at the BC, the Bucks guaranteed a second consecutive losing season at home with tonight's loss.