Andrew Bogut did play after all. Despite missing the pregame shootaround with flu-like symptoms, the Bucks most important player made a game effort and collected 16 points (7-11 FG) and 6 rebounds. However, the Bucks are now lottery-bound after falling to the Pacers 89-88 in a closely contested game at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Bucks had a chance to win the game on the final shot. With 2.7 seconds remaining, Keyon Dooling inbounded the ball to Drew Gooden at the top of the three-point circle. Indiana defended well and lacking other options, Gooden took a long three-pointer that careened off the left side of the rim. In all likelihood, Milwaukee’s playoff chances bounced away with it. They trail Indiana by 4 games with only 7 games remaining on their schedule.
Tyler Hansbrough hit 1-2 free throws with with 2:37 remaining. From that point on, the only Pacer points were scored on a Roy Hibbert dunk that turned out to be the decisive basket (see photo below). Hansbrough drew the foul making a spin move into the paint against Corey Maggette. Maggette went down attempting to draw a charge call and Bogut fouled out coming over to help. On the instant replay, it looked to be a clean block. If there was actual contact with Bogut, perhaps it will prove substantial enough to give Tyler the flu.
In a must-win game for Milwaukee, Bogut’s presence helped spur an intense first-quarter push where the Bucks outscored Indiana 22-14. The Bucks’ strong defense held the Pacers to 39% FG shooting and 9 turnovers. The Pacers countered — outscoring the Bucks by 15 points in the second quarter. Indiana never relinquished the lead.
The Bucks limp home to face the 76ers tonight. Bogut (flu) and Delfino (shoulder) are questionable. Carlos hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and only played the first two minutes of the second half.
Watching the Perimeter:
The wing players and outside shooters for the Bucks have proven to be the barometer of their success. Milwaukee wins when it gets production from two or more perimeter shooters. Tonight was not one of those nights — they could not manage to find even one consistent outside scoring threat (although Dooling was accurate on his handful of shots). In the first three quarters of action, the Bucks were 11-39 on field goal attempts outside the paint. Delfino was scoreless in 19 minutes, Salmons shot 3-10 FG, and Gooden made 3-11 FG. Without someone hitting jumpers, Milwaukee cannot win.