State of the Bucks – Week 12
State of th e Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Previous and Upcoming Weeks
Last Week’s Results :
@ Orlando, Lost 97-87
vs. Miami, Lost 101-95 OT
@ New Jersey, Won 115-92
@ Atlanta, Postponed
The Bucks finally won a “winnable” game, and that is a great way to start off a new “State.” Of all the other teams 7 games below .500, the Bucks can argue being the best. Beating a team with a 10-27 record might not be terribly impressive, but it’s the way Milwaukee carried over it’s energy from the loss to Miami that stood out.
The Bucks lost to the Heat for the second time in four days this past Friday, but it was a much different game the second time around. Fans know that divisional battles are fought harder than others, and LeBron James spent 7 years in the division. Besides being league enemy #1, the Bucks know him well, and the games are tough and intense. Milwaukee treated the New Jersey game like it was an extension of the Miami game and completely thrashed them.
That was of course the second game of a back-to-back. They have since dealt with problems flying in to Atlanta, only to have the game postponed due to weather concerns. I guess after the Charlotte/Memphis game, attended by under 1000 people due to snow and icy roads, the NBA would rather just move all it’s games to the summer time. So the Bucks have had an extra day off, while traveling to Atlanta and right back to Milwaukee. Will the same team that fought against Miami and stomped on New Jersey continue to show up?
Player of the Week :
Chris Douglas-Roberts gets the nod here for carrying the scoring load in the team’s current condition. He put up 24 in New Jersey and 30 against Miami, all off the bench. CD-R got some starting time earlier in the season, but coach Scott Skiles seems content on his bench crew. As long as CD-R can be happy not being a starter but still getting starter’s minutes, everyone will be fine.
Other Standout Players :
Andrew Bogut did play the Miami game and brought down a career-high 27 rebounds. But when Bogut missed the game in New Jersey, Ersan Ilyasova took the start at center and had a nice 22 point, 13 rebound, 10 of 14 shooting night. It was a very efficient way to fill in Bogut’s place on a shorthanded roster.
Highlights of the Week :
While a lot of the Bucks’ injured players are still on an undetermined hiatus, it’s likely that they will be getting Drew Gooden make in the next few days. Andrew Bogut missed the last game with a viral infection and will hopefully be back to 100%. The return of Gooden, missing a chunk of time due to a nagging foot injury, would be a big help for the team.
Disappointment of the Week :
Really? A city down south gets a tiny bit of snow and shuts everything down? Whatever you do, don’t tell Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell about it .
This Week’s Games :
Wednesday Jan 12th, vs. San Antonio
Friday Jan 14th, @ Philadelphia
Monday Jan 17th, @ Houston
Their 15-man roster dropped a spot after Brian Skinner was sent on his way. Michael Redd is still out for an indeterminate amount of time, and it might be a while before we get to see any combination of Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino, or even Drew Gooden. Bringing 10 players out each night can be a challenge, and that becomes even more so when Andrew Bogut misses a game and the team suits up 9 players. The effort the team had in the 9-player win over the Nets was one of their best of the year, and they’ll need all they can get to hang with the league-leading San Antonio Spurs. The Bucks came within a Spurs’ buzzer-beater of winning the last matchup, December 15th in San Antonio. The Bucks played very well on that Western Conference road trip, but don’t always take advantage of their own home court crowd.
Match-up to Watch :
San Antonio’s defense vs. the Bucks’ offense: everyone knows how the Bucks defense should be able to step up against the Spurs and their veteran offense. But how will the Bucks do with their own offense? Milwaukee shot a season high 58.3% in their last performance, but have spent the last 3 days being shipped all over the country. Will that downtime be a deflation for them? As for the Spurs, led by Tim Duncan, they have been one of the smarter, more successful defensive teams in the past decade. You always know what they are going to bring.
Final Thoughts :
After San Antonio, Milwaukee gets to the eye of the storm, if you will. After a terribly-difficult stretch of games, the Bucks only face 5 teams with winning records in their next 25 games. This is desperately what they need; a chance to fight through their remaining injury troubles against some easier teams. The goal should be to come out the other side of the stretch above a .500 record. The next 25 games carries them past the All-Star break and the trade deadline, into the early part of March. They will know where they stand at that point for the rest of the season.
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 se ason. Topics can be found at Pocket Doppler – The Wisconsin Sports Blog and Milwaukee Brian Sports