December had been the month of long winning streaks in the NBA. Four teams -- the Celtics, Mavericks, Heat and Knicks -- had winning streaks of at least eight games coming into Monday night. Now, that list is down to three, thanks to the Milwaukee Bucks rallying for a shocking 103-99 win over the Mavericks in Dallas.
Brandon Jennings scored 23 points, Andrew Bogut added 21 and the Bucks' bench had 54 combined for Milwaukee in the win. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 30 points, but nobody else had more than 14. Milwaukee trailed by 20 points at one point in the game, but used a 14-0 fourth-quarter run to take control and come away with the win.
The Bucks then made their move in the third, due in part to Skiles' decision to change things up at the start of the half. Ersan Ilyasova and Chris Douglas-Roberts were rewarded for their good first halves by starting in pace of Larry Sanders and Luc Mbah a Moute, respectively, and they wasted little time in helping the Bucks erase a nine point halftime deficit. CD-R slashed to the cup first in transition for the hoop and foul before drawing a bail-out foul on the next possession. Jennings also got to work, shaking off a slow start to score ten in the period--two threes and a pair of nice drives to his left.
Then, in the fourth quarter, the Bucks picked apart a Mavericks zone defense that has been shutting teams down all season. Milwaukee got some motion in their offense, keying their success. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was pretty blunt in his postgame assessment, via Mavs Moneyball.
"They kicked our ass. I don't know of any simpler way to say it. We're not where we need to be yet.''
Don't look now, but the Bucks have won four of their last five games, with their only loss in that stretch coming to the Heat. They're beginning to show why they were a darkhorse contender in the Eastern Conference.