Had I started writing this immediately after the Bucks game, things would not have been pretty. The number of scathing criticisms going through my head had to have been up over 50. We just hadn’t seen an effort like that out of this year’s Bucks team to date, so I had a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around the performance. Lambasting the Bucks lack of energy is easy, as they had none. It was virtually never a game from start to finish and the Pistons manhandled and at times embarrassed the Bucks. And we’re not talking about the ’96 Bulls here. The Pistons (6-12 coming in) aren’t very good. The weren’t even a better than average home team at 4-4 entering play Friday night.
So there is a lot do be disappointed about.
But the more I thought about it, the less the whole thing bothered me. It’s all still frustrating, but I get it a little more. Yes, anyone can have a high energy and effort level on any given night. And yes, teams with less talent really should be bringing it with a full tank of pluckiness to make up for their deficiencies, but it’s not that simple. But a team with as little overall talent as the Bucks can’t possibly match their opponents effort every single night. The Pistons won only for the second time in ten days, they were very hungry and saw the Bucks as the perfect team to feast on. It was evident almost immediately. They pushed and got very little resistance. This Pistons team didn’t necessarily have more talent than the Bucks, but they certainly were playing with a greater sense of need for this win.
At this stage in their development, the Bucks aren’t going to win any games where they don’t feel like the absolutely need it. Why they played like they didn’t need this one is beyond me, the schedule isn’t getting any easier in the next week. They have two or three quality starters on their team and then role players galore. That’s a team that needs to scrape by with grit and determination, both of which were in short supply Friday.
- I’ve figured out the equation. Foul trouble for Ersan Ilyasova ≠ rebounding success for the Milwaukee Bucks. For the second straight game, Ilyasova missed a large portion of the game due to fouls and the Bucks were hammered on the glass. 46-30 was the gruesome result. Troubling is that Hakim Warrick “had a good game”. 13 points and seven free throw attempts is all well and good, but he played 32 minutes at the power forward spot and grabbed a total of ONE REBOUND! ONE! 1! O-N-E! There is nothing “power” about that. I don’t know if I should even be disappointed in the one rebound game. When you sign a guy as little as Warrick to take minutes at the four, you have to kind of expect more one board nights than ten board nights, right?
- Domination sums up Ben Wallace’s glass work (and the rest of his work) on Andrew Bogut pretty well. Wallace 11 – Bogut five. Wallace 6-8 240 – Bogut 7’0 260. I don’t get it and I never will. How can Wallace always do it? Is he some sort of super-human? He continues to muscle up bigger guys, push them away from the paint and generally destroy their minds, rendering them completely ineffective. Not only did Wallace pound Bogut on the glass, but he tossed up 11 points and three blocks to Bogut’s eight and one. Bogut’s all-star campaign has come off the tracks and crashed into a house.
- Brandon Jennings was a mere shell of his former self against the all-NBA tandem of Chucky Atkins and Will Bynum. When you’re going up against two former undrafted free agents, you know they’re going to be playing you hard. At times it looked like Jennings just wanted nothing to do with it. He’d dribble to half court, stop, and then pass and head the other way. Gone was the once potent Jennings/Bogut pick and roll. In it’s place was stop a step past half court because Will Bynum will not allow you any further. When Jennings would give it up and try to get it back, Chucky Atkins would relentlessly hound him, preventing a return pass. It wasn’t until a brief surge in the fourth quarter in which he was the only Buck with any energy that Jennings showed signs of life. Another poor shooting effort just piles on to this effort for Jennings. He’ll get this whole playing on the road thing down eventually, just like he’ll get the floater thing. A game of patience.
- The Bucks made 10-30 three’s. If they hit three more they would have equaled their shooting percentage for three’s on the season and the game would be tied. The bad shooting probably is as much of a culprit for the bad effort as anything. If they hit a few more shots, they probably would have been a little more determined and got a few more stops. I’m not excusing the effort and saying it’s cool to play better defense only when you’re shooting well, but that’s the realities of life.
- None was played. The Pistons shot 57.4 percent. Ben Wallace had four uncontested dunks off pick and roll’s. Chucky Atkins scored ten points. Jonas Jerebko had 16 and seven. Allowing 37 points to the those three combined says more about the Bucks defense in this one than I ever could.
Cleveland on Sunday. So much for having a sense of urgency on winnable road games before a tough week. Cleveland comes into the BC on Sunday and then the Bucks go to Boston for the rare Tuesday night game. Toronto and Portland come to town Wednesday and Saturday. The Bucks might have the upper hand against Toronto, but none of those teams are pushovers. That’s why it’s puzzling to see the Bucks get so thoroughly walloped against Detroit Friday night.
They got CLEVELAND on Sunday. Didn’t the Detroit game feel a little more important knowing that a likely loss is coming on Sunday? Lebron had 56 last time he was here! It’s not impossible that the Bucks, who are a completely different team at home, will win Sunday, but it IS improbable. It’s starting to throw me back in to meltdown mode all over again thinking about how nice the Detroit win would have been. I’ll just have to return to my default dealing with losses mechanism …
2011 … 2011 … 2011 … 2011.