The Charlotte Bobcats have gotten some strong offensive performances from their roster of late, but their defense remains as porous as ever. Thankfully the Milwaukee Bucks took advantage, blowing past their previous season high in scoring with minutes to spare and earning their biggest win of the season, 131-102.
Larry Sanders set another career high in points, finishing with 24 on 11-19 shooting and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova scored 22, eclipsing 20 points for the 3rd-straight game. He was a perfect 4-4 from deep and 8-13 overall. But Monta Ellis was once again the man making everything go, racking up 14 of his 19 points in the second half and dishing a career-high 14 assists. He also had 6 steals, matching his season high. J.J. Redick (20 pts, 8-12 FG, 2-5 3PT) and Mike Dunleavy (15 pts, 7 rebs) provided a solid spark of the bench. Brandon Jennings earned 19 points of his own behind some hot three-point shooting in the first half but was glued to the bench in the fourth quarter yet again.
While the offense was sensational as a whole, the defense was hardly elite, particularly in the first half when Milwaukee's defensive rating was a startling 125.0. Considering the opponent, it was one of the worst defensive halves the Bucks have played all season. But it was also dependent on excellent shooting by the Bobcats, as the Bucks dominated essentially every other facet of the game. When they clamped down in the second half (or perhaps, when the Bobcats started missing more shots), things got comfortably out of hand (+38.1 efficiency differential after the break).
Charlotte was led by a strong outing from Kemba Walker, who scored 27 points on 8-11 shooting and made 11 of his 13 free throws. Gerald Henderson added 17 as well. The Bobcats committed 21 turnovers and got battered on the boards, however, and couldn't hang with the Bucks when the layup line finally shut down.
The Bucks, now 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the 7th seed, host the Minnesota Timberwolves (who helped the Bucks out Monday by taking down the Celtics) Wednesday night.