The Bucks had a lot of things going well for them in the first half. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis hit their three point shots and generally scored well. The Bucks had as many offensive rebounds (11) as the Hornets had on the defensive glass. The referees, unlike so many games in November, were calling the whistle when the Bucks drove the paint. The Bucks earned 17 shots at the line in the first half.
But despite all the things that were going well, the Bucks never built much of a lead. In fact, they were down at the half, 53-50, even after Monta Ellis hit a prayer of a three-point bank shot at the buzzer. So many of those advantages were wasted by the Bucks. The only converted 11 of the 17 free throws. Despite crushing the offensive glass, they had the same number of second-chance points (13) as New Orleans. And even though they generated a lot of nice shots, the Bucks missed a bunch of easy looks and worse, they had no answer for Robin Lopez coming out of the high pick-and-roll on the other end.
That’s right, Robin Lopez killed them. The Bucks lost, 102-81.
The Hornets worked high pick-and-roll to near perfection. Greivis Vasquez dribbled over screens set by Lopez, Jennings would fight (overstatement alert) his way over the top of the screen and chase the ball from behind. When Ekpe Udoh came over the help slow Vasquez’ penetration, Lopez rumbled down the lane for the finish. Lopez made eight of his ten field goals on the night while generally looking like the second coming/Sideshow Bob version of Robert Parish.
The Bucks often had trouble bringing a third man into the play because A) he was guarding three-point threat Ryan Anderson (who is, to the best of my knowledge, a very rich man’s Ersan Ilyasova), or B) he was Monta Ellis.
Without Beno Udrih, the Bucks uncharacteristically lost the battle of turnovers, 16-8.
John Henson started and scarcely did anything memorable save for a nice assist to Monta. But he did miss two free throws badly near the end of the first half, shots that could have helped generate an iota of momentum. He has now made 42% of his free throws on the season — numbers which aren’t far off what he did at North Carolina.
Luc Mbah a Moute looks really, really healthy. He may need some time to get his defensive Spidey Sense fully honed in, but there’s a burst in his legs that just wasn’t there last season.
Larry Sanders blocked seven shots. He now has 22 blocks in his last three games.
We just discovered in Austin Rivers’ Q&A that some of his favorites are Drake, Lil Wayne, and Entourage. Rivers is the worst.
— Ticktock6 (@ticktock6) December 4, 2012