State of the Bucks – 1/11/12
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week’s Results:
What a week huh?
The Milwaukee Bucks’ tendency to win at home and lose on the road continued its onward trend. They returned home from their 5-game road trip, having lost all 5, only to hold on to a tight win against the veteran San Antonio Spurs. Of the 4 games in our past Bucks’ week, they looked lackluster and sluggish away from Milwaukee, but ran a much more aggressive game at home. Having Andrew Bogut back for the Spurs game was the obvious difference; the team plays better as a whole when Bogut can eat up a lot of attention from the other team.
Highlights of the Week:
Stephen Jackson waving his arms to pump up the home crowd in the waning minutes in their victory against the Spurs.
Ok, that wasn’t the only highlight. Jackson hit some big shots in that game, scoring 34 points in the victory, and he averaged 18.3 over the 4 games this past week. Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino get some credit for finding some consistency in their shooting, the biggest issue that plagued last year’s team. Milwaukee as a whole shot 51.8% against San Antonio, their second highest percentage of the season. A similar shooting night in Sacramento wasn’t enough to win that game, but that’s the magic effect the Bradley Center has been having.
Defense was the key for the Bucks to salvage their slim lead against San Antonio. Jennings had a steal that he took the length of the court for a dunk and Bogut drew a game-clinching offensive foul on Tim Duncan in the final minute to snap their losing streak. Bogut had a double-double in his return, 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Lowlights of the Week:
So basically, the Milwaukee Bucks cannot win any games on the road or without Andrew Bogut. A healthy Bogut allows the Bucks to elevate the pressure they bring on defense, knowing that a huge hole in the middle of the court is no longer there. His history of injury always leaves fans concerned, and if he can only somehow stay healthy, he might be able to contribute consistently.
As for the play on the road, perhaps the Bucks don’t get grossly out-rebounded by the Kings if Bogut played. Okay, you are right, it’s not fair to continually roll everything back to him. But they’ll have plenty of chances, with 6 of their next 10 on the road. More on that later.
Player of the Week:
Jennings takes the award for the week. He shot 47% in the 4 previous games, well above his usual numbers. His hot streaks in the past have generally been followed by really bad rough patches, and his shooting work over the summer was supposed to greatly improve his shooting rate. So far so good, as his current 42% is a career high.
This Week’s Games:
Confidence. Simply put, it will win a lot of games. A lot. And the Bucks don’t always have it. A win like the most recent one, a late battle against a gritty Spurs team is a big deal. But they can’t translate that into another losing streak. The Bucks need to maintain it, and a great place to start would be at Dallas. The Bucks won there last year, and while Dallas hasn’t looked like the defending NBA champions, it would be a statement win for the growing and developing Bucks. One at a time.
As for the “winnable” games, yeah, I’m done calling games “winnable” for a while.
Player of the Week Count: