OnBucksBasketball - Week 19
A busy Bucks week began with a home contest against Utah, who was been struggling with its team identity all season long. The Milwaukee starters came out firing in the game, shooting 76% as a unit. Ersan Ilyasova came out of his shell with a near perfect night from the field by making 13 of his 14 shots for 31 points. The Bucks controlled the energy from the tipoff to the final horn – notching their twelfth win of the season. It was also nice to see Kareem Abdul Jabbar visit the Bradley Center on a Monday night in winter to witness the 114-88 victory.
Hoping to win consecutive games for the first time this season, Milwaukee hosted Sacramento in their only trip to the brew city in 2014. However, the Bucks just couldn’t seem to take off in this affair. The Kings took advantage of their considerable girth and toughness by beasting the Bucks in the paint. DeMarcus Cousins and Reggie Evans wreaked havoc on the thin Milwaukee post players with dunks and post-ups all night long. As Brandon Knight remarked in the locker room that, “there's 82 games and it's going to be tough not to have one where you're stuck in mud”. So, there you have it. The Bucks got stuck in the mud, losing 116-102.
Next up was a trip to the French Quarter to take on the middling Pelicans. Just before the all-star break, these two teams met and the Bucks simply weren’t able to keep up with center Anthony Davis. With the recent addition of Jeff Adrien, Milwaukee was able to answer back with physicality and toughness that has been lacking without Larry Sanders. In the end, Adrien finished with a career high 20 points with 10 rebounds. Although Davis tallied 25 points and 14 rebounds, it was refreshing to see a battle in the post that was competitive. Ultimately, the Bucks just didn’t bring the defensive intensity giving up 50% shooting to the New Orleans – resulting in a 112-104 loss.
The week closed with a matchup against Washington on a Saturday night on 4th and State. This matchup was a tale of two halves, as the Wizards scored 75 points in the first half. Nobody seemed to be able to guard veteran Trevor Ariza as he went off for 16 points in the first quarter. The Bucks found a spark as they rallied for twelve quick points coming out of the break. Milwaukee cut the 28 point Washington lead to just three points in the final minutes, but in the end the perimeter defense did not hold up. The Wizards made a season high 15 three point baskets in the game, as they beat the home Bucks 114-107.
Over the last few weeks, it’s been easy to see that the Bucks are a better team with the services of Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions. Both of these guys are veterans, are ready to stick their nose in the action and won’t back down from a challenge. This is the sort of attitude adjustment that general manager John Hammond has finally succeeded in providing. If the Bucks are trying to learn how to win games again, Adrien and Sessions are perfect role models for the young team to learn from. John Henson and Brandon Knight could do very well studying the ways these two players go about their business. If they do, Milwaukee will have a few more hunters on their team that will go for the kill each and every game. Sometimes, a little attitude adjustment is all you need.
BUCK OF THE WEEK! Brandon Knight 76 points, 11 rebounds, 18 assists
12 wins/50 losses