Bucksketball Podcast

What Was Worse Wednesday?: Wizards 109 – Bucks 97

| December 24, 2009

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It’s hard to tell what was a more desperate scene: the Bucks launching three-point shots as time ticked away on their 109-97 loss to Washington or those in attendance attempting to navigate on the snowy Milwaukee streets after the game.

Neither was pretty, but both made me think about some things.

  1. I hate snow.
  2. I don’t want to return to 2007

You remember 2007, right?  That was the year Charlie Bell and Michael Redd combined to average 31 shot attempts each and every night.  Mo Williams often paired with these two to form one of the worst defensive backcourts in recent Bucks memory.  Needless to say, the Bucks lost a whole lot more than they won in 2006-07.  But I had been comfortably assuming for most of this year that those days were a distant memory.

Wednesday night served as some kind of horrific flashback though

Defense

It’s rare that you see a team stand out as particularly bad or particularly good defensively.  Most teams give up roughly the same number of good looks and defend similar plays in similar fashions.  Occasionally you’ll have a Boston or Golden State that jump off the screen as being real good or real bad.  The same thing applies to most players.  Unless a guy is a notable shot-blocker, ball-hawk or a virtual sieve, it’s hard to tell who’s especially good or bad defensively (this actually is one of the things that’s most impressive about Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, he isn’t a shot-blocker or anything, but it’s always so clear how proficient he is defensively whenever he’s guarding someone with the ball).  But it was clear that Brandon Jennings was killing the rest of the Bucks defense whenever he was in Wednesday night.  When Jennings was in the game, Washington’s backcourt generally had their way with the Bucks.  Here are the numbers the three players Washington had at point guard put up while Jennings was in the game (Note: He was not always matched up on each player, sometimes they were in together.  But Jennings suspect defense resulted in numerous open shots off help and switches):

FG-FGA FT-FTA Points
Arenas 1-4 3-3 4
Foye 4-5 2-2 12
Boykins 3-4 3-4 9

Not bad numbers from any of them.  Washington was going right at Jennings all night, whoever he was guarding took over point guard duties if they had in both Foye and Arenas.  And in the fourth quarter, Boykins went to work showing Jennings how a little man can get off shots in the paint.  Jennings shining moment was brief and swift when he blocked one of Boykins shots with ferocity (though he appears to have been incorrectly credited with a steal for the play).

While it wasn’t just Jennings that struggled on a night the Bucks allowed the Wizards to shoot over 50 percent, he certainly did not help matters.  The Wizards “attack Jennings” game plan also left Jennings battling foul trouble all night long and sat him for all but 6:33 in the second half.

Offense

  • So the Bucks finally got to the free throw line … and then stopped hitting three’s.  Redd led the free-throw parade with a phenomenal 15-15 effort, as the Bucks went 28-33 as a team at the stripe.  But Milwaukee faltered from behind the arc, finishing 5-25.  If only they could have put them both together on the same night.
  • I don’t know if Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova are bummed about not being home for the holidays or what, but they have struggled mightily lately and tonight was no different.  They combined to go 2-15 and tossed up matching 1-5 efforts from behind the arc.  Add on Ilyasova’s paltry two rebounds and we have ourselves a certifiable disaster of an evening on our hands.  Oh, and Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison combined to go for 48 points and 20 rebounds.
  • Back to Redd.  His 32 points were a season high and the free throws were a delight, but he finished 8-21 from the field … and he started 5-5.  Sigh.  If Redd is springing for 32 with that kind of usage, the Bucks are going to be doomed to repeat their previous three years offensively.  Too often it became the, “let’s stand around and hope Michael can do something” offense of past years on Wednesday, especially when Andrew Bogut wasn’t able to get much going.

Final Thoughts

There wasn’t much to like about this one.  Ugly basketball, ugly outcome and an ugly night to boot.  The best thing we can all do, is get outside and shovel away the snow and the memories of Wednesday night’s Bucks game.

Fortunately, night’s like this one have been the exception this year and not the rule for a change.  And that’s something to feel good about after a tough loss.  There was once a time when this kind of effort was common place at the Bradley Center and it’s hard to change that over night.  Night’s like this were less frequent last year and have continued to trend in a positive direction this year and hopefully by 2011 they will be vanquished for good.  But for now?  They’re still going to happen.  So all the Bucks can do is learn from the mistakes and move forward.

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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 (5)

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  1. hey says:

    You targeted Brandon’s weakness on defense. When your picked it’s up to your help defender to cause some kind of hedge or resistance. Then the rest of the defense should be reacting accordingly(TEAM DEFENSE). Also If you’re going to sub him everytime he misses a defensive assignment Bogut should be right along with him. This team has 1 exceptional defender(LUC). Bell is an avg. defender who on most nights will be battling a bigger,younger & more athletic guy. The Bucks can’t guard the pick & roll as Bogut’s lateral movement is snail like. He isn’t as imposing on the D side. His offense also lacks from time to time.

    The teams direction now is to acclimate Redd back into the swing of things. He was the only one in rhythm yesterday at the expense of the whole time. He’s what you call a jacker. Also why is it that Brandon is on the shortest leash of anybody on the team. The sub early in the 1st quarter yesterday & I’ve repeatedly seen Skiles pull players for no reason(Mostly Jennings & Delfino. The same reason he wore out his welcome in Chicago will be his demise in Mil. He isn’t able to adapt to the sitaution or player. It’s his way or no way. Also he isn’t the coach for Brandon Jennings. Why do you think all of sudden his producition is down? Take a note from the KINGS. It’s Tyreke’s team and he plays through his other rookie Caspi. They seem to have fun as well as root for one another. On our military style run team nobody hardly claps let alone cheers one another on. We have a veteran team for the most part & will struggle mightily until we go back to what had us exciting in the 1st place. Don’t forget we were winning games against teams we shouldn’t have been beating.

