Bucks go down pushing and shoving: Pacers 118 – Bucks 109

It seems like conventional wisdom would be that you can learn a lot about a group when there’s some tension introduced to their norm.

If that’s the case, we learned some things about the Milwaukee Bucks.

A. They probably aren’t the most unified group in the world.

B. Their coach knows when someone is being foolish and isn’t really interested in supporting or defending the foolish.

What happened that irked Larry Sanders so much last night or that irked him a few weeks ago and has turned him into a raging technical foul machine we don’t know. But he’s kind of lost his mind lately. He has seven technical fouls this season, five of them coming in the past five games. He’s been ejected twice over that stretch.

Last night, he kind of went a little wild, immediately after his picked up his sixth foul in 18 minutes mind you, and he didn’t seem to have a whole lot of support.

Watch Brandon Jennings stand idly by. Sanders engages George Hill a few feet from him and he lets four Pacers rush in before he makes a move near the back of the pack. This is not his battle.

Watch Scott Skiles take in the whole situation from a couple feet away without moving. Skiles is a tough dude. He’s not the type that talks without action. Ask Shaq. So he wasn’t impressed with the jawing, especially while his club trailed by double digits.

Meanwhile Pacers coach Frank Vogel was in the middle of the mini-fracas pulling guys apart, making sure his guys didn’t do anything foolish. They’ve got playoff games coming up. They have a lot to play for, a lot of season left.

After last night, the Bucks cannot say the same.

Milwaukee was again outclassed by the same superior opponent that had done so twice in the past month. Jim and John in the broadcast booth at one point mentioned that the Pacers were handling the Bucks like surgeons picking away in an operation. I thought that was a great analogy.

They operated slowly, but efficiently all night. Strong start, cruise control, keep a lead and then put the game away. That was probably the Pacers plan and they executed on it to perfection. Indiana’s starters put a hurting on the Bucks. All of them had +/- differentials higher than +14. The start of the first quarter and start of the third were dominated by Indiana. When Milwaukee’s starters paired with Indiana’s to start the first, Indiana was +8. When they were both back out there to start the third, the Pacers were +6. That’s +14 and that’s tough to overcome.

It’s a talent thing. But the Pacers best players are better than the Bucks best players, so that makes sense.

Without much question, Danny Granger is the best player either team has and he played like it all night. David West is the strongest big man scorer either team has and he played like it (21 points on 9-14 shooting) and Hill sparked the Pacers for the second time in three games against the Bucks with 22 points on just 8-12 shooting.

The Jennings/Ellis duo tossed up 37 shots to score 39 points. Mike Dunleavy had another strong night off the bench, with 23 points on 6-12 shooting. But Granger, West and Hill overwhelmed Milwaukee.

And when things got a little testy out there, the Pacers surrounded their leader, West, and stood by his side. Meanwhile, the Bucks wandered around, watched and eventually pulled out their foul prone, testy big man. Surely you remember the leadership issues the Bucks had last season and how Stephen Jackson was part of the solution to that problem. Jackson’s gone and in that moment, it certainly didn’t look like anyone replaced him.

So that’s probably it. Milwaukee could have survived the likely loss to the Pacers had they not lost to the Wizards on Wednesday, but that slip combined with this loss leaves the Bucks three games back with four to play.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. He’d love it if you stopped by every time you wanted to buy something on Amazon and gave him some click-through love on the banner up on the top right. Also –Twitter.

Categories: Recaps

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

13 Comments

  1. PattiRafalskiDavison

    Larry goes bonkers and you think that Jennings and Skiles should have jumped into the fray?  They handed out technical fouls to Hill & West for their reaction to Sanders yelling and poking at them.  Their coach was in there to stop his ill tempered team.  You think Bucks would be better team if they had Jackson to land a few punches?  If a couple of our guys had to sit out the rest of the season?  
     
    I watched that play in which Larry got called for the foul several times. (DVR)  And unless Larry did something with his arm that clearly was not visible on the tape but could be seen by referee, then I can understand Larry getting upset.  Larry was standing there and the guys ran into him.  It’s the NBA and Larry needs to learn that’s just the way the call bounces sometimes.

