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Vegas Game 2: Bucks 73, Pistons 59

In game one of their Vegas adventure, Ramon Sessions was pretty good and Joe Alexander was pretty bad.  Fortunately for the Bucks, both were better on Tuesday afternoon as Milwaukee bounced back to down the Stuckey-less Pistons 73-59 (JS recap / complete game video).  Sessions was the story with 21 pts (6/11 fg, 9/12 ft), six boards, four helpers, and just two turnovers in 28 minutes, getting into the lane at will and generally controlling the pace of the game. Meanwhile, Alexander looked much more collected than on Saturday, scoring 11 points on 5/9 shooting and flashing some of the skills that made him a lottery pick.

The Bucks came out looking fairly flat and fell behind by 22-14 after the first quarter, duplicating their lifeless performance on Saturday against Memphis.  They trailed 27-15 three minutes into the second quarter when the big man combo of Matt Freije (9 pts, a pair of charges drawn) and Olumide Oyedeji (10 pts, 8 boards) sparked a 13-0 run that gave the Bucks their first lead. 

Sessions closed the half with a pair of buckets to give the Bucks a 32-30 edge at the interval.  The teams were tied at 50 after three, but Racine native Matt Lojeski scored seven quick points in the the first three plus minutes of the fourth, putting the Bucks ahead for good.

Continuing to build on his stat-stuffing finish to the 07/08 season, Sessions was the best player on the court and provided more evidence that he's ready to be a major contributor this year.  Defenders simply have a hard time staying in front of him, as evidenced by his 26 free throw attempts in two games, and every quarter he seems to make at least one pass where you just say "This guy was born to be a point."  Defensively he doesn't appear to be working that hard but he's also not getting noticeably burned much either.  I'd still prefer that Sessions get a year of seasoning as a sixth man, but the kid can play.  It will be interesting to see if Sessions' play in Vegas has any impact on Mo Williams' whereabouts this fall.

Speaking of youngsters, Alexander bounced back from his 2/13 shooting night by showing off his full offensive arsenal. No, he's not the finished product, but the dude can play, too.  On consecutive possessions midway through the first quarter, Alexander hit a 10-foot banker and buried an open 17-footer, the latter set up by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's drive and dish. 

Alexander sat out the entire second quarter while the Bucks' reserves made their run, but he started the third in style.  Catching on the right wing, he immediately drove to his right past Amir Johnson for a two-handed dunk, providing a glimpse of his aerial prowess.  Alexander then added an unblockable fadeaway from the left baseline before capping his night with a quick-release three from the left wing.  And though he was credited with only two assists, Alexander also showed nice court sense in repeatedly finding teammates for open looks. I counted four nice passes that led directly to Bucks' hoops, but apparently the stats people were a bit asleep at the wheel.

Defensively, Alexander managed to avoid getting pushed around too badly by Pistons PF Amir Johnson. However, Johnson looked a bit off his game all day and the Pistons didn't seem too intent on exploiting Alexander's lack of size.   Alexander wasn't  a factor on the glass for the second straight game and in general still looks a lot more like a 3 than a 4 on the defensive end.

Meanwhile, the Bucks' other draft pick had another workmanlike effort with seven points, six boards and two assists.  Mbah a Moute looked uncomfortable shooting from outside the paint (just 2/10 fg) and didn't give any reason to think he'll be more than a garbageman on the offensive end, but he played solid defense against a tall Pistons' frontline.

Freije makes you nervous handling the ball, but as a floor-spacing big man he's done a nice job converting his open looks this week.  Oyedeji sat out Saturday's game but offered some toughness down low on Tuesday, nicely complementing Freije's perimeter game.  Awvee Storey also saw his first action in Vegas, but went 0/3 from the field, 0/2 from the line, and turned it over twice in just six minutes.