    Remember Skiles promotes Luke Ridnour more than anybody else on the team(Early Season MVP-PLEASE). Have you heard the way Westphal raves about his rookie. I forget Skiles doesn’t like Rooks. I”m still suprised Jennings starts with the way Robo Cop is. If you look at the teams body language on the bench. They’ve already tuned him out. He expects top tier defense with a very weak defensive team(How good a defender was Skiles when he played? Did he shut penny down in practice or all the other studs in his era)-DONT THINK SO. You don’t have a shot blocker. Jennings is thin & a rookie who also doesn’t get the benefit of the whistle. Warrick hasn’t grabbed 10 boards or gotten a block in who knows how long. Kurt Thomas it’s that time. Joe Alexander looks like he’s just glad he doesn’t have to hear Skiles mouth. Michael Redd could care less about winning he’s just happy to be back out there. Has Skiles smiled yet this season? Our biggest room for concern has been the return of Redd as it has caused Ridnour to fall out the rotation. Also Ersan has completely dissapeared. Hey an Bogut needs a new move everyone knows that lefty jump hook is coming as we saw with L.A. and Washington. Try a up & under and impose your will more. Your 7ft

    This team needs to go back to having an identity(ITS BJ TEAM LIKE IT OR NOT). We’re looking forward to the future or at least I am. Know’s the chance to change the perception of the fans & everyone around the league is now & can slip and be gone. Skiles you’re not going to the H.O.F. for playing or coaching so stop being so bitter and OLD SCHOOL. It’s like you have a thoroughbred horse and your keeping him caged up. Jennings & Evans are talents that only come around so often. Similar to WADE,LEBRON,MELO. You should be willing to sacrifice everything for the growth of this kid. I guarantee you’ll be better of in the long run. If not Siyanara and I can’t wait for him to go to a team where he’ll blossom. I heard the other day former point guards make for the toughest coaches. They’re to stubborn & very hard to play for. Isiah,Doc,Avery,Mo Cheeks, and so on. You see the game & played it very different. Did you also hear what Tyreke Evans said the other day about the Bulls comeback. Westphal came in & spoke to us like men at HALFTIME. He didn’t scream at us like LITTLE CHILDREN. Skiles act as if Refs & everyone alike are supposed to respect him. You’re not Coach K what have you really done in this league that enables you to act that way. I’ve tuned you out as a fan. The Bucks have become the boring team of old. They don’t want Brandon to score 50 let alone 30 anymore(I bet he’s even said forget about the R.O.Y. and play to win-IT ISN’T WORKING. They want him to become a Robotic PG who sets up his teamates-(LIKE SKILES IN HIS PRIME LOL). Lets remember for once who his teamates are. Outside of a healthy Redd I don’t see anyone that should have more of a GREEN LIGHT OR SHOT ATTEMPTS THAN BJ. Good Luck the rest of the season. IF THINGS DON’T CHANGE LOTTERY HERE WE COME. JEREMEY YOU KNOW HOW STUBBORN SCOTTY IS BABY. If Van Gundy needs to relax Robo Skiles needs a makeover.

    Lastly BJ could mature into a great PG. Skiles can’t lessen his Alpha Male behavior. Makes for an unsuccesful coach & miserable unhappy & unproductive team.

  2. Tim says:

    To the poster Hey, your comments are spot on! Scott Stiles is stifling Brandon Jennings overall scoring/offensive productivity. One of the reasons that Brandon Jennings is not getting very many fouls called, outside of the obvious fouls that the referees fail to call is because Jennings is not driving to basket much. I understand that Stiles is trying to make Jennings a better point guard, but in someways he is making him worse. There are times to be passive and set up plays for you teammates there are other times where you need to be aggressive and make plays for yourself. It’s almost like Brandon does even look for shots himself most of the time anymore. Furthermore, why aren’t any plays being ran specifically for Jennings. You never see any pick and rolls or schemes to utilize Jennings quickness to the basket. All the Bucks seem to want is to get the ball in the low post to Bogut. While Bogut is pretty good in the low post, he is mostly a finesse post player so he draw very few fouls plus he is a horrible foul shooter. The Bucks need to get to the line more often and you need other players such as quick guards to be able to get to the basket and draw fouls. Besides Bogut, most of the baskets the Bucks score and take are mostly from outside the paint area. But to also add Jennings does need to work on his defense a little more as he is getting exposed by other teams who run the pick and roll.

  3. curak says:

    But Mr. “hey”, Skiles was the coach at the start, what makes you think HE changed something with Jennings? What seems to me more likely is that his shooting early on took a lot of teams by surprise, but now they know what to expect from him and play him accordingly. This game is a case in point: they’ve already played the Wiz, so they had the idea to attack Jenning on D.

    Also, the Bucks right now are not a veteran team. Not with Luc, Jennings, and Ersan logging big minutes. And Jennings gets pulled early once and now Skiles hates rookies? He plays 35 minutes a night!

  4. Damon says:

    Hey: It just goes to show how many games you watch. Jennings lets anyone get in the paint, ANYONE. Who steps up to help? Bogut. He may draw a charge or block a shot, but most times he is Fouling people who get straight line drives into the paint. Hard to play when in foul trouble one would think. Or he steps up and his man gets a dunk then everyone gets their load off about how his man is getting easy dunks. Those of you who dont know the game please don’t comment. Our Guards have no idea how to keep guards out of the paint. Thats the weakness of our D. Full stop.