Hornets get 6th win, Bucks get really bummed out
|Drew Gooden, PF 26 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -5
Sitting with a ice on his sprained wrist, on both of his knees and in the bucket containing his soaking feet, Gooden spoke after the game like a man defeated. His tone was hushed as he shrugged off any injuries he’s feeling the effects of as commonalities for every player this time of year. He sat for the majority of the fourth quarter Wednesday after another difficult night playing against a physical center in Chris Kaman.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 39 MIN | 7-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +1
Jennings talked about the team’s lack of passion at the moment after he continued his recent stretch of difficult games. It looked like he tried to flip the switch late in the game when the Bucks had an opportunity to take hold of the game, but I’m not sure there’s a switch to be flipped. Shots he hit with ease earlier this season suddenly look impossible. Layups he was making are rimming out. The swag he had has been sucked out of him.
|Stephen Jackson, SG 20 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 PTS | +4
A man scorned is capable of anything. If Jackson is truly unhappy and ready to move on, he could very easily shoot every time he gains possession and force offense for himself if he’s unhappy with the play calling. Sometimes he does force the issue. Wednesday he didn’t. He looked to pass often and should have had a few more assists on easy looks his teammates blew. Credit him with a steady, if unspectacular, night.
|Ersan Ilyasova, PF 35 MIN | 9-21 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS | +2
Things were really going well for Ersan most of the game. He had his fire, he was keeping possessions alive and he was scoring more than usual. Then he got a pass late in the fourth quarter about three feet from the hoop and he pump faked with no one near him. Knowing he HAD to shoot the shot, he quickly got one up with a defender fast approaching. He left it short. He went on to miss a layup with Kaman contesting him hard with Milwaukee down two and less than a minute to play. Suddenly, the previous 30 minutes seemed less important.
|Jon Leuer, F 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +10
If nothing else,, Leuer provided a late game spark. A lineup with either he or Ilyasova at center probaly isn’t a recipe for long term success, as Kaman’s late game tip offensive rebound would indicate, but it largely worked on Wednesday. If this team truly lacks passion, it’s guys like Leuer who should be seeing more minutes, defensive limitations aside. At least lose with guys who put it out there.
Three Things We Saw
- This is a new low. The Hornets were just 5-23 entering this game. Once again the Bucks let a shooter get hot and failed to do anything to correct the issue, as Marco Belinelli made six of seven 3-pointers. His jab step that sent Mike Dunleavy sprawling to the ground allowing him to shoot an open three really put this thing away and symbolized the night.
- It wasn’t until late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter that the Bucks seemed to play with a real sense of urgency. A reporter asked Coach Scott Skiles after the game if the team needed to be more aggressive on the boards. Skiles wouldn’t cite rebounding as the issue, but the general lack of aggressiveness all over the court as the bigger problem.
- Defensively, the Bucks are pretty much in a free fall right now. The Hornets only scored 92, but they shot 45% and made 7-15 3-pointers. The breakdowns are happening all over the place and the lack of practice time is exasperating the problem.