State of the Bucks – Week 8
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Previous and Upcoming Weeks
Last Week’s Results:
vs. Indiana, Won 97-95
vs. Houston, Won 97-91
@ Dallas, Won 103-99
Player of the Week:
The easiest decision of the year! Andrew Bogut shot a terrific 57% from the field during these last 3 games. 4 blocks, 15.7 rebounds and near 21 points will put any player in this “POTW” spot. Bogut has only played 5 games since returning from a minor back injury, during which he also shed the cast from his wrist surgery in April. He’s played at an All-Star level these past few games, and it’s clear that the injured wrist is very close to 100% recovered. His moves around the basket have been dominating, especially on offense. More on Andrew Bogut and his value to the offense in a bit.
Other Standout Players:
Brandon Jennings recorded 10 assists for the first time since late October. It was publicized that Jennings had dinner with Dallas point guard Jason Kidd before their Monday match-up. Kidd gave Jennings advice on putting team first and doing anything to get the win. Jason Kidd has been known for his decision-making and his tough presence on the court in his 16 years in the league. Certainly a good mentor for a young player like Jennings to have.
Highlights of the Week:
Any time your favorite locally-based team defeats a team riding a 12-game winning streak, it becomes a highlight. During the 3 straight wins (and 4 of 5), the Bucks have crept into the 8th playoff seed, which at this point in the season is only a formality. But it can be argued that the Bucks now control their own destiny. A few more stretches like the one they are enjoying now and they’ll be able to claw their way closer to the top of the division. It’s not always easy to beat the top teams, especially on the road.
Disappointment of the Week:
Jennings hit 10 assists for the first time in a while, but only had a total of 10 in the three prior games. It has to be hammered home that Jennings needs to create more for others than for himself. Again, he got those 10 in his last game, after the conversation with potential Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd. But that idea needs to sink in long term.
This Week’s Games:
Wednesday Dec 15th, @ San Antonio
Saturday Dec 18th, vs. Utah
Monday Dec 20th, @ Portland
Tuesday Dec 21st, @ LA Lakers
Things to Watch For:
It’s about time that the Bucks took some winnable performances and actually turned them into wins. That is the good news. The bad news: 68-31 is the combined records of the next 4 opponents. It’s part of a death sentence where the Bucks play 17 of their next 26 games on the road. Milwaukee doesn’t have back-to-back home games until February 5th and 8th. The big win versus Dallas, is that going to help this team turn the corner? We’re about to find out.
Match-up to Watch:
The “Brandon Jennings/Deron Williams” match-up from a few weeks ago reapplies itself, as Utah makes a trip to the Bradley Center. But the rematch of Bogut vs. LA’s Pau Gasol should be interesting. Gasol, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers had the Bucks’ number during a mid-November game in Milwaukee. The rebirth of Bogut could swing that match-up in his favor, assuming the same attitude that beat Dallas remains.
One week ago the topic was the need for confidence. Milwaukee sat 6 games behind an even .500 record, and couldn’t afford to let down during a tough road stretch. They kicked it off right in Dallas, and now it’s about how they digested those wins. Are they feeling proud, satisfied, complacent? Or are they feeling energetic, desired, determined, hungry for more? Andrew Bogut is the best leader this franchise has had in a long time. Just by being out there, his presence changes a game. Most teams don’t have a player that can match-up to Bogut. San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair (6-8, 270), Utah’s Al Jefferson (6-10, 280), and Portland’s Marcus Camby (6-11, 235) will all have a tough time defending Bogut. He needs to dominate in the paint, draw double teams, and work with Jennings to help stretch out a defense. We’re not in the prediction business for these next 4 games, but they should all be fun to watch.
Milwaukee Brian’s Bucks Report runs from Wednesday-Tuesday and covers all the highlights, all the highs and lows of the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks season. Topics can be found at Pocket Doppler – The Wisconsin Sports Blog and Milwaukee Brian Sports