Giannis Antetokounmpo looks on in despair in the waning moments of Wednesday’s loss.
*Editor’s note: Tonight’s recap was written by Behind the Bucks contributor Peter Myhrer.
In a play that serves as a perfect microcosm for the entire game, the Denver Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler threw up a mid-range prayer with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter that struck front iron, ricocheted upwards, gave the top of the backboard a little love tap and then proceeded to fall graciously through the hoop.
To put it briefly, the Nuggets’ sloppy play worked out – the Bucks’ sloppy play did not.
The Bucks notched their 40th loss of the season Wednesday, falling 100-110 at the Pepsi Center. The game resulted in a loss despite an explosive night from eccentric big man Larry Sanders. Sanders scored a career-high 25 points on an uncharacteristically high 19 shots and added 15 rebounds on his way to a double-double. Responding surprisingly well from an early first quarter technical foul, Sanders was active all night on the offensive glass, notching more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds (8:7).
In a game that produced three jump ball scenarios (four counting tip-off), 36 turnovers, and a seemingly infinite number of disgruntled reactions from players upset over non-calls, the 9-40 Bucks hung around and battled back numerous times when Denver began to pull away. Despite winning the first half battle 52-51, the mile high Denver air may have been a little too thin for the Bucks’ liking, as a sluggish third quarter resulted in a 84-72 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets let Sanders and Co. back in the game late in the fourth as the Bucks trimmed the lead down to just three points after a Giannis Antetokounmpo jumper with 2:13 remaining. Ultimately, the Nuggets pulled away for good by taking advantage of a bonus situation, making five of their six free throw attempts in the closing moments of the game.
Ty Lawson paced the Nuggets with a cool 18 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Wilson Chandler and Randy Foye chipped in 24 and 20, respectively.
- Nate Wolters started his fourth straight game despite pre-game reports that he was battling a head cold. He turned in a quality effort, but his performance seemed to take a hit due to the illness, shooting just 2-7 from the field for a total of four points in 28 minutes of play.
- Khris Middleton turned in another sizzling game from behind the arc, shooting 5-8 on the three pointers. Dating back to Monday’s game against New York, Middleton is a red hot 10-14 shooting the long ball.
- Veteran point guard Luke Ridnour left the game in the second quarter due to back tightness. No timetable on his return to the rotation. He joins Ekpe Udoh (ankle), Gary Neal (back spasms), and Caron Butler (ankle) on the shelf.
- The Bucks travel back home after tonight’s game to face James Harden and the Rockets this Saturday night.
Scoring: Chandler (24), Sanders/Middleton (25)
Assists: Lawson (13), Knight (8)
Rebounds: Hickson (10), Sanders (15)
Blocks: Roye (4), 5 tied with (1)