The skeptic in me finds things to worry about immediately in most every situation. This one was no different.
Would Monta Ellis, he of the 25 point fourth quarter thanks in large part to a five for five effort from three, continue to think that taking five threes in a game is a good thing? He hadn’t hit more than two threes in a game this calendar year before Sunday afternoon. It seems a recipe for disaster, his short lived shooting prowess.
And why did the Milwaukee Bucks need such heroics to beat the Orlando Magic at home? The Magic had two wins in January, two in February and two in March coming into Sunday’s game. Yet they held a double digit lead over the Bucks in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Milwaukee was on the ropes, grasping them for balance while sucking wind. Then they landed a few haymakers and toppled a weaker opponent. That’s not an ideal strategy for winning games.
Speaking of strategy, when did this team start caving in so bad on the defensive end? Yeah, the Bucks have taken some big steps forward on offense over the past few months, but it feels like they’ve taken the same steps backwards on the other end. Once stout defensively, Milwaukee’s quickly heading towards the middle of the pack in defensive rating at a time they can hardly afford to do so.
Hell, I was even worried about hero ball. Would the hot streak only encourage more of it the rest of the season? That’s not a recipe for long term success.
All of this was on my mind Sunday.
But sometimes, it’s okay to just let that stuff slip away and watch someone like Ellis go berserk on the opposition. Never one to lack confidence, Ellis had the look of a guy who was ready to pull-up as soon as he got past half court late Sunday afternoon. It’s a special thing when a guy starts feeling himself that much. What’s incredible is how much space he was getting from the Magic.
On the three that made it 104-102 Orlando, Tobias Harris gave Ellis about two steps, even though he’d just knocked down his last three threes. Maybe Harris was playing the percentages: What were the odds that a shooter like Ellis would be able to continue hitting threes? But he wasn’t even close enough to bother Monta’s shot. Same with Arron Afflalo on the game sealing three that put Milwaukee up four. Ellis had more than a step of room each time.
On Sunday, in the fourth quarter, Monta Ellis looked like he could have started shooting left-handed, off one foot, with a blindfold on. He was pretty much a superhero on the court, when the Bucks needed one more than ever.
Maybe being a hero won’t work every time, but the Bucks can work on not needing one in the future. No need to worry about what worked so well Sunday.