Bucks Diary

Friday, December 30, 2005

Bucks look like an old ABA team

There's a website called remembertheaba.com that celebrates the long lost renegade American Basketball Association, with its red white and blue ball, and its "interesting" style of basketball. As good as that site is, its been rendered unnecessary. Why? Because there's a team in Milwaukee that pays homage to the ABA and its perverse take on the sport of basketball each and every game out.

The Spirits of Milwaukee?

The Bucks could be mistaken for the Spirits of St. Louis the way they have played this season. Indeed, the next time NBATV runs an old ABA game between the Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels, or whomever, watch how the game transpires, then keep it in your mind until you catch your next Bucks game. I defy you to notice any discernable difference between the styles of play. The ABA game will feature one on one, free for all offensive basketball, with an absolute indifference to defense. So will the Bucks game.

The court rules seem to be the same too. In the old ABA, you got shots on your own or you didn't get them at all. There were no screens, no pick and rolls; whoever had the ball would dribble it incessantly, looking to hoist up a shot the minute he saw daylight. Compare that to the style Michael Redd employs. He dribbles in circles looking to get his shot off, and then he will take it no matter the odds.

I have never seen a good player take so many horrible shots. Granted, he somehow makes many of them, but by merely taking them he shows a level of indifference to his teammates that is detrimental to the overall effectiveness of the team. I mean, how many guys are going to want to work without the ball when they see the star player taking all those awful step back sling shot jumpers? Suddenly the offense stagnates as they wait to see what kind of low percentage heave Redd is going to attempt this time down the court.

The Bucks lack of defensive effort is well chronicled, but it continues to sicken me. I just watched the Bucks give up 108 points to a New York Knicks team that can only be described as awful. Countless number of times, my Tivo rewind button caught Buck players guarding no one at all, and the team's penchant for allowing unmolested layups to perimeter players is now legendary.

And what about Jamaal Magliore? I'll give him credit, he's a rebounding machine, but he plays no defense at all! He was supposed to provide a shot blocking presence in the paint? I watched slow-footed Eddy Curry spin by him like he was in cement, and I watched the midget Nate Robinson drive right into him and score. Robinson is barely 5'7'', and Magliore couldn't stop his penetration. Sick.

Williams is the difference

There's one man keeping Terry Stotts Flying Circus from crash landing -- Guard Mo Williams. He was spectacular again tonight, outclassing the self-proclaimed 'best point guard in the league' Stephon Marbury. Williams sustained excellence is getting close to earning him consideration for the All-Star game. He's been that good.

With all of his missteps in free agency, General Manager Larry Harris can take great pride in the Williams signing. This guy is the real deal. Without him the Bucks would be below .500 and sinking fast. They may likely find themselves there soon, but not because of Williams. He is quickly moving himself into the rarified air breathed by the elites of the Association.

AP Photos by Morry Gash

Bobby Simmons an Expensive Bust

At this point in the season the free agent signing of GF Bobby Simmons looks like an expensive, cap-busting, mistake. The 6'6'' former De Paul player has not produced anywhere near the offensive numbers the team expected when they signed him away from the Los Angeles Clippers last summer. In fact, his production has actually declined, and declined substantially.

Coming into the season the Bucks had high hopes for Simmons. They signed him to an outrageously high contract based primarily on the numbers he produced last season in route to winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

The signing was the purest form of speculation. The Bucks were gambling that last season's numbers were a harbinger of things to come and not a one year aberration. If so, they believed they would come out ahead in the long run because they would have Simmons locked into a long term contract at what would turn out to be a pretty reasonable rate (if Simmons proved himself a top line player). Of course, the downside was that if last season turned out to be a fluke, the Bucks would be stuck with an overpriced contract for a mediocre player that would remain on their books for years to come. Unfortunately, the latter seems the more probable outcome at this point.

