Dallas traveled to all the way up nort' to Milwaukee for an old-fashioned Texas shootout. The Mavericks drew first, but the Bucks were the last ones standing, 133-99.
In between worrying about Bogut's health, a playoff chase, and dwindling defense, the Bucks banded together to deliver fans the great gift of beautiful, beautiful basketball. And for that, I say to the twelve different point-scorers tonight, thank you: Charlie, Michael, Ramon, Richard, Joe, Dan, Luke, Luc, Francisco, Damon, Malik, and Tyronn.
Charlie Villanueva led the Bucks' barrage of bullets, firing for 32 points. Redd was ready in the holster, pouring in 27 more. And there was plenty of ammunition in backup to finish the job, as Ramon Sessions flourished with 21 points off the bench. When the damage was done, and the final records recorded, Milwaukee finished with 133 points, the second time they have hit for at least 129 in regulation this week.
Charlie Villanueva. A truly momentous night for the starting power forward. Two early fouls spelled trouble for the Bucks, but instead, the letters CV spelled trouble only for the Mavs. We have rarely been treated to such sheer amazement by Charlie -- and his career catalog boasts plenty of amazing moments. Charlie Villanueva, tonight, is what a deserved +37 differential looks like, ladies and gents.
Ramon Sessions. If Villanueva played like Nowitzki, then Ramon played like the Jet. Swimming through seas of blue defenders, Ramon piled up more points in the game's first 20 minutes -- 17 -- than he had scored in an entire game in more than a month and a half. I couldn't commit to italicizing any part of that, but it's all quite fascinating. Mimicking a classic Jason Terry sixth man performance, Sessions strung together six straight makes by halftime. As an encore, he distributed the ball to the many Milwaukee shooters and slashers, completing his night with seven assists. The point guard impressively finished one free throw conversion shy of a perfect shooting night: 7-7 from the field, 1-1 from deep, and 6-7 at the stripe. If you can remember way back to when the Mavs were winning (and looking good doing so), Sessions (along with Redd) started splurging on points in the second quarter and that was the beginning of the end for Dallas.
Michael Redd. Three is always the theme in our recaps, but it was also the winning team's theme tonight. And Michael personified the the three theme nicely. The lefty swung in five triples, each of them appreciated more than the one before. Redd was terrific tonight in pretty much every regard, even adding an emphatic blocked shot to his already happy line: 27 points and 7 rebounds on 10-16 from the field.
- 79. Many magic numbers in this one, and I'll start with 79, the number of points the Bucks scored combined in two consecutive quarters -- the second and third. In comparison, the Bucks only scored 85 points in four quarters the last time out. Milwaukee followed a sizzling 42-point second quarter with 37 more in the third.
7. You might think it's odd to single out the number of Maverick turnovers when there are so many pretty Milwaukee-only numbers to pick from. But how truly incredible is it that the Bucks scored 133 points in 48 minutes without Bogut and against a good team that only turned the ball over seven times? The number seven also represents the number of assists that three Bucks (Jefferson/Ridnour/Sessions) reached or passed.
- 18. The Bucks attempted one more field goal than the Mavericks (83-82), but sure crammed a lot into that one extra opportunity by making 18 more shots (48-30) than Dallas. After allowing some recent opponents to shoot 50 %, the Bucks threatened to shoot 60 %, settling for 57.8 %.
O my. If Milwaukee is really done with the very excellent defense after all (or at least while Bogut is out) then dandy offense like this will come in rather handy. Great ball movement, sensational shooting, and crisp passing only tells part of the story. That offense played like, well, the Mavericks in their day a few years back. Baskets from all nooks and corners of the court, a real offensive tour de force.
Today was a good day. The pinnacle of the Larry Krystkowiak era came early -- on Nov. 24, 2007 to be precise -- when the Mavericks visited the Bradley Center and Milwaukee prevailed for a fifth straight win. The Bucks were
a playoff lock at7-4, and life in the Cream City was sweetly smooth. Milwaukee entered this year's matchup fading dangerously from the .500 mark. Enter the Mavericks and the BC. This result was again winningly wonderful. Only this time, it's a huge highlight, but not the high point of the Scott Skiles era. Not up until now, and most certainly not going forward. That's exciting. Sounds simple, but... for the players (witness the grins) and fans alike, this game was great fun all around.
- Ramon's back on. Do you ever wonder what Sessions might do with 30+ minutes per game? Well, that happened once, and it was called November 2008. Here's what happened: 15.6 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds on .444/.200/.809. Sometimes, I wonder which came first: Ramon's reduced minutes or Ramon's reduced effectiveness. His minutes have been halved since November, during which time he hasn't played all that well, plainly and simply. While CV is a known enigma, I also genuinely don't think we know quite what to make of Ramon yet. I do know the second-rounder has shown more moments of brilliance in his first calendar NBA season (remember that part) at point guard than the average lottery pick. I'm not calling for Ramon to play 30+ nightly, either. Just wondering, while basking in tonight's glory.
- RJ's non-tripdub. I thought it would be pretty cool for Richard Jefferson to reach triple double numbers (15/7/8) and not crack the Three Bucks. Add four or five more minutes onto RJ's 30 and that would've been a real possibility.
The ATL. On my way back to the States the other week, my flight got canceled so I had to stay overnight in Atlanta. It wasn't even warm outside. And I had to wake up at like 3:45 a.m. At that point, I just wanted to be back in Milwaukee, even if it was -255 degrees or whatever. After a win like this, the Bucks probably wouldn't mind staying home in Milwaukee rather than go to Atlanta. Looking back though, it was probably more fun with the surprise stop. Maybe the Bucks will feel the same after making a scheduled trek to the ATL.
- Seriously? Not getting the third in Three Bad tonight, sorry. Even when Francisco Elson hurled a full court shot at the third quarter buzzer, the crowd (or was that just me?) seemed to think the ball would end up in the hoop -- and seemed surprised when it didn't.