The Philadelphia 76ers have been something of a league darling early on in the 2011-12 NBA season. The Milwaukee Bucks have been largely ignored. The Sixers hadn’t lost at home before the Bucks took the floor against them early Monday afternoon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Bucks hadn’t won on the road. The stage was set, either for something wholly predictable or one of those upsets that would have had analysts and fans alike shrugging their shoulders, owing it to the lockout.
Something wholly predictable happened.
It was so predictable, that Scott Skiles basically called it before it happened. Before the game, Skiles said this to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“For us, we’ve turned it over more in some games recently,” Skiles said. “That will be the end of us, if we have a high turnover game today. We really have to have a low turnover game and try to turn them over.
“The turnover battle is going to be big.”
The Bucks proceeded to lose the turnover battle 16-9, but more importantly, lost the points off turnovers battle 16-2. In a 94-82 battle, those 14 points proved important. If nothing else, this game was a testament to how well Skiles knows his team I suppose. Calling that turnover thing before the game? That’s impressive.
Less impressive was Milwaukee’s continued downward descent on three-point shooting. The three ball was kind to the Bucks in home games against the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons, but cruel in games against the Dallas Mavericks and Sixers. Milwaukee made just three of 14 threes against the Sixers, while Philly poured in 11 threes on 23 attempts.
Between the turnovers and the three-point shooting numbers, this one was easy enough to understand.
More difficult to understand were Andrew Bogut’s strong numbers. Bogut scored a season high 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, dished four assists and blocked three shots, rounding out his stat lie nicely.
But it was the way Bogut scored that was so unique (all stats courtesy of Hoopdata.com).
He made three of six attempts from 16-23 feet. To put that last number in perspective, Bogut was 0-24 last season from 16-23 feet. Two years ago, he made 11 shots from that range and three years ago five shots. It’s a shame Bogut attempted six shots from that range in a game no one saw, because it’s nearly impossible to believe.
It’s also useful that Bogut’s begun to make some shots from long range, because his former skill from 3-9 feet continues to allude him. He missed all four of his shots from 3-9 feet. He’s now 9-44 this season from 3-9 feet and shooting 20.5% from that range on the season. Last season was his worst shooting season from 3-9 feet over the past five and he shot better than 41%. So Bogut is currently shooting twice as bad as he ever has on his baby hook shots and short range post-up shots. Yikes.
On the plus side again, Bogut went 7-7 at the rim Monday. Bogut doesn’t often get a lot of shots at the rim, and typically when he does they are assisted, but Bogut had just one assisted basket at the rim. Having failed to watch the game due to a prior commitment at work, I can’t verify why Bogut was able to attack the rim with so much frequency, but if Bogut’s going to continue to struggle on his short post up shots, he’ll certainly need to find a way to keep putting up such strong numbers at the rim if he wants to maintain as high a shooting percentage as he had Monday afternoon.
And if the Bucks ever want to find a way to win a road game, a high percentage shooting Bogut will surely be a key.