Wednesday, February 9, 2011

State of the Bucks - Week 16

 State of the Bucks - A Weekly Review and Preview of the Milwaukee Bucks' Previous and Upcoming Weeks

Last Week's Results:
@ Phoenix, Lost 92-77
@ Golden State, Lost 100-94
vs. Detroit, Lost 89-78
vs. Toronto, Won 92-74

The Milwaukee Bucks snapped a 4 game losing streak with a highly-motivated win over Toronto, and they did it in one of their most complete game of the season. Yes, they took a slim 2-point margin into the halftime break, but they also looked like they were breaking through a lot of the problems that plagued them all season. The Basketball 101 concepts, the ball movement, players making their cuts, the assists, the rebounding; these are all things that win basketball games. Listening to players like John Salmons, who has fought a series of injuries, talk confidently after the game was a refreshing mood for the team who hopped right on the plane to begin a short road trip. 

The Bucks' season isn't totally lost. Some would argue that it's best for the team to jockey for a better draft pick as opposed to sneaking in a 7th or 8th playoff seed. The playoffs, no matter the seed, are very important to this franchise and it's fans. Just making it into the postseason doors would make it two in a row and sets up the base of a winning tradition for the future. The Bucks aren't close to packing it in for the year and a little bit of momentum is just what the doctor ordered.

Player of the Week:
Andrew Bogut took complete advantage of Toronto's defense, getting back into his groove of sinking left- and right-handed hook shots from the paint. He only took 8 baskets against Toronto and his rebounding average sunk a bit over the week, which is alarming because of the additional absence of Drew Gooden. But Bogut also missed some time this week and if Tuesday's game was an indication, his comfort level is quickly rising.

Other Standout Players:
Brandon Jennings, like Bogut, is slowing getting his legs back under him as he returns from injury. Yes, it's been a terrible theme for the season, so sometimes you take what you can get.

Highlights of the Week:
Team owner Senator Herb Kohl came in to talk with the team between the Detroit loss and the Toronto win. Perhaps it directly contributed to the victory, perhaps not. The fact that Senator Kohl rarely makes in-season speeches to the team along with him being a United States Senator, which can be a bit imposing, hopefully shook the team out of some funk. We'll see going forward.

Disappointment of the Week
John Salmons had an up and down week. Going into halftime of the Toronto game, he looked defeated during a quick 8 second interview. He also had a solid evening, so whatever turnaround was made in the locker room at the half needs to stick.

This Week's Games:

Wednesday Feb 9th, @ Washington
Friday Feb 11th, @ Memphis
Saturday Feb 12th, vs. Indiana
Monday Feb 14th, vs. LA Clippers

Things to Watch For:
The two biggest things that stand out in the next four games are the fact that both Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Milwaukee in the last three weeks. Marc Gasol had 24 points and 16 rebounds on 58% shooting and Rookie of the Year front-runner Blake Griffin shot 65% on the way to 32 points and 11 rebounds. Both players matched up against Andrew Bogut and both had destructive performances in the paint. Coach Scott Skiles continues to stress the importance of getting Bogut open looks yet it just doesn't happen often enough.

Final Thoughts:

The Milwaukee Bucks aren't a bad team. There are bad teams in the NBA, and the Bucks aren't one of them. On paper they are a relatively decent team that happens to have bad nights. It often becomes a surprise as to what Bucks team will show up. The thing they have struggled with most is putting together a solid performance immediately after a win. We've said it before, but there is no time like the present to start stringing good games together.

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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