It was easy to forget, considering the madness that was ensuing off the court with regard to the trade deadline, but the Bucks had a game Wednesday.
Actually, it’s important to check with sources at this time of the year. So … let me … okay …
Yes … yes I’m getting confirmation from numerous people close to the situation that the Bucks did indeed play on Wednesday night.
They just didn’t do it very well.
Possibly a bit rattled from speculation that each and everyone of them was about to be heading in a different direction, though don’t tell Scott Skiles that (more later), the Bucks took a snowball of a lifeless defensive second quarter and turned it into an avalanche of defenselessness in the third in an embarrassing 127-99 home loss.
I had said in the preview that it’d be important for the Bucks to go to Andrew Bogut early and get him going and on track for a big night. Well, Bogut was 0-1 (0-2 at the line) with two turnovers and zero points. Not the quick start I was looking forward to. As often is the case, the Bucks inability to establish Bogut for the majority of the night (he finished 5-12 with 12 points and seven rebounds) was the means to a loss in the end. As Bogut goes the Bucks often go and when the Rockets began their three-point barrage, the Bucks seemed to panic and hesitate rather than feeding Bogut and riding out the shooting storm. In the end, riding it out wasn’t an option, considering the Rockets shot 16-23 on threes, but who could have predicted they would never miss like that while it was happening.
- While Bogut struggled out of the blocks, Brandon Jennings picked up the slack, hitting his first four shots. Remarkably, Jennings, who averages over 16 shots a night, took just nine shots on the evening, hitting six. Now, with the game out of hand before the fourth Jennings sat out the final quarter, but it’s still bizarre to look up and see Jennings having taken just the fifth most shots on the team on any given night — especially one in which he hit his first four shots!
- Dan Gadzuric had two airballs that I saw and he may have had a third that I missed. It was not a pretty night for the Bucks potential backup center for either the rest of the season or until they find someone better (assuming Kurt Thomas has been traded).
- On a night not much was going the Bucks way offensively, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could be seen busting his tail in the fourth quarter, getting dunks and stripping offensive players in the post. Mbah a Moute led the Bucks with 18 points and eight rebounds. Just Luc doin’ Luc.
As the Rockets bombed threes en route to the aforementioned 16-23 evening, the Bucks mysteriously continued to zone them and watch open three after open three fall in. Yes, the Rockets were in a zone of their own, but one can’t help but wonder if the absence of defenders constantly in their face helped the Rockets to their insane three-point outing.
- Shane Battier: 6-6 from deep.
- Trevor Ariza: 6-7 from deep.
- Local product Carl Landry didn’t let an early formative block by Andrew Bogut get him off track, as he finished the game 7-9 shooting, largely on mid-range jumpers, with some dirty work hoops tossed in here and there.
- Not many teams will win games when they allow Garrett Temple to get to the free-throw line seven times (hitting five of them) and score 11 points. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever heard of Garrett Temple, so his double digit scoring outing troubles me.
This was the Rockets second game back from all-star break, so they may have had the advantage of having had the rust knocked off of them, but rust doesn’t even begin to explain a near 30-point loss. Did the trade rumors play a role? If they did, Scott Skiles is worried:
If it did, then we don’t belong in any playoff talk or anything else. We’re not tough enough yet then if that has anything to do with it. We’re not ready for it then.
The always wise Jerry Stackhouse wasn’t buying it.
Bucksketball: When you come back from the break and it coincides with the trade deadline, do the rumors, with a young team like this, throw things off a little?
Stackhouse: (laughs) I don’t know, I mean, that’s part of the business bro. You gotta accept it as rumors. I think it’s just one of those nights, that team, everything they threw up they made it. They was coming off a game last night that they lost, so they had a little more timing than we did. Just look at it and don’t read too much into it.
So, on the advice of Stack, we’ll leave it as it is, a bad loss and a bad night. In the flurry of trade activity taking place/not taking place it won’t be too difficult to forget it ever happened. I’m not so sure my sources are accurate that it did in the first place anyway.