State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Previous and Upcoming Weeks

Last Week’s Results :

vs. San Antonio, Lost 91-84

@ Philadelphia, Lost 95-94

@ Houston, Lost 93-84

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story when it comes to sports. Better yet, some numbers need other numbers to make an attempt at a complete story. Mix in the proper amount of analysis and insight and you are on your way.

Case in point, the Milwaukee Bucks have lost their last 3 games by a total of 17 points. It can be argued that the Bucks have remained competitive throughout these few contests. The problem when it comes to hanging around with another team on the scoreboard is that it only works when a team maintains a consistent performance. While Milwaukee has lost the last three by an average of 5.7 points, the numbers that make up that stat are deceiving.

48 minutes make up an entire NBA game, and the Bucks have had issues putting together a full game. In their three losses this past week, they were outscored in the second half by a total of 19 points. The second quarter has been their best, with Milwaukee owning a +5  advantage in that quarter. This is a basketball team that has made a habit of digging deep holes this year. Their defense has been able to bring them back out of large deficits, but their stagnant offense has been unable to put them over the top. They’ve shot a “better than their average” 43.6% this last week, but it is clearly not enough, no matter how good or bad your opponent might be.

Player of the Week :

Corey Maggette was the only bright spot on offense, comfortably making 54% of his shots and attacking the basket to draw fouls, hitting 89% from the free throw line. That’s all great stuff, because they Bucks struggle sorely on the offensive end. Team defense still holds teams below most league averages, but it is on this end that Maggette stands out most. For a player who was expected to be a liability on defense, Maggette hasn’t disappointed. Coach Scott Skiles has been playing him, recently from a starting spot, because of the desperate need for scoring. Because of that, it’s impossible to send the “defense = playing time” message Skiles has preached so often.

Other Standout Players :

Drew Gooden has done what Maggette has at a lower level this week. His offensive contributions were a bit less, but the setbacks on defense are also less when compared to Maggette. Still, after missing a considerable amount of time, it’s good to see Gooden getting back into shape.

Highlights of the Week :

The Bucks clawed back in the first half after digging a deep hole against Philadelphia. They actually won the second half to make the game interesting, but could not convert in the closing seconds to win the game. Still, the resilience to battle back against a team that shot 57% can be a bright spot for those desperately seeking a bright spot.

Disappointment of the Week :

Philadelphia and Houston were both teams Milwaukee should have beaten. They appear to get tired and let other teams get away from them. 0-3 is a bad week no matter how it’s spun.

This Week’s Games :

Wednesday Jan 19th, vs. Washington

Friday Jan 21st, @ Cleveland

Saturday Jan 22nd, vs. Memphis

Monday Jan 24th, @ Chicago

Things to Watch For :

Between the Cleveland and Memphis games marks the halfway point of the season. In all fairness, the Bucks have had bigger injury issues than most teams, and have played a very tough slate of teams in the first half. Their second half is much easier, possibly the easiest in the league. But no one is going to give in just because they get a few dates with some softer opponents. It is their opportunity to grab, because at this point a .500 record still makes the playoffs, and a short run could put them close to that.

Final Thoughts :

The Bucks are hoping to have Brandon Jennings back by the end of the month. The timeframe for Carlos Delfino is still a bit cloudy but is becoming a bit more optimistic. While Milwaukee has worked hard to maintain a quick rate of basketball with backup point guards Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins, they just don’t have the same effect that Jennings does. Defenses put more attention on Jennings which is good for the other 4 players on the court.

It’s going to be a while before the Bucks can claim to be healthy, and they won’t have two days off in a row for 2 and a half weeks. Their inability to play 48 full minutes of basketball could be trouble unless they fight through some fatigue. At this point they still have a shortened roster with Brian Skinner departing and Michael Redd indefinitely injured. There will be a lot of minutes to spread around, something that the bench players should be looking forward to. There is no better time than right now to start taking care of business.

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


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