Bucks Diary

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bucks Diary: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Bucks Celebrate Miracle Win

Its been a thrilling first five games for fans of the Purple and Green. After an improbable last second victory against the formidable Indiana Pacers, the Bucks stand 4-1, with each victory containing a rally from a double digit deficit, and two being either won or preserved with a last second three point basket. The cardiac Bucks. Their game telecasts should contain a cautionary warning for those with heart conditions. No rally is to great to overcome. The only thing that can stop them is time.

The question is, how long can the Bucks continue to live dangerously? You can't fall behind by 20 and expect to win on a consistent basis. Sure, the wins so far are great, and the list of oppoents defeated is impressive, but do you remember the beginning of Apocalypse Now when Willard and the Army brass are listening to a recording of Kurtz on which the demented Colonel says:

I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight... razor... and surviving.

That's what I think of when I think of these Buck wins. A snail crawling along the edge of a straight razor and surviving. How long can they keep surviving? Not long I fear. Here are the areas that need shoring up if the Bucks are to become a legitimate title contender:

Inside Scoring

Earlier I said the Bucks were built along the lines of the San Antonio Spurs. They don't play that way, however. They don't feed the post nearly enough and they don't utilize the offensive skills of their big men, specifically Jamaal Magliore and rookie Andrew Bogut. They are becoming too dependent on the jump shooting skills of G Michael Redd and reserve G Mo Williams. To become a true contender, they must make a more concerted effort to work the offense inside-out. In other words, they have to feed the high post, probably Bogut as he is the superior passer. He can then trigger the offense back to the shooters, or use his own moves to get easy inside baskets. This will prevent the Bucks from being so hot and cold.

More Defense

Thus far the Bucks are playing very little quality defense. This type of play doesn't fly in the play-offs. Redd can be shut down. How reliable is Williams? I wouldn't want to go into any play-off series depending solely upon outscoring the opponent, or hoping the opponent misses an inordinate amount of foul shots (as Indiana did on Saturday). Defense is a constant. The Bucks must begin to concentrate on playing more of it.

No More Houdinis

Statistically speaking, these come from behind wins tend to even themselves out. The Bucks cannot dig themselves these gullies and then expect night after night to pull off miracle escapes. They need to start playing from ahead. They need to go aggressively to the hoop and even out the foul shot opportunities. Until they do that, they cannot expect to continue along the winning path they are currently on.


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