Offensive Ineptitude Dooms Bucks
The Bucks lost their first game this season against an Eastern Conference opponent, falling to the Detroit Pistons, 85-76, on Saturday night at the Bradley Center. The loss dropped the Bucks to .500 for the season at 6-6. The Bucks have suffered all six losses in their last nine games.
Brain Dead Down the Stretch
On this night SG Michael Redd both kept the Bucks in the game and killed them. He made some incredible, high-degree-of-difficulty threes to get the Bucks back to within three points midway through the fourth quarter (73-70), but then proceeded to help kill any chance the Bucks had of winning the game by subsequently hoisting up three of the worst shots I have ever seen a professional player take.
He wasn't alone. After getting the game down to the aforementioned three point deficit, the Bucks collectively recorded eight straight unproductive trips to the offensive end of the court, many of them ending early in the shot clock when Buck players either fired the first time they touched the ball, or simply turned the ball back over to the Pistons without even getting the chance to shoot.
In fact, the Bucks offense was so disorganized and scatterbrained down the stretch I kept looking at the Bucks bench to see if they actually had a coach. You would think that after 2 or 3 or 5 of those awful offensive episodes someone on the purple and green bench would have decided to call a timeout and inject some sense into the players. It never happened. The horror show was just allowed to continue unabated. Indeed, from the point they got the game to 73-70 (at the 5:05 mark) the Bucks did not score again until 35 seconds were left in the game and the contest was long since decided. Yet Stotts did not call a timeout until there was 1:14 remaining. By then it was way too late.
Why Not Go Down to Bogut?
In the third quarter the Bucks went down low to Andrew Bogut twice. Both entries produced baskets by the rookie. Then they went there no more. When they were struggling in the fourth quarter, why not go low to the big man? The Pistons were in the penalty, meaning Bogut would have had the advantage on whomever was guarding him. I guess pushing the offense in that direction makes a lot less sense than throwing up early threes or off balance leaners.
TJ Ford must get a jump shot
The Association has figured out how to play TJ Ford. Give him the jump shot if he's on the perimeter. If he drives, stay on the perimeter players so he has no kickout opportunities, and let your big men smother any attempt he makes to finish. This strategy has severely limited Ford's effectiveness. How many times have we seen him penetrate only to dribble back out when he can't find anyone for a kick and is afraid to challenge the interior defense? He needs to show he can consistently drop in outside shots to thwart this strategy.
Simmons really scuffling
SF Bobby Simmons is really in a slump. He can't hit anything -- against Detroit he missed 8 of his 11 field goal attempts and he is shooting just 40% from the field for the season. Other than Jiri Welsch, who Stotts doesn't seem to trust, and Toni Kukoc, who has gottent too old to be effective anymore, the Bucks have no replacement. The bottom line is Simmons has to find his game or the Bucks are going to continue to decline.
How are the Bucks even competitive?
One has to wonder how the Bucks have as many victories as they do. They are undisciplined on offense, other than Michael Redd their perimeter players can't shoot, their starting center is a cement mason, and they play sporadic defense at best. What is keeping them competitive? Michael Redd and rebounding. That's about it. If either of those two things falter on any given night, the Bucks are toast. They can't continue to live this way.