Bucks Sunday – 1/22/12
The Milwaukee Bucks broke their early season road winless stretch in a big way, taking victories at both New York and Miami. It was quite the turnaround for a team that previously went 0-8. Not surprisingly, it was the Bucks’ defense that allowed them to be victorious. Both the Knicks and Heat were limited to under 40% shooting, something Milwaukee generally excels at.
Also contributing to their win was the ability to control the flow of the game on offense. The Bucks finally look like a team that wants to play well together, albeit for 2 games. The passing game has become more of an ally than an obstacle. Actively and rapidly swinging the ball around the perimeter is something they didn’t often do last year, which had an impact on their horrific team shooting percentage. While it’s nothing to brag about this year, it’s an improvement. The biggest difference for Brandon Jennings so far this year is that he is choosing his shots much better. He plays much more patient and controlling than he used to and it’s helping him connect more often, plain and simple.
While Milwaukee hasn’t been allowing themselves to make too many dumb mistakes, they were able to dial up a ton of pressure defensively against both New York and Miami, forcing plenty of turnovers and capitalizing from it. And from the string of technical fouls Miami rattled off in the 2nd quarter, you could tell the Bucks were causing plenty of frustration.
Stephen Jackson sat out the Knicks game after missing the team shootaround that morning. While he clearly wanted to play, he sat calmly at the end of the bench, readily offering any encouragement. Perhaps it might have given him a bit extra motivation, watching from the bench perspective as this young Bucks team played it’s suffocating defense. Against Miami, Jackson played a huge roll late in the game as the Heat tried to rally. As much criticism as Jackson has gotten this season, he sure is busting his butt to fit in with the chemistry of the team.
Two road wins. What else can we say? There was the hard foul as Bogut fell to the ground against Miami. He tightly held his lower back as he hurried down court, but seemed to mostly walk it off. He fouled out and didn’t have to finish the game. Anytime Bogut hits the floor hard, it falls under the “Ugly” category.
Stat of the Weekend
The Milwaukee Bucks went 30-34 from the free throw line against Miami. They are in the top-10 in the league from the charity stripe, a huge jump from last year. At the same time, the Bucks are averaging under 20 attempts per game, right near the bottom of the league.
@ New York, Won 100-86
@ Miami, Won 91-82
Monday Jan 23rd, vs. Atlanta