Well things did not go exactly as planned for the Bucks this week. The injury bug reared its creepy little head again claiming Bogut for all but one game. This led to extended stretches of Gadz and Fransisco Elson manning the middle. Giving those two playing time in the middle is like giving a 5 year old a can of gas and some matches, and telling him to watch your house while your gone. When you get back, the house is going to be up in flames. Fortunately Bogut returned before the whole house had gone up, but the kids were still pouring gas everywhere. Redd rounded back into form this week going on a scoring tear, averaging almost 28 points per game this week. Alas the Bucks rounded back into the defensive form that has kept them at the cellar of the Central Division the last few years, as they allowed an average of 103.25 points per game this week. Were it not for late game heroics twice by Luke Ridnour they could have finished the week without a win. On the other hand were it not for a MIRACULOUS three by Andre Miller on Wednesday they could have went 3-1, so whatever. (I can’t stress enough how lucky that shot was by Miller. I recognize that he took it just like any other shot, but anytime a guy like that hits a three at any point, its an act of god. And while I’m thinking of it, how were him and Royal Ivey canning everything they shot on Wednesday? I almost wanted to walk out of the BC and into traffic after that madness.) Add it all up and the Bucks remain at 18-21 three games under .500.
January 12th @ Washington (7-29)
Looks can be deceiving. It’s easy to look at a Washington team at 22 games under .500 and think the Bucks should win in a laugher, but upon analyzing who the Wizards have beat, things get confusing. With wins over Utah, Houston, Detroit, and Cleveland, the Wizards have shown they can at time be frisky. There really is no reason that this team should be as bad as their record. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are two physical, tough players that should alone be worth 20 wins. The rest of the cast is playing horrible basketball, led by the reliable underachiever Andray Blatche. When your trading FOR Mike James you know things are bad. Mike James and Damon Jones should have plenty to talk about after the game though, between them they have been on 19 teams (I’m considering each season a different team for each franchise) in 19 seasons. Speaking of James…he was on Supernanny! Watch at the 45 second mark, you will not regret it. He knows his math. If the Bucks can contain Butler and Jamison, they should be able to come away with one here, having already beat Washington once at home using that plan. Much like Homer Simpson, the Bucks will be trying to leave those two saying “Can’t someone else do it!?”
January 14th vs. Miami (19-16)
Sure to be one of the Bucks chief competitors for a back end playoff spot, the Dwyane Wades come to town on Wednesday. The Marquette alum is sure to draw a larger crowd than usual for the home team, which will hopefully work out in Milwaukee’s favor. Hell, even I have broken my 5 dollar rule for this game and bought lower level seats. (The 5 dollar Rule is basically my plan on getting cheap tickets. Every game arrive minutes before the game starts and negotiate with scalpers from a position of power. The most I’ve paid is 5 dollars. The best I’ve done this year is 3 tickets for 10 dollars, I implore all of you to do the same). Wade has been incredible this year, but is doing everything practically by himself. Shawn Marion was a product of SSOL in Phoenix and former college double double machine Mike Beasley has been underwhelming, averaging just 13 points and 5 rebounds per game. There isn’t a center on the roster, unless you count Joel Anthony or Jamal Magloire, and personally I don’t count either. Obviously stopping Wade will be the priority, but the Bucks need to do a better job of defending the three when a guy like him drives. Why do Charlie Bell, Michael Redd, and Richard Jefferson insist on helping out off their man? Your not really helping guys. Your not stopping the drive, your not defending the post, and your giving up an open three. Pretty soon I think Skiles will pop off the bench and show them what he wants, like one of those high school scrimmages between teams where coaches could manipulate the action.
January16th @ Sacramento (8-29)
The stretch of winnable games continues with a trip toward the left coast to face the worst they have to offer. Sacramento has Beno Udrih starting at point guard. Another classic case of a team over valuing a player because he is there player and they’ve had good times together. Udrih got 8 million a year this off season after not getting 8 minutes when he was in San Antonio. If a guy is given up on by San Antonio, doesn’t that mean he probably isn’t very good? Isn’t it clear that they have a pretty good idea what they are doing there? Regardless, Sacramento has perpetually underrated Kevin Martin and his disgusting jump shot. Speaking of Martin, is he the worst player to play with in a video game? He’s so good and it’s so tempting to shoot with him, but you know it’s going to get blocked because it looks like he shoots from his knees. His shot is the exact opposite of Redd’s slingshot. Anyway, the Kings suck.
January 17th @ Los Angeles Clippers (8-29)
The Clip show is a show no one wants to watch. They made moves this off season that many people thought would make them competitive. Why they thought that I’ll never know. I might be the biggest Baron Davis fan on the planet, but he was surrounded with guys who simply aren’t a good fit. Not to mention he has played like garbage, to be kind. Zach Randolph brought a spark for a couple weeks, but the Clips continue to lose games like its their job. They did that job very well when Milwaukee laughed them off the court near the end of December. The noose around Mike Dunleavy’s neck continues to tighten.
It’s always tough to go out west, but these are the kinds of games that playoff teams win. This is the second week of a two week stretch where the Bucks had a good chance to make up some ground on the .500 mark and put themselves in good position for the playoffs. Week one did not go great, week two awaits.