OnBucksBasketball - Week 9
With the return of Larry Sanders, the Bucks were able to bolster their front line with a true defensive force. His presence can’t be measured only in blocks, rebounds and dunks. Sanders brings a tough mentality to the floor by fouling hard if he can’t block the shot and NEVER gives up an easy lay-up on defense. One player in particular who is excited for Larry’s return is forward John Henson, who has said that it is fun to play when both the long-armed gentlemen are on the court at the same time. Another bonus is Henson is able to play his natural position of power forward instead of getting beat up at the center position most nights. Unfortunately for Bucks fans, Henson recently suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out for several games – so the fun will have to wait.
The week began on the road with a final meeting between in Bucks and Bobcats. Showing true grit, Milwaukee fought hard by taking the game to overtime, but in the end the game was lost by inches. With 1.8 seconds left, Khris Middleton found himself open in the corner for a three point attempt. The shot was good, but his foot was just over the line. The third overtime game in four contests ended with another tough Bucks loss.
Just two weeks ago, Brooklyn came into Milwaukee and totally dismantled the home squad. During the NBA grind, a team can totally change from game to game due to injury and the production of their starters. Top notch Nets center Brook Lopez recently broke a bone in his foot and was lost for the year. Without his presence, the Bucks were able to open up the area around the basket which allowed for a few electrifying plays above the rim. Giannis Antetokoumnpo logged his first career double-double by recording 16 points and ten rebounds. More importantly, the rookie led Milwaukee in minutes played on the night. In the end, the Bucks would lose 104-93 but would pick up some momentum by showing some of the potential this group has going forward.
Playing in the ultra-competitive western conference, the Timberwolves have made a name for themselves this season with their entertaining style of play. In Minnesota’s only trip to the Bradley Center this year, they showed why they are worthy of making it into the playoffs. Even with the return of Sanders, the Bucks would have a long night trying to defend the talented Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic in the post. When all was said and done, Milwaukee simply did not do enough in the rebounding department to merit a win. When a team gives up 15 offensive rebounds, it can be nearly impossible to keep up morale when playing defense for minutes at a time.
Though OJ Mayo may have signed in Milwaukee to become a starring player, perhaps he can make the biggest impact as the first man off the bench. Mayo recently lost his starting job to the flashy Antetokoumnpo, but his above average perimeter shooting could bolster the scoring for the lackluster bench. Although he may not be starting games, if Mayo is effective he could be on the court at the end of games. Coach Larry Drew has certainly had to mix and match countless lineups and rotations this year, but moving Mayo to the sixth man role may be his most advantageous move yet.
BUCK OF THE WEEK! – Khris Middleton 52 points, 23 rebounds, 10 assists.
6 wins/24 losses