First things first: the Bucks beat the Bulls to open the pre-season Tuesday night, 92-83.
Good, that’s out of the way. Now we move on.
I can’t stress the importance of not blowing things out of proportion after one pre-season game. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t even be posting reactions to such a meaningless exhibition. But they put the games on, so they must mean something, right? Naturally, that means we’ll all take something out of it, be it great news, bad news or no news at all. What’s important is that we remain grounded in reality and remember that this was just the first game out of hopefully over 90 some this season.
That being said, I decided to associate words with a few key players performances on Tuesday night. Enjoy.
Brandon Jennings: Out of sync.
Jennings didn’t have a strong game and didn’t even look good struggling. He had a nice feed to a streaking Carlos Delfino early, but his night was captured more vividly by a play that took place not long after. Jennings made a nice move to shake free of Derrick Rose and get himself an open look from three, but then faded ever so slightly and air-balled. He generally looked rough most of the night, and got blocked by Joakim Noah at the rim at one point, reminding me of his struggles last year. It’s only one night though, and multiple key Bucks weren’t playing. So really, we shouldn’t care very much at all.
Drew Gooden: Pump fake.
Gooden caught the ball at the top of the key over and over on Tuesday night. He’d pump fake almost for certain, but he sprinkled in enough attempts, accurately mind you, that defenders kept biting on the fake. He was able to get to the line off the “jump into the guy biting on the pump fake” move and took it strong to the hole at least once that I remember off the fake. Overall, he looked like the big, strong body the Bucks wanted at the power forward.
Larry Sanders: Eager and Limbsy. Sanders gets two words since he played as well as anyone on the team aside from Gooden.
While you may have forgotten about the glossary page, it still lurks up there in the difficult to see tabs. We have an addition, thanks to Larry Sanders. Certain guys have a longness that’s difficult to describe. They’re all arms and legs and use that to their advantage. Sanders is one of these guys. He used that never ending reach of his to block a shot, corral a loose ball and foul a few guys Tuesday night. In every movement he makes, it’s difficult to look away from his arms and legs, moving every which way, but with more control than seems possible.
Once after missing a jumper, Sanders sprinted towards the ball and knocked the Bulls player that came up with it straight to the ground in a generally awkward use of his many limbs. Sanders plays a very eager type of basketball. He’s looking to please everyone while he’s on the court and he often did that on Tuesday. Sometimes though, it’ll make him commit a silly foul after a sillier shot.
Earl Boykins: Creative.
He uses a collection of spins and step backs, but one way or another, he gets off his shots. It’s incredible. Simply watching Boykins should help any of the younger Bucks players learn more about how to create space for themselves to be able to get off a shot . He can start and stop quicker than probably anyone in the league and that’s not something you can teach, but it’s the way Boykins uses defenders momentum against them that’s really incredible. He times his spins or halts just so that his defender has a certain amount of speed going one way. Then he pulls off his quick move and gets a shot off immediately.
- If the Bucks play Ersan Ilyasova and Jon Brockman together much, I can’t see how opponents will ever get a rebound. Both of them attack the glass with a similar relentless manner and excel at blocking out their man. As a matter of fact, between those two, Gooden and Andrew Bogut, the Bucks should have as good a rebounding team as any in the NBA. I promise you they will be among the league’s top five. It should come as no surprise that they out-rebounded the Bulls 42-27 on Tuesday.
- Chris Kramer played a lot of second half minutes and had a fun block on Brian Scalabrine that everyone in the crowd very much enjoyed. He has that gritty style that will get him somewhere, somehow. Just not onto the 2010-11 Bucks.
- Keyon Dooling looked every bit the role of capable veteran backup point guard and the little hitch in his shot is fun to watch.
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hit a number of jump shots. That’s a plus. He looked shaky handling the ball, but his defense still looked very LucRichardesque and most importantly: HE HIT A FEW OPEN SHOTS! That’s a big deal. If he can do that, well, it matters. His minutes are no more guaranteed than any other Bucks forward and I’m sure he’s very aware of that. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter