Erik Thorne

OnBucksBasketball - Week 11

Basketball is a funny game. Sometimes the rim looks like a hoola hoop. Other times, you wonder how the ball ever goes in. After losing back to back games to end last week, the Bucks knew it would take an extra effort to earn a victory this week. During the next stretch, Milwaukee will compete against some of the league’s best teams. With John Henson still on the bench and the Bucks actively trying to trade Gary Neal, they will roll the dice with the players they have and try to steal a few wins.

Entering their game at the Bradley Center, the Warriors had streaked to eight wins in a row including five straight on their current road trip. Knowing that Golden State has been so hot of late, the Bucks keyed in on containing sharp-shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Milwaukee succeeded by only allowing the duo to shoot 11-36 in the game. However, they had no answer for the interior skill of Warriors forward David Lee. The veteran big man made his first nine shots totaling 22 points and the Bucks would lose 101-80.

Since the season-ending injury to former MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been in a mild tailspin. Even though Chicago still has a very good chance of making the playoffs, it’s highly probable they won’t advance past the first few rounds. The Bucks and Bulls split the first two meetings this year, with both road teams coming out with the victory. This contest was close until midway through the fourth quarter, when Milwaukee suddenly went cold at home. They were unable to hit a shot in the final 5 minutes and 11 seconds of the game. Ultimately, the lack of size and strength for the Bucks would the difference between winning and losing.

The week came to a close with a Saturday night meeting in Oklahoma City. Giannis Antetokoumnpo has looked up to reigning NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant during his formative years playing basketball. Antetokoumnpo molded his game to that of Durant as a teenager. But on this night, it was time for the rookie to show off all those skills against his idol.

The first Bucks basket exemplified the Greek Freak’s passion to be the next superstar. Giannis caught the ball on the wing, attempted to drive to the basket and had the ball stolen. He quickly ran after the thief, dove towards the ball and knocked it loose to his teammate Brandon Knight. The rookie quickly sprang to his feet, made eye contact with Knight and caught a lob for one of Antetokoumnpo’s nastiest dunks of his young career. Milwaukee lost the game, but anyone who watched knows the Bucks have drafted a diamond in the rough.

Lately the Bucks can’t get a win, no matter how hard they try. Milwaukee has the will to win, but this collection of players hasn’t shown the ability to mesh when it counts. This team still does not know who will take the big shot at the end of a game. In the past few weeks Khris Middleton was given the chance to win or tie games and has come up short every time. OJ Mayo will take any shot, but he just has not made them this year either. The streaky Brandon Knight also has shown some promise, but his inability to pass out of a double team has become a problem. Perhaps this upcoming week, we will find out which player can be clutch.

BUCK OF THE WEEK! – Ersan Ilyasova 42 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists

7 wins/29 losses