    •  @PattiRafalskiDavison Seconds after things go down, four Pacers are there and Vogel is in the middle. Ellis is in there and Mbah a Moute and Dunleavy come in eventually, but Jennings stands and watches and Skiles doesn’t even get up. That’s all I wanted to point out. The Pacers charged in ready for whatever. Larry did act like an idiot, but typically teams are quicker to support their guys, as the Pacers were.
       
      I’m not saying I wanted someone in there throwing punches. Jackson was brought in specifically because he could help lead and that was a void on last year’s team. He didn’t work out and I totally get him not being here. I am saying I don’t think this team has a leader. If you feel otherwise, I’d love to hear who is the leader on this team.

      •  @jeremyschmidt I’m with Patti.. Those on court scrums are less about protecting their player and more about other players getting in the face of another to show off their yap trap.. It is unfortunate we traded our leader, but now is the time for somebody else to step up.. I do believe that Monta is a great candidate, but probably needs more time to develop that chemistry
         
        One interesting thing: This is the first game of the season that we lost when the Prince scored 10+ points

        • PattiRafalskiDavison

           @JustinNixon  When Prince hit that 3…my first thought was that his knees must be feeling better.  He played hard…16 pts…11 reb… and no turnovers.  Nice effort…wish it had been rewarded with that win he was statistically due

  2. I don’t agree with what Larry Sanders did at all. Although, I do think it’s clear that he has reached his boiling point and is in a so-called “dog days of summer” mode. It looks like he is just so sick and tired of the season and is really becoming fed up with everything, and I don’t think I can blame him with the way the Bucks season has gone. Clearly one of the Pacers said something that really tipped Sanders over the edge. As far as this talk about Stephen Jackson goes, he was never going to be a leader to begin with, and I can honestly say I only liked the trade to acquire him for the fact that Salmons and Maggette were gone. The Bucks have lacked a true leader all season long as well, so I think it’s funny how everyone points this out now when it could be seen all season long. The best thing the Bucks can do with the remainder of their season is to play Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer, Ekpe Udoh, and Larry Sanders with good chunks of minutes. I really think the Bucks might have something with Tobias Harris, he seems not afraid to score when he’s had the chance and has good size overall to succeed in the league. 

    •  @TrevorTetzlaff Jack wasn’t a leader by example, but he was definitely a guy players looked to when the going got tough or with the game on the line. Ellis doesnt have the size or the fire to be that guy, Jennings has the fire but not the size. Jack might not be the best role model, but that dude would die for his teammates and they knew that. I think that’s what Jeremy means when he is talking about Jackson’s departure and no1 stepping up and getting their teammates back, it’s that Jackson would have been in there and yes it may have escalated but the Bucks would have come out of that game more together as a team, instead they left the game demoralized head in hands. @JustinNixon  is right too, nowadays those on court altercations aren’t about protecting their teammates it’s just guys talking trash and then doin the “hold me back” routine. Barkley was talking about this the other night in regards to Blake Griffin being a victim often of hard fouls and Chuck was upset that none of Blake’s teammates were doing anything about it. I’m not suggesting that the Bucks should have started a full scale brawl for Larry Sanders, but it would have been nice to see a little more fire from them.

    • PattiRafalskiDavison

       @TrevorTetzlaff It looks like he is just so sick and tired of the season ?  He’s given an opportunity to influence the outcome and he got himself ejected twice and suspended for two games.  Yish!  Perhaps … just perhaps… this is why the youngest members of the team have to earn their minutes.

  3. The comradery of getting in a fight and knowing people truly have your back really is a great way to gain trust and respect for one another. A few years ago against the Clippers late in the season Steve Blake started a minor altercation with Bogut and Jennings came literally running in there and got in the face of Steve Blake with no hesitation he just acted right away because Jennings had Bogut’s back (not that he needed to) but it was a moment of bonding where the teams two best players showed that they were more than just players on the same roster.
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    • PattiRafalskiDavison

       @JustinNixon Just what the Bucks needed.  Skiles gives Sanders minutes and he gets tossed by NBA.  I just don’t see the “up” side of this.

  4. PattiRafalskiDavison

    Dog Gone It!  Can you believe those spoiler Pacers lost to 76’ers???  Do they hate Sanders and Dunleavy that much?