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Bailed Out By a Star: Kings 96, Bucks 95

It's not often you can actually see poor defensive rebounding finish off a team. Usually, the poor defensive rebounding puts the team in question in a bad position at the end of the game, and something else spells explicit doom. But, had it not been for the irrepressible Tyreke Evans, who made mincemeat pie of stud Bucks center Andrew Bogut on the game-winning bucket, this game would have been settled by Sacramento's terrible defensive rebounding.

Bogut missed two free throws down one with 42 seconds left. Studies have shown that the average NBA team rebounds opponent missed free throws at something like a 90 percent rate. But for roughly the dozenth time this season, the Kings gave up an offensive rebound, with Brandon Jennings somehow sneaking in to get the ball.

But it didn't stop there. Jennings missed a layup attempt. Rebound Bogut. Bogut missed his tip. Rebound Bogut. Another missed Bogut tip. Rebound Jennings, who drives back in and gets fouled by Spencer Hawes. The Kings could have ended the possession four times and taken the lead into the final half-minute. Hawes and Jason Thompson -- the frontcourt of the future -- were both on the floor. This wasn't smallball. This was a bad defensive rebounding team giving the game away on the defensive glass.

Of course, it didn't end up that way, because Thompson was brilliant on offense in the fourth (seven points on 3-3 shooting in the final 2 minutes, 40 seconds), because Hawes finished a monster dunk in the lane, and, of course, because of Evans, who came off a J.T. pick on that final play and deked Bogut all the way back to Tuesday. No blame on Bogey for that one -- what can a big guy do?. It's just another crosshatch in the early canon of 'Reke, one we won't soon forget.

I have no idea how Bogut ended up shooting 6-20 from the floor, given how effortless his possessions near the rim looked. Neither Hawes nor Thompson could stop him -- Bogut ended up getting enough tough bounces and failed tips to turn out an inefficient night, but in most games it wouldn't have gone that way. The only Buck who actually came out with a strongly efficient game was Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (14 points on five FGAs).

As for Jennings-Evans ... well, true to form, Jennings distributed more readily, while Evans owned on the scoreboard and defense. Evans won the battle and the game, but the narrative between those two will be told over the course of careers, not single nights. Can't wait until the war moves to Sacramento in March.

All told, a brilliant bounceback game for the Kings. Revenge against Chicago (just one game worse than Milwaukee right now) is next.