Bucks Diary

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bucks Diary: Nice Rebound

Ford Comes Up With A Spectacular Assist Late

On Tuesday the Bucks emailed their effort into the Staples Center and were humiliated by the much improved Los Angeles Clippers. On Wednesday the Bucks regrouped and produced one of their best efforts of the season in an impressive victory over the much improved Golden State Warriors. For once, the Bucks never dug themselves a hole, instead building an early lead and for the most part holding onto it for the entire game. Paradoxically, the Bucks slipped late in the fourth quarter, giving fans some nervous moments in a game that looked put away, but they fought through their difficulties and got the win. Very inspiring night for the Purple and Green. Here are some impressions from the victory:

Bogut Impressive in More Limited Duty

At the start C Andrew Bogut was relegated to the bench in favor of the veteran PF Joe Smith. The move limited Bogut's playing time, and I think that was a mistake. The Bucks seem better with Bogut on the court, particularly when he is playing the center position. While Bogut was on the floor and playing center during the second half the Bucks took and secured complete control of the game, building leads as large as 17 points, and never allowing the Warriors to get any closer than 12. It was when Bogut left the game midway through the fourth quarter that the Warriors rallied, outscoring the Bucks 19-9 with the rookie phenom on the bench.

And though Bogut had his worst shooting night of the season, I was really encouraged by his play on offense. He was unusually aggressive (he got up 12 shots in only 16 minutes!) and he seemed hell bent on dunking everything in close -- very good to see. He was also his usual tenacious self on the boards. He's a master in that area. If you watch him while the ball is in the air, he is always actively trying to position himself to get the rebound. He's got great instincts.

... Additionally, when Bogut was in there, the offense seemed to flow so much more smoothly, because of his intelligence and his passing abilities. He just makes things easier for everyone else.

... On defense it seems to me that Bogut is more comfortable guarding centers, and he seems more effective too. I think he prefers guarding guys down on the box rather than chasing them around the perimeter.

What Happened to TJ at the End?

PG TJ Ford, the normally flawless ballhandler and floor general for the Milwaukee Bucks, went through a strange case of the yips there at the end of the game. On three straight possessions, he looked like a fuddlefingers, turning the ball over each time and generally looking like Shaky Finch.
Between the 5:47 and the 4:54 mark, Ford had a pass stolen by Baron Davis, had his pocket picked by Davis, and then got his pocket picked again by Mickael Pietrus. On a subsequent possession a couple of minutes later, he again looked unsteady, nearly loosing the ball out-of-bounds. He saved it himself, though, and turned it into an impressive assist to SG Michael Redd (pictured above). Nonetheless, the turnover sequence seemed to shake the Bucks confidence a little at a crucial moment in the game, and added fuel to the Warriors late rally. I can't really explain what happened. He suddenly looked like he was uncomfortable handling the ball. It seems like bigger point guards like the Warriors Baron Davis bother him a bit, and maybe it finally shook his concentration. Weird sequence and out of character for the little guy.

Welsch Looks Good Again But Needs to Finish Drives

FG Jiri Welsch continued to make the best use of his limited time. He was 2-for-4 from the field for five points and added 2 rebounds in only 13 minutes of action. He looks comfortable on the offensive end and surprisingly he moves pretty well on defense. He needs to finish better around the rim though. On two seperate occasions he made strong moves to the hoop but then casually flipped the ball up at the basket, almost like a player would if he were fouled and was simply trying to get a shot in the air. Both turned into bad overlays. He needs to complete his drives with strength. Otherwise he looks like a great addition to the Purple and Green.

Magliore Looked Better

Last night Bucks C Jamaal Magliore looked like the player the Bucks traded for. Indeed, he showed some impressive moves around the basket. His footwork and quickness down low was really eye-opening. He brought out some spin moves I did not realize he had. They were somewhat similar to the kind of moves on the blocks that James Worthy used to display. The problem again tonight -- he wasn't finishing. The ball, for whatever reason, just wouldn't go in the drain. I am encouraged though, because he seems very close to getting his game on.

Ironically Good Sign: PG Mo Williams Held Scoreless

One of the most encouraging things about the Bucks road victory was PG Mo Williams. Or, rather, the lack of Mo Williams. With one of their hottest scorers failing to get off the schneid all night long the Bucks still found a way to win on the West Coast, against a talented team, and one night after getting blown out. All in all, quite a win for your Milwaukee Bucks.


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