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Here’s to a better week (and life after Skiles): Bucks vs. Suns Preview

| January 8, 2013

Category: Game Previews

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Who knows what to expect from the Bucks going forward? Tonight is the first step in figuring that out (Photo: Kevin C. Cox)

The Milwaukee Bucks have certainly had better weeks of basketball.

..Yes, I’ll (briefly, I’ll let someone else write a reaction) get to Skiles. A quick look back, though.

After winning the NBA title conquering the world beating the Heat on December 29th, the Bucks have regressed quite a bit, dropping their last four contests in rather embarrassing fashion and falling to a .500 record. The main reason is an absence of the once potent defense, as has been already documented. Perhaps a reason why the defense has struggled (and why this team seems perpetually destined for a nine seed) is a lack of a consistent focus and energy. If the Bucks right the ship this week with strong home performances against the Suns (who I’ll get to) and Pistons and get hot and defeat the Bulls and Raptors on the road, we’ll soon forget about last week and be all chirpy again.

However, losing four in a row then winning four in a row sadly leaves you at .500 pace. The Bucks also aren’t capable of being wildly streaky; they aren’t good enough to go on a Clippers-esque winning streak, nor are they bad enough to go on a Bobcats-esque losing streak. They are simply average (if not slightly above), which is why the inconsistent weeks are especially damaging. If the Bucks want to prove they are a playoff team, then the consistency on both sides of the court and in the individuals must start immediately. I’m not saying either side needs to be consistently elite, but it can’t waver like it has this season. Nevertheless, it starts with Phoenix.

The Phoenix Suns are 12-23 and in last place in the Pacific Division. It’s slightly surprising, considering they have respectable players in Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, and Luis Scola, among others. If the Bucks need a fresh start like a lot of people believe they do, this seems like a great place to start.

Key Matchup

Bucks D vs. Suns O.

While it seems like a very vague matchup to be choosing here, it is clearly the most important. The Bucks D has struggled of late and could really benefit from facing a struggling Suns offense, who are facing their own issues of finding a consistent rotation and rhythm. If there was ever a time to stop the downward defensive spiral, this opportunity against the Suns is it.

Suns: What to watch for

I admittedly don’t know much about the Suns going into this game, so I asked for help. Your Suns preview is courtesy of Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm/Valley Of the Suns:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the ‘Teams That Made The Mistake Of Employing Terry Porter Bowl!

The Suns might not have as much turmoil in the immediate sense as the Bucks do, but this is undoubtedly a team in transition. Phoenix is a bad, bad team, but it’s also one without an identity, like a masked, would-be serial killer constantly shooting himself in the abdomen. Goran Dragic is a fine player having a fairly fine season; in fact, he might be the best backup point guard in the league. The problem, of course, is that he starts for Phoenix and is currently the Suns’ best player. Marcin Gortat has fallen off the face of the planet this year due to his de-emphasized role in the offense, the departure of Steve Nash and a failing attitude that isn’t helped by the two other factors.

On the bright side, Phoenix stopped starting Michael Beasley, and they seem to have found something on the wing with the Jared Dudley-PJ Tucker tandem, a duo which represents the only chance of the Suns ever stopping an opponent’s otherwise unending medley of rim-rocking smashes, leisurely lay ups and rocket-launcher threes. Luis Scola and Jermaine O’Neal have been passable options on the interior, though neither is at a point in his career where he’s going to make a true impact on a game.
This is Milwaukee’s game to take, if they want to start the Jim Boylan era out with a victory. Frankly, to do so would render a favor unto the Suns, a team in the middle of a multi-year tank-tastic voyage.

Bucks: What to watch for

Life after Skiles. After the balding boss of the Bucks “agreed to part ways” with the team, nobody really knows what to expect. Nobody knows if other moves are on their way; nobody knows who is to blame (if there’s anyone); nobody knows how this team will react. Oddly enough, this is the most enthralling the Bucks situation has been all season. Tomorrow’s game might be as close to must-watch as any game will this season.

In more player-related news, John Henson has gotten consistent minutes this past week, averaging 25.4 minutes/game, and he has produced. Henson has averaged 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks this week and has shown that maybe he is ready for an increased role going forward. Henson has learned from Larry Sanders, in that staying around the paint and crashing the boards is where he’ll be most effective offensively this season.  Let’s just hope that someone on this team can stay consistent for more than a week.

Where and when?

Tune in to FSN-WI at 7 pm for the game

Random Thought for the game

Does John Henson remind you of the Qwop Man? I certainly think so.

Prediction

I believe that the Bucks begin this week with an impressive all-around effort, easily handling the Suns in a 102-81 victory. I hope I’m right. I can’t handle the Bucks falling to 0-3 in games that I preview.

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About the Author ()

Eric Buenning is a perpetual couch potato with an abnormally high amount of optimism for the Bucks. He enjoys tweeting more than most human interaction and is highly susceptible to moments of swog. He seeks patience from the readers, as this is his first job in this field. He’s also 6-4, 230, and is an almost decent free-throw shooter.

Comments (3)

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  1. Ted says:

    Teams that made the mistake of employing Terry Porter Bowl, I love it

  2. Justin says:

    I think we are breaking the Buenning streak tonight

  3. Patti says:

    Can I vote here for best Skiles photo? Honorable mention has to go to Bucksketball.com Eric Bueing photo of Skiles.

    I knew we were in real trouble when Skiles made the “I quit” gesture above.