Bucks Over Knicks 107-80; At Hawks Tonight; NBA ATS Pick

Box Score

The Bucks controlled the game last night from the start with a 41-19 first quarter.  When shots start dropping everything looks better including energy, effort and defense.  The Bucks out-shot the Knicks 51% to 38%, out-rebounded the Knicks 45-34, and shot seven more free throws, although they only made three more.

Game Notes:

  • Drew Gooden(17pts, 8rebs) - Drew got it started early by playing really aggressive on both ends, in one sequence he was stuck without a dribble and chucked the ball off the backboard to himself for a layup.  The play got the team and crowd going.  Throughout the game it looked as if Gooden nearly has his shot back as even the misses seem in and out.
  • Mbah a Moute(10pts, 8rebs)- Luc’s line was only 10 and 8 but he seems to have an infinity number of plays that do not show up in the box.  Really energetic player that is fun to watch.  He also seemed more aggressive last night on the offensive end.  He just seems to always out-hustle everyone.
  • Brandon Jennings(19pts, 5rebs, 6assts) – Jennings had several chances to get into the open floor where he really excels.  He had a layup and a dunk as well as some assists in the open floor.  Jennings also got hot with the jumper in the first quarter that helped the Bucks to the big first quarter lead.  I would like to see Jennings dominate the ball a tad more at the beginning of games with more pick and roll or drive and kick.  Jennings quickly defers to the wing very early in the possession which I do not care for since Jennings is the Bucks best creator, but I am sure this is part of the play that is called.
  • Andrew Bogut(10pts, 3rebs, 2blks) - Bogut did not have an impressive line but he did make an impact with several scores in the half court which helped the Bucks continue their solid execution.  Bogut also had a great sequence at the end of the third where he had a block on Amare Stoudemire which led to a fast break where Jennings left a pass between his legs to a trailing Bogut for a big two-handed dunk.  Very exciting moment in the game and also important since it stopped a small run by the Knicks that got the game to around 15.  Everywhere on ESPN you will see the big dunk Bill Walker had over Bogut but this play was worth four actual points, and maybe more in momentum.

Good game for the Bucks, very much needed for their overall confidence.

Tonight @ Altanta 

Last night’s win was more that just a normal win.  In the NBA the second game of back to backs are brutal and when these games are on the road they are almost considered a lost cause if the road team gets off to a bad start.  But with the blowout several Bucks played somewhat limited minutes.  Jennings, Bogut and Gooden all played under 28 minutes and Salmons only played 30.  The Bucks have quality depth and should be well rested for tonight’s game especially for a team coming off a game the prior night.

Last night also should provide some much needed confidence on the offensive end.  Shooting for over 50% in the NBA is no joke and may provide the boost the offense needs.  Defense travels very well in the NBA and the Bucks are ranked 6th, if the offense can get up into even the mid-teens the Bucks can get reach the expectations we all have for them.

Preview from AP:

 Atlanta was pushed to the limit in beating Milwaukee during the first round of the 2010 playoffs. Based on the way these teams have started this season, getting the best of the Bucks for one night might not be as difficult for the Hawks this time.

The Hawks look to avoid a third straight loss and continue their recent home dominance over the Bucks on Wednesday night.

Atlanta earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, but needed seven games to beat Milwaukee to reach the second round.

“We made it a tough series,’ Bucks swingman Carlos Delfino said. “To go seven games, I think we did pretty good.’The Hawks held the Bucks to 85.8 points per game on 39.8-percent shooting while going 3-1 at home in that series. Atlanta also has a six-game regular-season home winning streak over Milwaukee (3-5), which is 1-3 on the road this season.After opening this season with six straight wins, the Hawks (6-2) lost 118-114 at home to Phoenix on Sunday and 93-89 at Orlando the next night.

Their latest defeat against the division rival that swept them out of the playoffs in the second round is one first-year coach Larry Drew hopes his team can learn from.

“As I told our guys, ‘Let’s not look at this loss as a moral victory,” Drew said. “We’ve always felt in our hearts all along that we were capable of playing against any team.’

Joe Johnson had 23 points against the Magic and has totaled 57 on 24-of-42 shooting the last two games. He’s averaged 26.8 points in his last five regular season contests versus Milwaukee.

The Bucks try a third time to win back-to-back games this season after beating New York 107-80 at home Tuesday.

Milwaukee, which ranks near the bottom of the league averaging 91.8 points, topped 100 for the second time while shooting a season-high 51.3 percent against the Knicks.

“We’ve been struggling as a team and it was important for us to come out and get a win,” Bucks center Andrew Bogut said.

Brandon Jennings had 19 points and Drew Gooden added 17 for the Bucks, who led 41-19 after the first quarter.

Jennings has struggled early after getting off to a stellar start during his 2009-10 rookie season. The 21-year-old point guard has averaged 14.9 points this season compared to the 25.5 through his first eight games last season.

“I felt like I had to be a little more aggressive,’ said Jennings, who averaged 20.8 points on the road against Atlanta during the playoffs.

Bogut missed the playoffs last season with an elbow injury but has not been much of an offensive factor in his last three games against the Hawks, averaging 10.7 points. However, the 7-footer has averaged 14.7 points and 12.7 boards on the road this season.

Milwaukee could be without Delfino (12.9 ppg) for a second straight game because of a neck strain.

NBA ATS Pick

Milwaukee @ Atlanta -6.5 – I like the Bucks tonight to cover in a close game that comes down to the end.  With the confidence gained last night I would not be surprised if the Bucks can pull it out outright.

My Pick: Milwaukee to cover

Topics: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings, New York Knicks

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