When I say the name Mo Williams, what comes to your mind?
For me, a lot of things. First, those glorious purple and green uniforms that we’ve all come to miss, even after the Bucks knocked their recent rebrand out of the park a few years ago. The Mo Williams Show also stands out, as at a time in which the product on the court from the Bucks was very mediocre, the off-court entertainment really meshed well. But by far, the moment from Williams that stands out the most is his incredible game-winner vs. the Pacers, a shot that capped off one incredible comeback. Let’s do a deep dive on that November night.
The date? November 12th, 2005. One of the top songs in the country at the time? Gold Digger by Kanye West. The Chicago White Sox had recently swept the Houston Astros in the World Series. I was a fourth grader at the time. As for the Milwaukee Bucks, they had an above .500 start to their new campaign and were heading into this matchup sitting at 3-1.
Milwaukee’s opponent was the Indiana Pacers, a team who had come off a 44-38 record the previous year and the No. 6 spot in the East. This marked the first time the two teams were squaring off against one another in the fresh year.
Indiana would gain control early on throughout the opening two periods, utilizing their talent between Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson, and Ron Artest (boy, you also get quite the trip down memory lane when I mention those names). At halftime, the visitors would lead Milwaukee by 16 points, 56-40. A big difference was the differential in free throws between the two teams. Indiana sat at 14-of-16 from the strip, while Milwaukee converted just 5-of-12.
The Pacers would keep things chugging along until the Bucks began to come alive in the third quarter, rattling off a 21-5 run. Following a pair of free throws from TJ Ford, Milwaukee knotted it all up at 61 apiece.
Despite the strong efforts by the Bucks that had put themselves back into the game, it wasn’t long before Indiana regained control. Ron Artest had a small run to begin the fourth quarter, which helped inspire Jermaine O’Neal to provide a spark with seven points of his own. In the blink of an eye, the Pacers were back up by double digits, 92-79.
However, the Bucks wouldn’t say die. Led by Michael Redd, Milwaukee would scratch and claw their way back into the thick of things. Following an 8-0 run, the Bucks found themselves back in the single-digit range at 96-90 with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Redd’s 12 points down the stretch would be crucial, especially as he knocked down three free throws after being fouled by Anthony Johnson behind the 3-point line.
Those free throws sliced Indiana’s lead to just a single point at 101-100. On the Pacers’ next possession, Fred Jones was fouled, which resulted in him splitting a pair of free throws (Indiana missed ten down the stretch). Then, with no timeouts remaining, Bobby Simmons got the rebound and the following chaos unraveled:
There are so many things to take away from that video. Williams’ celebration of crouching down to the floor as the shot was in the air was iconic. I remember my brother and I mimicking it in our driveway on our hoop for weeks to come. Jim Paschke absolutely killed the call, even though he just used three simple words: “Williams, three...YES!!!!” And how about Johnny Mac just losing his mind and yelling out “THEY WON THE GAME...UNBELIEVABLE...THEY WERE DEAD!” at the top of his lungs? Man, what a night at the Bradley Center.
What do you remember about this game? Let us know in the comments! Our Brew Hoop Co-Editor Mitchell Maurer was actually at this game...and says he blogged about it on his MySpace! Look at him connecting with Bucks fans before the existence of Brew Hoop.
Also, if you have any suggestions of a deep dive you think would be fun to go back and take a look at, suggest it as well! Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy.