And so grows the legend of Ramon Sessions. (from Odenized)
A night after igniting the Bucks to a come-from-behind OT win over the Knicks, Ramon Sessions again helped spark a fourth quarter rally, punctuated by an improbable baseline 20-footer to beat the Wizards at the buzzer, 110-109. Though Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Bogut were the box score stars with a combined 44 points (18/27 fg) and 22 rebounds, the unlikely pair of Sessions and Royal Ivey (10 fourth quarter points) were the stars in the final period. Gilbert Arenas, playing for the first time this calendar year, scored 17 points in 20 minutes while Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison had 18 apiece.
Trailing virtually the entire game, the Bucks scored seven straight points to lead 108-107 inside two minutes. Unfortunately for the Bucks, Sessions tangled feet with Arenas while trying to get past a screen with 15 seconds remaining--not nearly as stupid as his foul last night, but Arenas hit both free throws to give the Wiz a one point edge. On the ensuing possession, the Wizards got a hand on Charlie Villanueva's wraparound pass for Andrew Bogut, causing a scrum in the lane and a jump ball with 6.3 seconds left. The Wizards controlled initially, but Antawn Jamison's pass while falling out of bounds was picked off by a retreating Sessions, who called timeout with 1.1 seconds remaining. That gave the Bucks a second chance, and as the video attests, Bogut's quick feed and Sessions' quicker release sent the Wizards home heartbroken, snapping the Bucks' eight game road losing streak.
- Charlie Villanueva. CV's been struggling to find his shot of late, and when that happens the results often get ugly in a hurry. Tonight was a different story, however, as Villanueva shot 10/15 from the floor and added 12 boards and some heady passing to his 24 point effort. Though he also hit 2/4 triples, CV was aggressive going to the hoop--and got away with about about three blatant travels in doing so.
- Andrew Bogut. With back-to-back 20/10 games, maybe Bogut should go with the mask full time a la Rip Hamilton. Somehow he hasn't looked particularly great the past two nights, just doing a little bit of everything: backing down smaller guys in the post, attacking to his left out of face-ups, and finding seams to get easy buckets. But the numbers are tough to deny: 20 points (8/12 fg, 4/6 ft), 10 boards and five assists. Always a good sign when this sort of production starts to seem like no big deal.
- Ramon Sessions. Bobby Simmons (12 pts, 5/7 fg, +8) and Royal Ivey (10, 4/7, +12) also provided excellent performances off the bench, but we can't deny Sessions here. In 24 minutes the rook made 4/6 fg, dished out eight assists, notched two steals and turned it over three times. He again showing a knack for being in the middle of the action late, fouling Arenas on defense before his steal off the jump ball set up his game-winner.
- .552. The two teams combined for a blistering 55% shooting, with defense often at a premium. Yep, it's a Bucks game.
- 52. The Wizards don't normally have the luxury of bringing an all-star like Arenas off the bench, but Agent Zero's 17 were only part of the Wizards bench production that netted a combined 52 points. Roger Mason (12) and Andray Blatche (15) also provided plenty of spark, though the Bucks got some of their own from Sessions, Ivey and Simmons (30 total points).
- 0. No, we're not referring to Arenas' number, but instead to Mo Williams' fourth quarter minutes the past two nights. Sessions' size means it's possible to play him with Mo or Ivey, but Krystkowiak hasn't been interested in letting his starter finish games, no doubt a reflection of LK's season-long frustration with Mo's defense. Mo was much better tonight than yesterday--13 points (6/11 fg) and seven assists in 29 minutes--but Krystkowiak again showed some balls going with the hot hands while Redd and Williams spent large chunks of time on the bench.
- Superstar backcourt. OK, so that might not be the best description of the Ivey/Sessions combination that played most of the fourth quarter, but at least for one night it got the job done. Ivey scored all 10 of his points in the decisive quarter, hitting a number of those 18-20 footers that he's proven surprisingly proficient at. Sessions meanwhile finally hit some shots while setting a new career high in assists for the second straight night.
- Bigs being big. Bogut and Villanueva's twin 20/10 efforts came in the same building where they last pulled off that feat, less than a month ago on on March 11. But unlike that game, tonight the Bucks came away with a rare road victory.
- Where amazing happens. The NBA's slogan has been fodder for plenty of parody, but it really has been a fitting description of the Bucks/Wizards rivalry the past few years. First Mo, then Gil, and now Sessions.
- Battle of attrition. The Bucks were the first to claim a casualty when Yi Jianlian left the game early in the second with a left knee sprain; he never went to the floor, but looked to have jammed it somehow in a collision in the paint. After leaving under his own power, Yi was helped into the locker room. Meanwhile, the banged up Wizards lost two starters in the final 6 seconds of the game, as Deshawn Stevenson turned an ankle and then Antawn Jamison had to be helped off after diving into the first row trying to save the ball.
- Redd off the mark. After his monster 36/6/9 effort yesterday, Redd couldn't find the range tonight, scoring just 11 points (4/16 fg, 1/5 ft), with only one free throw after halftime. And unlike last month when he tried to be a one-man show in the fourth quarter, Redd sat for much of the fourth as Ivey, Sessions and Simmons played well.
NineEight games left. A week ago the end of the season couldn't come soon enough, but between a modest win streak, Sessions' emergence as a legit player and Bogut's continued strong play, you'd be forgiven for enjoying Bucks basketball a little right now.