Bucksketball Podcast

The thrill of victory meets the agony of defeat: Bucks 90 – Heat 85

| April 7, 2011

Category: Recaps

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Last summer, when we all had dreams, some would call them delusions now, of the Bucks beating the odds, competing hard every night and evolving into a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, those dreams had a lot to do with balance.

No, the Bucks wouldn’t have three superstars like the Heat.  They wouldn’t even have one for that matter.  But it seemed plausible that they would pair a strong defense with an offense getting contributions from a variety of sources and beat teams they weren’t supposed to.

Turns out, we were right.  We just saw it happen.  Wednesday night, the Bucks marched  into Miami, got those contributions from a wide variety of players and upended the favored Heat 90-85.

Okay, the Heat didn’t have Dwyane Wade.  And Chris Bosh had an off night.  But this was the win the Bucks needed.  Except they needed it a week ago.  As fun as it was that Milwaukee played giant killer for one night and likely ruined any chance the Heat had at a number one seed, it was all for not.  The Pacers beat the Wizards Wednesday night, knocking the Bucks out of the playoffs.

The season that was supposed to have been a dream, has been a nightmare, and now it’s over.  But at least it ended on a positive note.

Offense

Eight different Bucks players connected on at least three field goals Wednesday night, as Milwaukee displayed the kind of balance and bench production that has largely eluded the team this season.  John Salmons led the way with 17 points, but it was Luc Mbah a Moute’s scrappy style of play that set the tone for Milwaukee.  Just one game after dropping a number of passes and looking out of sync, Mbah a Moute helped the Bucks off to quick start, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter, as the Bucks jumped out to a 25-15 lead after one.

  • While it was important that Mbah a Moute got going early, it was equally as crucial that someone made some shots late, as the Bucks have struggled to close out games all season.  Against the Heat, Carlos Delfino stepped up.  Delfino made two crucial threes in the fourth, one with 2:06 remaining to put the Bucks up two and one with just 24.8 to go that gave the Bucks a four point lead, and essentially the game.
  • As much as the next guy, I understand the value of a win.  It’s fun to see the Bucks beat the Heat.  But there’s more to this whole thing at this point than just winning games.  So it’s a bummer to see a Bucks win, but largely ineffective games from both Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings.  The Building Blocks combined to shoot just six for 16.  Bogut did his thing defensively, as he always does, with 10 rebounds and four blocks.  But against a weak Miami front line, his three of seven effort doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Defense

Against teams with a superstar like LeBron James, it’s best just to try to weather his storm and survive.  The Bucks did that well Wednesday.  James got loose for 12 third quarter points as the game began to feel like it was in his hands, but the Bucks didn’t fold up.  They did their best to apply enough pressure on James to convert him from scorer to passer.  James can pass as well as anyone, but every team in the league will live with Bosh and Mike Bibby trying to beat them instead of James.  James’s teammates couldn’t deliver and the Bucks accomplished their goal.

  • With a few very strong offensive rebounders, typically the Bucks fair well on second chance points.  But a key for Milwaukee against the Heat, even more than second chance points, was their ability to force and score off turnovers.  The Bucks scored 18 points on 16 Miami turnovers.  With Delfino and Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee typically does well in forcing turnovers, and as the season has gone on, it has gotten better and better about turning those opportunities into points.

Final Thoughts

I read what I tweet, what I write and I see how negative I can be.  I hate to come off as so negative.  I know many people were excited about this win, and that’s cool.  I wish I could feel the same.  But having watched the Bucks struggle so mightily this season and completely fail at establishing anything consistent, it’s tough for me to get too pumped over a meaningless win in early April, even if it is against the Heat.  Especially since this was the night Milwaukee was officially ousted from the playoff race.

So when you see me making sarcastic remarks about victories or plead for losses, just know that’s how I deal with the losing.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook (right sidebar).

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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. Jane Gallop says:

    Like everyone else, I’ve been disappointed by Bogut’s offense all season, but before it’s over I want to say, that if he’s having surgery right after it’s over, it means his elbow is not alright. The fact that he’s played as hard as he has is his commitment to this team. I want to believe that by next season he will return to the offensive game he had last year. Me, I’m with John Hollinger: “His elbow woes stopped Bogut from achieving as much as he hoped offensively, but he’s still solid gold on D.” [this when he named Bogut 3rd best defensive center in the league]. I have a lot of questions about the Bucks offense in general, but to me this is the answer about Bogut’s offense.

  2. Bizzucks says:

    I wish I could say it’s been a good run, or any other cliche’ about the season, but it’s been a cruddy ride with very little to get excited about. I haven’t been to a game in 3 years now. I used to go every year, last year I was mad that I didn’t, so I told myself I would go this year if they made it worth it (which I, like most, expected to happen), but that never happened. I don’t even know who I like for sure on the team anymore. Jennings? Bogut? Probably Delfino… It’s hard to find a favorite after this season. I miss Ray…

  3. Jeremy Schmidt says:

    @Jane Gallop
    I believe his general improvement over the past month or so is indicative of the pain he was feeling earlier this season. Many a night when us reporters were allowed in the locker room, he would have bags of ice on his elbow in addition to the two bucks that he soaked his feet in. He obviously labored through this season. I’m not certain that his return to better health next season will be all the Bucks need to be a (sort of) threat again, but it can’t hurt.

  4. El Diablo Negro says:

    I for one would love to see the REAL Bogut,

    Bogut is an extremely discplined player, there are things that he can do, but wont
    1. Underated ball handler
    2. Can shoot the three a little
    3. Excellent high post player

    Last year he started facing up and driving the ball with confidence, no big man could stop his wrong footed drive. Clearly the elbow has messed this up. There was a report in an Australian newspaper that he had only limited feeling in his right hand due to the nerve damage.

    Lets not forget that it wasnt just the elbow;
    1. A blood infection from some dirty player that scratched him (ongoing eneregy issue),
    2. Knee injury when the Clipper dude ran into him,

    I am looking forward to an offseason where he gets healthy, and can work on his jump shot. I don’t want him playing for the Australian team (I am an Australian) as I just want him healthy for his own mental wellbeing.

    On a side note could we all chip in and pay for some tuition from Hakeem the Dream?

    Im sure he would benefit more than Dwight Howard, who uses the shaq approach (who needs post skills I am always going to be a physical force!)

  5. Ben says:

    Im with El Diablo, Bogut oozes class, and i think even though Bogut’s had a average offensive year, it was the year he had to have after the injury he sustained, no matter how well he rehabbed after the season, it was always a big ask during this past season to get to his best. The offseason cant come quick enough for us bucks fans too Andrew!, get your arm cleaned up, rested and healed, then come back and surprise us with a consistent mid range jump shot, and you could be having the best years of your career, very soon!