Bucksketball Podcast

Something to Feel Good About: Bucks 84 – Pacers 81

| December 22, 2009

Category: Recaps

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Scott Skiles had to laugh, probably to keep himself from crying, but maybe to keep himself from running on the court and launching an impromptu tutorial on how to properly shoot a free throw.  After all, we’re talking about a guy who was an 88.9 percent free throw shooter for his career.

So the 0-7 finish the Bucks had at the free throw line Monday night was properly particularly devastating for their coach to watch.

And it’s unfortunate that the once again unacceptable free throw shooting takes away from the positives that this game brought.  Andrew Bogut had the best game of his career, dominating Roy Hibbert and everyone else the Pacers threw at him en route to 31 points and 18 rebounds.  And Bogut was able to cede control of the ending to Brandon Jennings, who had another frigid looking shooting night at 7-19, but hit a three and fall-away jumper in the last two minutes that helped give the Bucks just enough breathing room.

And that’s how everyone envisions the Bucks being successful, ride Andrew Bogut relentlessly all game and then let Jennings handle the ball and make plays in the fourth quarter, it’s the perfect big man/little man set up.  And for one night the Bucks had it going.

And still, Milwaukee almost blew the game.

Sigh.

Offense

  • I feel like I’m constantly getting a never ending stream of text messages about how bad Michael Redd is at this point, but if you look at his final line and changed his name to something else, he doesn’t stand out as being bad at all.  Rather, his plus eight looks fairly nice.  Don’t let it fool you into thinking it was all roses and rainbows for Redd on Monday though, he still takes DIFFICULT shots and apparently is incapable of shooting a free throw.  On Twitter, mAndersonMN suggested that it may be do to his recent knee problems, that he’s not getting the necessary knee bend into the shot and inevitably coming up short.  A good theory and something I’ll try and delve into further when the Bucks return home Wednesday.  One thing I’ve noticed Redd doing that I do like, has been his recent interest in aggressive defense.  He’s had a few steals this year where he gambles a little, but pokes it free off another man; he did it to Kobe and now Troy Murphy Monday.
  • Rotation roulette continues.  Charlie Bell sat for the entire first half, entered the game two minutes into the third quarter and stayed in the rest of the game.  With good reason too.  In Bell’s ten third quarter minutes, he was 2-2 from behind the arc, scored six points and the Bucks outscored Indiana by eight.  In the fourth, Bell had a steal and a block but was apart of the parade of questionable free throw misses in the last minute.  Bell’s first half minutes went to Jodie Meeks who remains mysteriously incapable of connecting on open three’s.  Even if Meeks is flying around making plays, grabbing rebounds and playing exceptional defense it will never make up for it when he’s not making three’s.  His position requires the making of open three-point shots.  The Bucks entire offense relies on that position hitting those shots, so if they aren’t going in it doesn’t really matter what else he’s doing.
  • Bogut was aggressive and hitting early, so it looked like he was on track to have a good night, but rarely do we get to see the Australian hit for 30.  Rarely as in we’ve never seen that before.  Congratulations to Bogut on his career high 31 points and extra congratulations on getting 18 rebounds to go along.  That kind of aggressiveness and commitment from the rest of the Bucks on getting the ball to Bogut down low will go a long way towards getting the Bucks some more wins in the future.  Bogut’s game relies largely on touch and feel rather than his force of nature, so it’s not easy for him to shoot 14-19 like it may be for a Dwight Howard, so when he has it going it’s important it’s recognized and capitalized on.

Defense

  • So Michael Redd’s return to the starting line-up meant Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s return to the bench.  I know Skiles is thinking that LRMAM’s versatility is valuable off the bench and allows for more flexibility, as he can come in for Ersan, Redd or Carlos Delfino but it’s still hard to believe he hasn’t earned a starting spot and 30 minutes of tick (playing time) a night.  He’s the team’s best defender and finished yesterday with a plus 14.  Mike Dunleavy struggled out of the blocks Monday, but when LRMAM came in he didn’t do the Pacers best offensive option any favors.
  • While the Bucks absolutely should have been up more than three as the game wound down, the plus side was their defense as the clocked ticked away.  They did give up an offensive rebound to Tyler Hansbrough, who proceeded to punch Andrew Bogut in the stomach and dunk, but whenever a team can force T.J. Ford into two crucial three-point attempts with the game winding down, that’s something worth feeling good about.

Final Thoughts

This is a double rarity: a Milwaukee road win, in a three point game nonetheless.  While it’s fun to say the Bucks showed character or “figured out” how to win a close one for once, it really was just a matter of the ball bouncing their ways more than it did not for once.  If Ford hits one of those miraculous three’s, and the way things have gone the last three games I’m surprised he didn’t, who knows what happens.  But, for all the ugliness that was the Bucks finish in this one, the two facts in the previous sentence still stand out.  After three straight tough losses that left everyone questioning where things stood for the Bucks, this is at least a momentary bright spot.

