The Bobcats looked a lot more like the Bobcats of old on Friday night, and the Milwaukee Bucks took advantage of the situation as they cruised to a 108-93 victory at home. The Bobcats have now lost six straight games, while the Bucks (9-9) are back at .500 on the season.
Ersan Ilyasova led the way with 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 12 rebounds, Marquis Daniels sparked some early offense, Milwaukee grabbed 23 offensive rebounds and Larry Sanders helped out on defense with five blocks as the Bucks put things on cruise control in the second half.
Here's how the game unfolded.
Kemba Walker played the passing lanes and grabbed some early some early steals, but the Bucks steamrolled Charlotte in the first period.
Starquis Daniels...ahem, Marquis Daniels played the role of offensive catalyst as he nailed a corner three, slashed to the rim with authority and became the first player to his double-digits by going 4-for-5 with 10 points over the first eight minutes of the contest. He finished with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added six rebounds and three assists. He also added a few smooth corner threes for style points.
The Bobcats actually outscored the Bucks in the paint (12 vs. 10) and shot a better percentage near the hoop in the first 12 minutes, but they only hit 3-of-11 attempts from mid-range and beyond. Byron Mullens put up four points and three rebounds (two offensive) in his first seven minutes -- he finished with just six points and five rebounds -- but I came away feeling that the Charlotte bigs are an untrustworthy bunch. Nobody really rotated well at the second level for Charlotte, and on offense DeSagana Diop and Bismack Biyombo had trouble doing anything right when the game still mattered.
Separate Biyombo and Sanders block parties erupted near the end of the first quarter, and they continued through the rest of the game. Ramon Sessions was invited to Larry's event (five blocks), while Ersan Ilyasova brought a few presents (timid shots in the lane) to Biyombo's affair (four blocks).
It always feels like Larry Sanders has twice as many blocks as the box score says he does.— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) December 8, 2012
Daniels, Ilyasova and Ellis combined to outscore the Bobcats 25-20 in the first quarter, while the Bucks came away +13.
In the second period, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute picked up the torch from Starquis and assumed the role of offensive catalyst. LRMAM beat up on No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the post and showed off his terrific offensive footwork on a series of slashing plays. He finished three of his first four shots and made the rookie look silly at times on his way to six quick points and nine points for the night. Wait....what?
While I'm busy blowing your mind, I want to ask: is Kemba Walker further along in his development than Brandon Jennings? Kemba displayed great dribble pacing and court awareness in half court offense (16 points on 8-for-13 shooting, six assists, three steals) while Jennings worked well in transition (15 points on 5-of-16 shooting, eight assists, three steals) and still looked a bit undisciplined when the game slowed down. Maybe it's nothing, but that's what I saw when comparing those two very similar players.
In any case, the Bucks continued to build their lead to 58-40 by getting to the line 17 times (LRMAM, Jennings and Ellis had 13 of those FTAs), grabbing 11 of their own misses (Sanders, Daniels and Ilyasova all grabbed multiple offensive boards) and holding the Bobcats to 16-of-43 shooting (37.2%).
Going into halftime it felt like extended appearances from Tobias Harris, John Henson and Doron Lamb would be forthcoming. The Bobcats looked bad and the Bucks looked quite good.
A bald man sitting in the front row just got hit on the top of his head with an errant John Henson shot. Quite the humorous moment, indeed.— Jake McCormick (@Jake_BrewHoop) December 8, 2012
Third quarter comedy
DeSagana Diop, who hasn't scored a single point this year, was wide open in the paint, pump faked 3 times and missed by two feet.— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) December 8, 2012
Tyrus Thomas is giving Desagana Diop offensive advice from the bench. Hm. #MILvsCHA— Jake McCormick (@Jake_BrewHoop) December 8, 2012
The Bobcats stayed sloppy in the third quarter (6-of-18 FGs, two points in the paint) and allowed the Bucks to build a 26-point lead. The rest of the game became garbage time, and there aren't any worthwhile conclusions to draw from NBA garbage time. Drew Gooden entered a game for the first time this season with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter, and he went 0-for-4 from the field and grabbed three offensive rebounds in eight minutes.
Skiles cleared the bench with about six minutes left, as Tobias Harris, John Henson and Joel Przybilla joined Doron Lamb and Gooden. Things got sloppy. Bobcats reserves mounted a late 12-2 run in super garbage time that made the final score look a bit better, but this game was a blowout by the third period.
Gold stars for everyone not on the Bobcats. Yes, even Monta Ellis (13 points, 3-11 FGs, 5 assists) can have one.
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