The Milwaukee Bucks split their weekend games, dropping one to the Wolves on the road on Friday, and picking up a comeback victory over the Celtics at home on Saturday.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch much of the game Friday night between my two favorite mediocre clubs. Hey, when you’ve got a babysitter, you’ve got to take full advantage. I think all you need to know about this Bucks/Wolves tilt is that it was a lackluster performance from most of the Bucks squad, with the exception of Larry Sanders. Sanders put up a triple double – 10pts, 12brds, and 10 blks. The 10 blocks ties Kareem for most blocks in franchise history. However, it wasn’t enough – the Wolves new closer Alexy Shved couldn’t be contained in the 4th quarter, and the Wolves got the victory. Beno Udrih injured his ankle in the 4th – he’ll be out 1-2 weeks.
On Saturday, the Bucks spotted the Celtics the first 17 points of the game. Yes, they were down 17-0 at the 7 minute mark of the 1st quarter. They managed 11 points in the quarter, had 7 turnouvers, and were down 16 to start the 2nd Q. Way to come out sharp Bucks. Definitely a trend here. Maybe that crabby coach Skiles needs to chill out, so the Bucks come out a little more loose and relaxed. It’s a grind, but you gotta let a little joy into the game Coach Skiles. Sanders blocked some shots, and Jennings and Ilyasova shot the Bucks back into the game in the 2nd. Down 1 at the half.
In the 3rd, it was a back and forth game, and it was deadlocked going into the 4th. Tied at 85 w 1:45 remaining, Pierce hit a 3 to give the Celts a 3 pt lead. Next Bucks possession, Garnett then blocked Daniels in the lane and the shot clock expired. Garnett was then called for kind of a ******** offensive foul, and a clinching bucket was wiped off. Tough break for the Celtics. Ellis then penetrated and dropped to Sanders for a dunk with .53 remaining to cut it to 1. Mbah played tough D on Pierce, and he missed in the lane. With .24 remaining, Jennings hit a huge 3 from the top of the key to give the Bucks a two point lead. Wide open look, the result of Ellis penetration. Terry missed a 3, Sanders was fouled on the rebound, and made 1-2 freethrows. Pierce and Terry both then had deep 3 attempts to tie it, but missed. Bucks win 91-88.
Sanders finished with 18p/16rb/5bl and Ilyasova 15p/5rb/4a. If these two can continue to contribute numbers like this, and the starters can avoid coming out flat, the Bucks could find some consistent success. Ilyasove might have his groove back. Mbah Moute returned to action and had 8pts/6 rb in 14 minutes. Dunleavy played minimal time due to a minor finger injury. Tobias Harris didn’t play at all – I’m not sure why, missed it. Henson has been looking good and is looking like he belongs. I like Lambs aggressiveness, but he had a couple boneheaded turnovers last night.
The Bucks lead the season series against the Celts 2-1. They play for the final time on 12/21. At 8-7, the Bucks are tied for the division lead with the Bulls. @Nor, @Sas, and Cha this week. Should be 10-8 by next Saturday.
In other news:
1) The Spurs were fined $250k for not playing Ginobli, Parker, or Duncan in a Friday night matchup at Miami – none of the players were injured, but Pop wanted to rest em at the end of a long road trip so he put them on a plane to San Antonio. Stern pitched it in such a way that made it sound like the fine was based heavily on how the Spurs went about it, rather than the act itself. They didn’t give the NBA or the Heat enough notice, and thus the resting was “contrary to the best interests of the NBA.” Beware the slippery slope, and look for lots of ******** at the end of the season when the Heat are sitting players for the last 10 games in advance of the playoffs. This is commonly accepted, but lots of mid market teams will be ******** about not getting to see Lebron play.
2) Ironically, the Heat damn near lost the game to the Spurs depleted 9 man roster. The fans saw a great game. Also, the extra rest for the Spurs stars worked out as they went all the way to overtime to beat their division rival Memphis on Saturday night. Makes Pop look pretty smart.
3) Speaking of joy for the game, Ricky Rubio is participating in full contact practice today. The Spaniard returns!!
4) What the hell got into the Badgers? That was a titanic beatdown. No idea what to expect out of this squad in the Rose Bowl. Interested to see what kind of line this one gets.