State of the Bucks – 2/8/12
State of the Bucks – A Weekly Review and Preview for the Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week’s Results:
Falling back on old times, the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a disappointing letdown after some high-energy victories in the last few weeks. The loss last night to the Phoenix Suns stung a little extra after Suns’ point guard Steve Nash hit the go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and the Bucks failed to even get off a tying attempt at the buzzer.
Phoenix ran the ball well, something they were expected to do. It appeared to be a blowout for most of the game, with Milwaukee struggling to keep pace with the Suns. While Milwaukee was able to catch up defensively in the second half, the hole they had dug was just too deep to overcome. They crawled back to take the lead in the 4th but had expended a ton of energy just getting to that point.
The Bucks fell behind hot shooting Phoenix in the first half, lead partially by former Buck Michael Redd. In his first game back to Milwaukee, he scored most of his 14 points in a 2nd quarter stretch off the bench. He moved well on the court, having worked hard to recover from major knee surgery. Redd certainly invoked memories of his career with the Bucks, one of the best in team history.
This was another of those rare games this season in which the Bucks played well offensively but simply got outmatched in a shootout. Again, Phoenix is a fast team, the style in which Nash excels. Once the Bucks flipped on that offensive switch near the end of the 3rd quarter, it offered a glimpse of what the Bucks are capable of. Their speed offense only comes in spurts, but is effective.
Player of the Week:
Drew Gooden gets the second straight Player of the Week award for his performance over the last 4 games. It would be nice to see Gooden bring down a few more rebounds; he hasn’t hit double digits once since taking the full-time starting spot. But the man can certainly score, routinely hitting over 50% of his shots. Too bad shooting percentage isn’t an infectious disease. (editor’s note: I am not wishing any disease upon anyone)
Highlights of the Week:
If you missed the Miami game, go back and find tape of that somewhere. Or you can stop by my house, I still have it on my DVR. The energy at the Bradley Center was explosive once the Bucks came storming back from a big deficit. The situation was the same against Phoenix, with Milwaukee climbing out of another deep scoreboard trench. The Bucks constantly putting themselves in those holes is a bad thing. The ability to fight back is a good thing.
Disappointment of the Week:
Something has been a bit off about Brandon Jennings ‘ game this week. He had a terrible night shooting against Phoenix, and only has 11 points total in his last 2 games after averaging 20.5 over the previous 22 games. Frustration was an ugly enemy of this team last season, and while they do so well at riding high with the victories, they seem to be sulking low after their 3rd straight loss. Their response in the next two games will be vital to the remainder of the season.
This Week’s Games:
I asked the question last week: “Are they overachieving, or are they just playing smart?” It very unlikely that luck alone carried the Bucks to two wins against Miami as well as recent victories over New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles. But maybe they got it into their heads that they can hang with some good teams, and it hurt them in their preparation.
So now is a potential make-or-break situation. Jennings made some disappointed comments after the Phoenix game, so watch how he responds in Toronto tonight. Stephen Jackson finally saw some action off the bench, coming on strong late in the game to help fuel the Bucks’ turnaround. Can he finally settle comfortably in his supporting role?
Too many questions, but still plenty of time to search for answers.
Player of the Week Count: