Dear Dwyane Wade,
Flash, you truly are the gift that keeps on giving. You’re generosity when it comes to the city where it is windy rather than the Windy City seems to know no bounds. Aside from delivering what will probably be Marquette’s only Final Four in the first quarter of this century, you’ve shown up at Marquette Madness in order to help with the always challenging recruiting battle and you worked with the university to secure a sponsorship deal through first Converse and now your Jordan brand. A more dedicated alumni you cannot have been.
But Marquette is not the only basketball program that’s reaped the benefits of your significant Milwaukee pull. In the nine Heat games played in Milwaukee during your pro career that you’ve played in coming in to Saturday night, the Bucks have had an average attendance of 16,546, roughly five hundred people better than their average attendance over the last six years. See, those fans come to see you play well, but they still are Milwaukeeans. They don’t want to see the Bucks lose to a team from a city where the weather is nice and the night life is livelier. They want a Bucks victory with their great Wade play. You bring them, but they cheer for the other team – funny how that works.
And things were no different Saturday night. You may have got the loudest cheer during introductions, but throughout the game a passionate fan base cheered on their Bucks. In turn, the Bucks gave them lots to cheer about. The Bucks were able to do work for most of the night against your seriously over matched Heat team, but that’s not really your fault. You don’t have much of a supporting cast down in South Beach or anywhere else you play actually. Carlos Arroyo? Joel Anthony? If you don’t have a superstar night scoring and fail to set up your teammates on a silver platter, you guys are going to struggle.
And you didn’t have a superstar night Saturday. Five fouls on Dwyane Wade, who are they trying to kid, right? The fouls weren’t your only problem though: 21 points on 6-20 shooting with four turnovers in a 95-84 loss is probably not the way you envisioned your only trip back to the Mil going. On the plus side, you made a couple plays that drew ooo’s and ahh’s from the crowd and Marquette pulled off an upset at Connecticut, so you and your old boys gave Milwaukee plenty to smile about Saturday.
It’s not all gumdrops and lollypops when you come around though. Your play turns people into conspiracy theorists on par with Mel Gibson’s character in the aptly titled 1997 movie “Conspiracy Theory”. I’m sure some thought you could have taken a bat onto the court to play defense with after committing your fifth foul and the refs would have looked the other way each time you swung it. But we can’t love everything about you, right?
Overall, its clear Milwaukee’s love affair with Dwyane Wade is as strong as ever, you just give too much for everyone to forget you D-Wade. And about the rough night Saturday, remember: fall down eight, get up seven … or something like that.
Don’t get revenge Monday night.
Odds and Ends
- After leading by a comfortable margin for what seemed like the entire game, Milwaukee nearly blew this one. Fortunately, Brandon Jennings drilled a key three-pointer late to put the Bucks up eight and ultimately seal the deal. Balance was the key word of the evening though: Jennings 17 points, Andrew Bogut 17 points 15 rebounds, Hakim Warrick 22 and Carlos Delfino 16 plus stellar defense on Wade.
- He’s turning the ball over a bit much for my liking, but Jerry Stackhouse has been a nice offensive option in his first forays into games so far. He typically looks tired when he gets back in later, but when Stackhouse gets in for the first time he’s played very heady ball and been good about knowing when to shoot and when to pass. In a second quarter the Bucks won by 16, Stack chipped in eight points and two assists on 4-6 shooting.
- January averages for Delfino and Warrick (the last column is three-point percentage for Carlos and free-throw percentage for Warrick).
So, yeah, I can live with those numbers. For a Bucks team that’s been searching for offense all year, they may have two possible solutions staring them in the eye. How either of them has been able to find consistency after this long is a mystery to me, but a delightful one.
I’m not sure whether to be nervous about Monday’s game at Miami or excited about it. On one hand, it’s pretty clear that a Heat team without Michael Beasley is essentially devoid a second option on offense and not very good. On the other hand, Angry Dwyane Wade possibilities are endless. I do have faith in the Bucks typically stingy defense, so I’ll just assume even if Wade comes out and gets his Monday they’ll be able to hold the rest of the team at bay. The Bucks have been playing very good basketball for nearly two weeks now and they are very due for a big road win. The opportunity awaits Monday evening.