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Heat 78, Bucks 58: Long week continues

Box Score

With fives games in seven days, the Bucks knew this would be a long week, particularly given the shortage of talent they were bringing with them to Nevada. And four games in, they're looking increasingly tired and uncompetitive. After a bright start by Larry Sanders and the mysteriously acquired Sun Yue helped the Bucks to a 20-14 first quarter lead, Miami simply outworked and outplayed the Bucks for the final 30 minutes of the game.

Sanders was again a force on defense but up and down on the offensive end, while Micah Downs finally found his stroke after scoring just six points (all in game one) up until now. Downs did almost all his damage off catch-and-shoot plays, hitting 5/7 threes on his way to a game-high 21.

I'll be at the games tomorrow and Sunday, so we'll have a bit more coverage on non-Bucks stuff as well. Randomly-sourced gossip of the night? After I explained that I was here for summer league, my Russian cabbie mentioned he gave a ride to an NBA player yesterday, though he didn't remember his name. But he said he played for two years in Cleveland and was now with Milwaukee, which made it obvious that it was Darnell Jackson. The cabbie claimed Jackson thought he might be heading to Miami next...and that he was a bad tipper. Do with that what you will.

On to player discussions after the jump.

Larry Sanders - 34 min, 5/14 fg, 4/6 ft, 14 pts, 8 reb, 5 blk, 3 to, 4 pf
Sanders got off to a quick start, working a nice high-low with Tiny Gallon for a layup and then showing off his little man skills by using a hesitation dribble to setup a contested 17-footer. Late in the first he buried a spot-up 20-footer from the right wing and had eight points after just a quarter, looking on the verge of another big offensive game.

But the downside of a big man making early jumpers is that it encourages him to just shoot jumpers, and Sanders got a bit too ambitious as the game went on. An airballed jumper here, a misfired step-back there. It's clear in the post he'd rather step back and shoot a jumper than back his man down and put up a hook shot, which isn't ideal given the physical skills he brings to the table.

Defensively, he continues to flash terrific upside. He blocked another five shots tonight, though it's worth mentioning that Shavlik Randolph got enough open looks to post 18 points on him.

Tiny Gallon - 23 min, 1/6 fg, 0/1 threes, 1/3 ft, 9 rebs, 1 ast, 7 pf, 8 to
Gallon hasn't made much progress this week, but all you can do is give him time and hope he figures things out. He's been most effective as a rebounder and does seem to find good positions to catch the ball around the hoop, but he mostly looks more interested in stepping outside to snap off errant jump shots.

Sun Yue - 19 min, 2/6 fg, 0/3 threes, 3/3 ft, 7 pts, 3 ast, 4 to
It's not like I expect him to make the roster, but Sun's an interesting player despite having played just 28 minutes of NBA ball since being drafted by the Lakers in the second round in 2007. At this point the odds are clearly stacked against him ever becoming a legit NBA player, but to his credit he's not just a tall athlete masquerading as a point--he does seem to have some legit playmaking skills.

Coming off the bench, Sun started promisingly with a three-point play late in the first quarter, using a screen to work his way to the foul line and drain a jumper despite contact. He followed it up with a turnaround out of the post a short while later, and near the end of the quarter put the Bucks up six with perhaps the highlight of the game. He spun past a defender in the backcourt, drove the length of the court and pulled up just short of the rim to flip a lob pass to Sean Williams, whose man had been forced to commit to Sun's drive.

At 6'9" he's enormous for a PG, but does a good job keeping his dribble low and his long strides helped him skip past smaller defenders a couple times. Still, there's a reason why you rarely seen point guards who are even 6'5"--they can't keep up on defense.