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About the Author ()

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.

Comments (6)

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  1. hey says:

    Is it just me or does Brandon Jennings look different in his approach. He’s not playing with the same confidence & looks like a robot out there. In the beginning when things were clicking it seemed as if it were his team. Usually the point guard is the coach on the floor. M.Redd being back has definitely changed the landscape of the team thus far negatively. I’m noticing the team has no identity.

    Also what does Skiles have against Delfino? Europeans usually aren’t defensive stoppers nor do they rebound or play blue collar basketball like he’d like. With that being said hoping & asking for Delfino to be anything other than a scorer or ball handler is your fault. Bell, Warrick,Ukic,Meeks should all be playing more. You guys also don’t run the pick & roll enough for Jennings & Bogut which worked in the beginning of the season. Teams haven’t really figured anything out it’s just you guys aren’t playing the same. Also why is it so hard for Jennings to finish quarters. Ukic & Delfino can handle the point duties. Ridnour & Jennings had a great chemistry going on. Ilyasova game has also suffered since Redd has been back. He’s another scorer. Bogut along with the rest of the team aren’t great passers. Skiles needs to just pull back a little and have fun with his new young pg. Allow him to learn & believe in him. The season comes or goes with him. He’s the engine & everybody feeds of him. He looks like he’s always looking around for your directions. He’s more than capable of running the team himself. Push the tempo,Pick & Roll & smile sometimes. You’d think they were doing something aside from playing a sport. Your supposed to have fun.

    Jennings plays better being loose. Skiles wants him to play a certain way which is benefecial to Jennings or the team. He’s looking to pass they just have to finish. He’s a point guard who can score not the other way around. If he frustrates you guys everyone is spoiled. Out the gates he was better than anyone except himself & family & friends could have expected. He’s playing fine he just was blistering in the beginning. That 55 point outing was like a Gift & Curse only because I think Skiles thought he’d get bigheaded. He isn’t that type of player. He thrives when he’s confident. Believe in him & acknowledge all his done for the Team & whole Miluakee organization & FANS.

  2. Bizzucks says:

    Has anyone else noticed on the TV broadcasts that Jon McGlocklin actually has an opinion or two lately, maybe starting last year? I couldn’t stand listening to that guy most of the times, but now he’s seeming to get a chip on his shoulder and actually showing a bit of a nasty streak. Don’t get me wrong, not a huge fan yet, but he’s coming around in my book. I now have him slightly over John Madden…

  3. Vic De Zen says:

    The free throw shooting at the end drove me crazy. This really wasn’t a very good game. Good win, though… I guess.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Hey – I don’t think Skiles wants to control too much of what Jennings does or limit him on the court, he’s given him an unusual amount of freedom for a rookie point guard. BJ just needs to continue to feel his way and develop his shots. If he’s making shots, everyone’s in love with him, if he’s missing, he’s shooting too much. That’s the consensus, but he can’t worry about that, just has to play his game. He’s doing well.

    Bizzucks – I’ve noticed Mac has been a little more ferocious this year. I love it. A friend and I were actually commenting on that last game, how he’s been much more vocal with his displeasure than in past years. He’s tired of being kicked around!

  5. hey says:

    Jeremy why do you say unusual amount of freedom. Are you suprised as well? When he misses his shots or shoots a lot of fg’s. From time to time it’s him trying to make a kickstart a stagnant offense. Who are we going to for offense. Is Ridnour & Bell going to carry us? Jennings play has changed of late. I don’t see as much Pick & Rolls and also he isn’t taking his shot immediately of the screen which was his bread & butter. Missed Fg’s I know are stats kept. Do you actually see how many of his shots rim out. Did you also see how Mo Williams clipped his elbow(Of course a ref doesn’t call that for him but Kobe& Bron and were shooting 3 throws & they look great.) I know your pro Bucks but I hope you see it & call it for what it is. Brandon does get out of control sometimes but who are the Fans & what created the Buzz for me to even be commenting on this site.

    Why did they have a NBA TV game against the Thunder? Where the commentators where asking where’s Brandon.? Are we back in Italy. Why was his playing time limited. They even said come on Scotty take it easy. If Brandon doesn’t play let alone play well. This team doesn’t stand a chance. You might as well let him find his way. All the other stars in the league have seen & respect the lil fella. What’s taking you guys so long. From Lebron,Chauncey & everyteam he faces you see the love & how they embrace him after the game. Some of them know how hard & how much of a die hard Skiles is. I wouldn’t mind Mark Jackson or Eric Snow getting a chance. Even Kenny Smith I’d take. Skiles I can’t do it man. Wish you the best in your journey but you’d be better suited for a Big Time college program. How about ND where you can scream till smoke comes out of your ears. He looks like he’s going to explode sometimes. His assistants Sampson and Boylan look intimidated. Hell I’m scared at just looking at him from home. I’ll definitely trip him If I ever see him in person. He deserved the beer Ron got in his mug