There’s a hallmark of bad teams that I’ve caught on to over the years. I’ve been treated to lots of games featuring some pretty awful teams over the past seven years, so I know my bad basketball pretty well. The thing about bad teams is that they aren’t bad all game every game, that’s a common misconception. I mean, these are pros I’m talking about and any professional can pull it together and put out an effort that has nearly as much good as it has bad. The thing is, when bad teams are going bad, they go REALLY bad for a little while. And I mean REALLY bad, like two-month-old milk bad. It’s during these runs of REALLY bad runs that they lose games that they typically play close otherwise.
And that’s what separated the Bucks from the Pacers on Saturday night.
It was 14-13 Bucks with 7:20 to go in the first quarter before the Bucks went on a multi-quarter run to push their lead out to 39-21 three minutes into the second quarter. The Bucks were unable to blow it open after that, eventually leading by just seven at half and not seizing total control of the game until back-to-back threes from Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino, but that’s what I’m saying about bad teams. They don’t always just crumble and cave, that’s only the teams that literally care more about what’s going on after the game rather than the game itself. The Pacers battled and stuck around for the remainder of the contest, but they just didn’t have the talent necessary to make a real legitimate run at winning the game.
The talent disparity was on display all game too. Andrew Bogut’s superiority to Roy Hibbert was clear from the start, when Bogut was spending the first quarter making plays from the free-throw line (a left-handed floater off the dribble and sweet pass to a back door cutting Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) and scoring on his typical soft touch post hooks and drop shots. I mentioned in the game preview that it’d be imperative for the Bucks to expose their most significant advantages, Jennings and Bogut and they were very successful with Bogut. Not so much with Jennings for most of the game (but we’ll get to that later).
All is well that ends well though, and for the Bucks this one ended in the win column, (notice they don’t have a column for “blowout wins”) which means it ended well.
My relationship with Delfino has actually paralleled the one I have with Lady Gaga surprisingly enough. At first I was firmly in the came that opposed both Gaga’s constant presence on the radio and Delfino’s on the basketball court. I didn’t want to deal with a world where both of them were so prominently featured in my day to day life, but eventually I realized the inevitability and stopped fighting it. I caved it and admitted, Gaga pumps out some catchy tunes and Delfino can be productive on a basketball court. I’ve found that since I’ve learned to stop fighting and start Del-Gaga I’ve found myself much happier.
- There was a point to that story. Delfino was a key contributor once again for the Bucks, more or less icing the game with a three-pointer that pushed the Bucks lead to 11 late in the fourth quarter. ‘Los finished with 16 points, as he’s known to do and hit on 4-9 threes. He also had four steals, which has been another common occurrence lately.
- Saturday was not the best of times for Jennings. 2-10 shooting never looks pretty, but the seven assists with zero turnovers was nice. Jennings simply wasn’t as aggressive as he could have/should have been against the Pacers. What was most important was Jennings hit a big three late and had a lot to do with the Bucks holding onto their lead. Wins are much more important than points at this point.
- I legitimately thought we were going to get a career day from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. It wasn’t meant to be as he ended with just 18 points (21 is his best single game total) but his brand of hustle plays turned into offense looked great. Layup after layup was earned by Luc by crashing the offensive glass and finding himself in the right spots.