- The Bucks improved to 3-1 in Vegas with their 81-67 win over Minnesota yesterday. Check out our liveblog here, and the JS also has a brief recap. Darius Washington filled in nicely for Ramon Sessions, scoring 19 points along with seven assists, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was all over the place, adding 13 points and 10 boards in just 22 minutes. Joe Alexander struggled from the field (2/11 fg) and finished with just 8 points and four boards. He created plenty of decent looks for himself, but like in the Vegas opener just couldn't get his shot working. Former Vandy PF Matt Freije had another nice shooting night with 16 points on 6/10 fg, while Racine native Matt Lojeski stepped up with 14 points on a tidy 5/7 shooting.
- Sessions sat out the game with a minor hip injury but might play this afternoon when the Bucks finish their week with a game against the Cavs at 5:30 central.
- When asked what the Bucks have been preaching to their youngsters, assistant coach Kelvin Sampson told me after Saturday's game that it's largely about developing good habits. "Just play smart. Many rookies try to do too much, but we've gotten some very nice work from our young guys in that respect."
- Alexander has clearly struggled for consistency on his shot this week (14/43 fg), starting with his 2/13 debut and further compounding his shooting woes with a 2/11 effort yesterday. That will understandably make some fans a bit anxious, especially given the type of monster scoring games we've seen from the likes of Jerryd Bayless and Anthony Randolph, both of whom the Bucks passed on. Bayless looked nearly unstoppable again yesterday in scoring 36 points in the Blazers' win over the Suns.
But Bucks GM John Hammond has made it known from the start that Alexander's game is still raw, and he doesn't seem too concerned with his lottery pick's deference thus far. "If the biggest problem we have with Joe Alexander is that he is a little too unselfish, then that's something we can certainly live with."
- One thing that's been interesting to watch is how the Bucks have come together nicely as a team in spite of the generally chaotic nature of summer league. Sampson notes that much of the credit goes to the guys who have been here before. "Our veterans have been great. Sessions, Storey, and John Thomas are guys who have been extremely selfless in terms of helping our young guys and being vocal leaders. Thomas especially has been doing a great job for us even though he hasn't gotten that many minutes."
- While the additions of Tyronn Lue and Malik Allen mean that there's little chance of any non-roster players from Vegas making it onto the Bucks' opening night roster, Sampson reserved praise for a number of the free agents. "Rod Wilmont and Aaron McGhee have stood out. They've not always gotten major minutes but they've both come in and played their roles nicely. Matt Lojeski has certainly surprised some people and opened eyes with his play, and 'Ole' [Olumide Oyedeji] has done that as well. In general our guys have just had a great attitude and really played as a team."
- If you're keeping score at home, Lue's deal is for one year, $2.2 million while Allen will make $1.3 million next season, slightly above the league minimum for a player of his tenure. Allen also has a player option for 08/09.
Sunday Vegas Notes
By Frank Madden
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