On a night when the Bucks added two fresh new faces and returned to the arena of their trading partner, it was some old familiar faces doing the real damage.
Luc Mbah a Moute scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the Bucks thrashed the Warriors, 120-98. He was helped greatly by 9 assists from Beno Udrih (in only 20 minutes) and a late scoring burst from Mike Dunleavy, who scored a game-high 24 points.
Newcomers Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh made their Milwaukee debuts — in the city of their former team. Ellis scored 18 points on 6-of-15 field goal shooting, while adding 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Udoh finished scoreless, but grabbed 4 rebounds and blocked a shot in 11 minutes of action.
MVP: Luc Mbah a Moute
Luc was on fire in the first half, shooting 7-for-7 from the field. Specifically, he made shots from 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, 2, and 3 feet.
In all seriousness, Luc was a demon moving without the ball, especially against the zone defense that the Warriors attempted (rather unsuccessfully) in the second quarter. If the Bucks are going to continue their passing ways (33 assists), then they will need targets. In most nights of this winning streak, the target has been Ilyasova. Tonight, Luc Richard filled in handsomely.
Mbah a Moute notched a game-high +/- rating of +35. Monta Ellis was close behind at +33.
Ersan missed the game with a bronchial condition. If anyone should feel bad, it’s Ersan for not getting in on the rout action.
The Bucks were terrific tonight, crushing a bad team handily, and making it pay for mistakes in the most efficient spots on the floor: three-point shots (10-22) and shots at the rim (32 first-half points in the paint).
This should please you: The ball is still zipping around.
The have been 59 instances this season where an NBA teams has scooped out 30 or more assists. The Bucks have now done it four times in the span of eight days — and they won all four of those games. Obviously, this is a good habit to have.
Monta got in on the action, too, on both ends. In addition to his four assists, he received one from Brandon Jennings on perhaps the prettiest play of the night. Ellis curled around a screen and took a pass from Jennings as he dove to the hoop, finishing the play softly with a high floater. It’s only one relatively easy win, but Monta slid into his role gracefully tonight. It was a joy to watch.
This should take the sheen of the streak: The Bucks are beating the dogs.
The Bucks have a five-game winnings streak. It’s hard to pick nits with any five-game winning streaks, especially when the team in question hasn’t had one in over two years. But if there’s a nit to pick, it’s this: the opponents in the streak have a combined record of 84-131 (0.391).
Tweets of the Night:
@dan sinclair: It’s fun to play tanking teams when you employ their old players.
@haralabob: Drew Gooden and David Lee are having quite the battle tonight. First one to play defense wins.
Final verdict: Still fighting.
The Knicks won, so the Bucks are still in a tie for the eighth spot, though they do hold the tiebreaker over New York.
The Bucks move on to play Portland on Tuesday. If the trade deadline trades were any indication, the Blazers might be trying to tank as badly as the Warriors seemed to be doing tonight.