Bucks Diary

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bucks Diary: Are they this good?

I don't want to get too excited about the Bucks just yet. Its only Game 2, but the way they have played is eye-opening. Milwaukee played home opener foil on consecutive nights to two Atlantic Division foes who figure to be in the play-off hunt come next spring. On both nights the Bucks fell behind before rallying to bury their hosts.
On Tuesday they caught up just in the nick of time against Philadelphia. Last night against the New Jersey Nets they rallied much earlier and were in position therefore to turn the game into, frankly, a laugher. The Bucks led the Nets by as many as 16 points, and won by 14.
The question of the moment is: Are the Bucks really this good? I guess we will get more information on Saturday night when they take on the scary Miami Heat. That team is a powerhouse for sure and will certainly test the brash young Bucks.
Until then, I'll ponder some reasons why the Bucks are, or might not be, as good as they have looked the last two nights:

Bobby Simmons informs the Nets Richard Jefferson that he's overrated

PRO: The Bucks have been winning with contributions from various sources.

The Bucks look deep. On Tuesday night they got key scoring contributions from Charlie Bell and a big night out of Bobby Simmons. Last night Bell did not register a point and Simmons had a rough game. Yet the Bucks still won handily, with reserve point guard Maurice Williams having a spectacular night (did you see his Hakeem like fake spin move jumper? Whoever was guarding him was left somewhere in Hoboken.) Versatility in the scoring column is the mark of a tough team.

What zone is Michael Redd in and how do you get there?

CON: Michael Redd has been white hot, and can't possibly keep it up

Everything Michael Redd has been throwing up has been going in. The range finder on his sling shot jumper is locked in. And he's going to the basket effectively as well. He's been incredible the last two games and can't possibly keep up that pace all season. When he comes back to Earth, will the Bucks also?

PRO: The Bucks are crushing teams without gettting anything from Jamaal Magliore

Jamaal Magliore looks a little lost on the offensive end. He has barely contributed there. Once he gets going, the Bucks will only get better.

CON: TJ Ford is playing above himself

This one I'm not sure about. Perhaps he's a new person altogether. Whatever the case, he's been spectacular, averaging 18 points and 10 assists per game. Getting him back, especiallythis new and improved model, has been like getting both Chris Paul and Bogut in the draft. Actually, he's better than Chris Paul. But, it defies logic that he can come back and play so far above his career numbers, especially in the scoring department. Can he keep it up?

PRO: TJ Ford is the ultimate difference maker

I'm inclined to lean this way. When he's healthy, the Bucks win. Its that simple. He sets up his teammates beautifully, he pushes the ball hard and puts pressure on the other team's defense at all times, and now he penetrates and finishes, meaning defenses will have to respect him. If they do, he will find the open man. He has now outclassed Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd on consecutive nights. What have we got here?

CONCLUSION: Yes, they are this good (I think).

At the risk of jinxing the Green and Purple, I am going to say they ARE this good. They are a fastbreaking, share the ball and hit your shot team that's never out of a game. A couple posts ago I made fun of Chicago Tribune columnist Sam Smith for calling the Bucks a Finals contender; I now apologize. If the Bucks can keep TJ Ford healthy, and if they can continue to get the play off the bench that they have been getting, I think they can compete with anyone in the Association --- including the San Antonio Spurs.


At November 3, 2005 at 4:50 AM, Blogger chris said...

I've never watched these guys live, only on the box. One day maybe... Still there's no denying it, they're awesome.
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