Simmons numbers are down from last year in virtually every important statistical category. His PPG average has dipped to a disappointing 11.8 (from 16.4); his FG percentage has fallen to an abysmal 40% (from a respectable 46.4%); his 3 pt percentage has dipped way down to 30% (from 43%); his rebounding is down; his assists are down; his steals are down. In short, Simmons has fallen short of the standards he set last year in almost every way imaginable. The Bucks have desperately searched for a third scoring option to compliment G Michael Redd and G Mo Williams all season long. They haven't found one in Simmons, even though the role seems tailor made for him. You have to say he's been a big bust.

Artest for Simmons? In a Heartbeat!

Which is why I find it so curious that so many Bucks fans would balk at trading Simmons for the troubled Indiana forward Ron Artest. Artest provides exactly what this team needs, toughness and defensive intensity, and at the same time he represents a huge upgrade from Simmons in virtually every offensive category. Yeah he's crazy, but I don't think he would be destructive. Most of his craziness comes from his desire to win. He's not Terrel Owens (sp?). He's not a self promoter. He's a guy with anger management issues. I hate to say it, but the Bucks could use a guy who gets a little mad and swings a little tough. They have no attitude. Artest would give them attitude and then some. If the deal presents itself, they have to do it. But you know they won't. The ghost of Anthony Mason continues to haunt this franchise. There's no straight analogy between Mason and Artest -- Artest's skill level and the upside of trading for him are so much greater than they ever were with Mason -- but I'll bet that is the argument that's winning the minds of those who matter down on 4th Street. Its too bad. No guts no glory, Mr. Harris.

Photos Courtesy of Associated Press

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bucks: Lucky or Good?

Three last second victories that could easily have gone the other way. Several blowout losses in which the team was noncompetitive. Are the Bucks an elite play-off team, or a mediocre team that has benefited from good fortune?

Bucks Headed for a Fall?

To this point, the Milwaukee Bucks have given up more points than they have scored. Most teams who give up more than they get have a below .500 record. Yet the Bucks are 14-9, well above .500. This is curious. Indeed the Bucks are the only team in the Association that has both a cumulative point deficit and a .500 or better record. Should we be worried?

The math says we should. The excellent website basketballreference.com has developed, or at least promulgates, a variation of the so-called "Pythagorean Thereom" (made famous by baseball stat geek Bill James) that they claim accurately predicts a team's won-loss record. The formula uses "points allowed" and "points scored" along with the multiple of 16 -- I'm not sure how they derived that multiple, but it seems fairly accurate. I went back over the Bucks entire franchise history and tested the formula against each season's final record. The formula held up very well.

In 16 of the 35 seasons, the formula was either dead-on accurate, or off by only one game. The formula was within six games in all but 6 of the seasons. The greatest inaccuracy occured during the 1978-79 season in which the team finished 38-44 while the pythagorean formula had them at 47-35, a nine game inaccuracy that translates into a 10% error.

This season the team has outperformed the formula by 3 games. The formula says the team should only be 11-12. That is a 13% error. The formula has never come close to suffering that large an error for an entire Bucks season. Bucks fans should be nervous. History tells us that sooner or later the team's record will move toward the predicted result.

The Ominous Case of the 2005 Washington Nationals

Consider the fate of baseball's 2005 Washington Nationals. At the All-Star break the team was 52-36. Everyone thought they were headed for the play-offs. Everyone except the stat geeks that is. They were unimpressed, screaming from the mountaintops that the Nats' record was an illusion that was soon to be exposed. You see, the Nats' Pythagorean record at the All-Star break was not even .500, principally because they were giving up more runs than they were scoring. The geeks saw this and knew the team's winning ways were soon to change. Indeed they did change -- dramatically. The team fell off the cliff in the second half of the baseball season with a record of 81-81, just as the formula expected.

Is a similar negative correction in Milwaukee's future? Probably. Logic says the Bucks simply cannot continue to be outscored by their opponents and still be as successful as they have been to date. It just doesn't happen. Don't get me wrong, I hope the Bucks will be that one team in a hundred that significantly outperforms the formula's predicted result. I just wouldn't bet a plug nickel on it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bucks Show Up; Defeat Champs

The season of bewilderment continues.

