The Week Ahead (February 22nd-28th)
I picked a helluva weekend to go out of town.
Friday and Sunday will probably go down as two of the most eventful Bucks games of the year. First, Lebron James puts his hit man gloves on and methodically destroys the Bucks to the tune of 55-9. I caught most of the 4th quarter of this one after receiving 300 text messages letting me know that Lebron had put his Dell Curry hat on for the night and even though the Bucks lost, I saw something I liked.
Now, I know it sucked that Charlie V. got himself booted. The Bucks were within three and may have had enough left in the tank to make a run, so timing really wasn’t great for a flagrant two, though I’ll say that kicking him out was extremely harsh. It did not appear malicious when Charlie V. took down Anderson Varejao and if anyone escalated the situation it was Zyndrunas Illgauskas. But I really liked the way the Bucks stood together during the mini melee, particularly Luke Ridnour. Milwaukee as currently constructed is not known for being a team of tough guys, but none of them were afraid to get their noses in there and stand up to the Cavs. I feel like this will serve them well in the future.
Second, the Bucks played the always rare Sunday game, which I don’t love because those games are rarely on television unless they make it to ABC, which the Bucks rarely do. Sunday games can be tricky. Players aren’t used to playing on Sunday and they are used to going out Saturday night I’m sure. From the recap I read of Sunday’s game at Brewhoop it sounds like it was a slopfest. That sounds like a typical Sunday game, even though this one had the slightly later 4:00 start time. Players bodies are not in the routine to do well at early hours like that, especially if they are only playing four or five games in that time slot all year. Any win over a team as good as the Nuggets is impressive and it’s always wonderful to see Charlie V. and Ramon Sessions up to their ways. The Sessions Ridnour minutes battle will be interesting to watch the rest of this year. Sessions only played 22 minutes against the Cavs, but was back up in the 40’s against Denver. As I’ve said before, handling this will be a true test of Skiles coaching acumen. Without further ado…
February 25th @ Dallas (33-22)
Dallas has rebounded pretty nicely after a pretty bad start to the year. My favorite thing about Dallas is the way Mark Cuban denies that trading Devin Harris AND TWO first round picks for Jason Kidd was a mistake. He can’t really say it was a mistake with Jason Kidd still being his starting point guard and all, but making up new statistics to help your case can’t hurt. The Bucks always have a difficult time defending the three point shot, I feel like this may be a problem on Wednesday. The Mavs don’t shoot a ton of threes and don’t make a ton either, but they certainly have guys who can get hot out there. Historically the Bucks have played well against Dallas though and Jason Terry will still be out, so if the Bucks are going to win either of their Western Conference road games this week, I think this would be the one to take down.
February 27th @ New Orleans (32-22)
Milwaukee will close out it’s Western Conference road schedule for the year against New Orleans on Friday. This is a big game for Milwaukee because….wait for it….IT’S ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!! THE BUCKS ARE ON ESPN!!! Kind of a strange game for the Bucks to make their national tv debut, I guess Chris Paul is a strong enough player to carry the whole tv audience, but we’ll take what we can get. I’ve said time and time again, the Hornets aren’t very good. Their front court without a healthy or motivated Tyson Chandler is possibly worse than Milwaukee’s without Andrew Bogut. After the James Posey deal, the most significant free agent signing the Hornets made this off season was for Sean Marks. If you’re addressing your big man needs by signing a guy who has never played in 30 games in an NBA season, due to ineffectiveness not injury, then you’re probably in trouble. Regardless of how bad their big men are, Chris Paul keeps them afloat and relevant.
February 28th vs. Washington (13-43)
What happened to Ernie Grunfeld? I was genuinely upset when he left Milwaukee, I thought he was a pretty good GM. When he first got to Washington it seemed like he was making sound moves that made a lot of sense for that team. And then it all went to hell. Now he’s throwing huge dollars at his own guys and overvaluing their worth. I just don’t know when he became Larry Harris. I really thought he was going to move Antawn Jamison at the trade deadline. What are they waiting for? The Wizards need to scrap everything and start rebuilding around Gilbert Arenas and Javale McGee. McGee because he has crazy potential and Arenas because they absolutely have to since they threw all of their money and more at him, even though he stole Charlie Bell’s knee and made it worse.