Andrew Bogut has yet to hit his stride on the court this season, but the Bucks don't seem likely to hit theirs without him.
With Bogut a late scratch due to a concussion suffered late in Thursday's win over the Pistons, the Bucks offered little defensive resistance in Dallas, hanging with the defending champions for less than a quarter en route to their seventh road loss in as many tries. Not coincidentally: five of those losses have come without Bogut. Vince Carter set the tone by facing up and driving past Carlos Delfino for a monster flush on the opening possession, and he did it again a few trips later en route to a 14-point first half.
And one half was really all the Mavericks needed. The Bucks' starters played it close for most of the first quarter thanks to early hot shooting from Brandon Jennings (19 points, 7/12 fg, 3/4 threes, 4/4 ft, 4 rebs, 1 ast, 1 to) and Stephen Jackson, but wholesale changes with just over two minutes remaining in the first would mark the end of the Bucks' competitiveness. Jason Terry and Lamar Odom sparked a 10-3 run to end the quarter before Odom and Roddy Beaubois scored the first five of the second to swell a 22-20 Maverick advantage into a more crooked 37-23 advantage.
And while the Bucks may have come back from a 20-point deficit in Dallas a year ago, they wouldn't get any closer than nine this time around. Dallas scored 26 in the paint and shot 58% overall in the first half, including 6/12 from deep, and they didn't cool much in the second, finishing at 52% for the night. Dirk Nowitzki cracked the 23,000 point mark in the first half but was barely needed in the end, with his 11 points on seven shots coming in just 22 minutes.
No Maverick played more than Terry's 25 minutes or scored more than his 17 points, but with a bench pouring in 55 points and a defense that locked the Bucks down for the final three quarters it didn't matter. The Mavs showed hard on the Bucks' P&R action and rotated with precision all night, all while showing little concern for the Bucks' interior (in)abilities. Jennings and Shaun Livingston (15 pts, 6/8 fg, 1 ast, 0 to) were the only Bucks to find any consistent seams in the Maverick defense, though it spoke volumes of the Bucks' toothless attack that their point guards scored 34 points (on just 20 shots) but managed just two assists combined.
Shaun Livingston. Livingston couldn't miss from mid-range, saving a series of ugly possessions with late-in-the-clock pull-ups from his favored 10-15 range.
Brandon Jennings. Jennings buried a pair of triples to keep the game close in the early going, but another tidy shooting night wasn't nearly enough, especially with Beaubois (7/12 fg, 15 pts) and Delonte West (3/5 fg, 8 pts, 4 ast) doing plenty of damage themselves.
Jon Brockman. Brockman's insertion late in the second quarter felt like a white flag, but what his first significant minutes of the season lacked in meaning they made up for in...well, rebounds. In 19 minutes, Brockman grabbed half of the Bucks' offensive rebounds (6) and a quarter of their total boards (9). Hey, at least one guy on the team still remembers how to clean the glass.
52%. The Bucks allowed better than 50% shooting for the third time in four games.
55. Dallas' bench scored 55 points on 43 shots.
+15. The Bucks turned it over only once more than the Mavs (19-18), but surrendered 15 more points off turnover (33-18).
Three One Good
Still perfect at home! Even the glass half-full types will have a hard time finding a silver lining in this one. Aside from the basic disappointment of seeing Skiles' crew lose in lopsided fashion, the youngsters provided little solace and Bogut's status for Monday's game remains unclear.
Bogut's brain. Bogut knocked his head on the court after Ben Gordon crashed into him on Thursday, but continued to play the final few minutes against Detroit despite looking visibly shaken by the blow. In previous seasons he might have still played in Dallas, but the NBA's new concussion guidelines required that he first pass an assessment specifically designed to safeguard players against the dangers of playing with head injuries. Unfortunately he could not pass the test, but there should also be no questioning his absence. Given Bogut's migraine history and the Bucks' concussion problems a year ago, the last thing the Bucks should be doing is endangering Bogut's livelihood.
The defense rests. Another worrying effort from the Bucks' defense, which has looked increasingly pedestrian in the absence of both Andrew Bogut and Luc Mbah a Moute. At times it didn't seem like Dallas could miss, but the Bucks didn't make it particularly difficult on them either.
The kids are not alright. Blowouts normally provide a good opportunity to give young players some burn, but there was precious little consolation in the performances of Jon Leuer (12 minutes, 1/3 fg), Tobias Harris (1/6 fg), Larry Sanders (0/2, 6 fouls) and Darington Hobson (0/8 fg, scoreless).