A couple nights after dropping a home game to the absolutely awful Utah Jazz, the Bucks defeat the reigning world champions, the San Antonio Spurs.

Tim Legler of ESPN had it exactly backwards. Last night on NBA FastBreak he said the Bucks victory would give them confidence because it was a win over an elite team and not one of the bottomfeeders Milwaukee had been living off. He obviously doesn't really follow the Bucks because the team has been compiling impressive victories over play-off teams (Nets, 76ers, Pacers, Wizards, Mavericks, Heat, and now the Spurs) and getting tripped up by the bottomfeeders (Jazz, Lakers, Kings). In a sense, I suppose you can almost say that last night's thrilling victory was predictable. The Bucks live to play the big boys. Now they have to learn to take care of business against the also-rans (oh, oh... I see the Oklahoma City Hornets are next).

Bogut takes charge

FC Andrew Bogut has had two of his more impressive games against two of the best power forwards in basketball -- Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and now San Antonio's Tim Duncan. He scored the Bucks final two field goals in overtime, showing that he is not afraid of the pressure shot. He seemed pumped for the game, and turned in a superior effort.

Bogut set the pace early on by spinning right around Duncan and jamming on the all-star on the game's opening play. It was a startling move. Bogut looked quick and Duncan looked like he didn't think Bogut could do that. Bogut showed he was unafraid. Even the referees took notice. Bogut's aggressive, outstanding play had to have been a factor when he flopped under the basket and yet amazingly got the pushoff call against Duncan at a key point in the fourth quarter. I couldn't believe my eyes.

One tiny criticism, though. I wish he would stop shooting so many of his lane shots with his left hand. He doesn't make alot of them, and often the resort to the left hand appears unnecessary. He should try to make an effort to shoot as many as he can with his dominant right hand, he seems much more effective that way (witness his game winner).

Did you notice who the Spurs went after?

Even though F Tim Duncan was having a brilliant offensive night, and was being guarded by a rookie, on five straight crucial fourth quarter possessions, with the game in the balance, Spurs PG Tony Parker was the one to take the San Antonio shot. Why would the Spurs go to Parker rather than Duncan on so many critical offensive stanzas? Well guess who was guarding Parker? T.J. Ford. Question answered.

You know the strategy came straight from Popovich. There is no way Popovich would have tolerated Parker dominating the ball as he did if Parker was freelancing. Clearly Popovich felt the best way to get points was to attack the worst defender on the court -- Ford -- and that's what Parker did with the expected high degree of success.

Bucks clean the glass

As frustrating as the Bucks defensive effort can be at times, that's how inspiring their rebounding effort has been all season long. I can't remember a Bucks team that was this good on the boards.

Last night the Bucks outrebounded the mighty Spurs, and it was no fluke. The Spurs are an excellent rebounding team, but the Bucks looked consistently better. On several occasions the Bucks outfought and outhustled the Spurs for crucial rebounds. I can remember one particularly beautiful sequence where Bogut and Magliore each had an offensive rebound (Bogut missed a lefthanded follow; Magliore cleaned that up and scored the basket) and outclassed Duncan in the process. They made him look like he was wearing cement shoes, and that is a rare sight.

AP Photos by Morry Gash

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Exasperating Bucks

The Bucks give me a headache, and I think I know why.

When an established thought or belief a person holds in his or her mind (in my case: that the Bucks are a good team) is consistently challenged by contradictory information (in my case: The Bucks string of blowout losses and/or bad losses to weak teams), the person is thrown into a state of confusion marked by sharp anxiety as he or she attempts to reconcile the conflicting notions. Its called "cognitive dissonance" and that's what the Bucks have induced in me.

Every time they record a convincing win on the road or they defeat a legitimate contender, and they have done those things often, I want so badly to believe they have turned a corner and come of age as a contending team. Just when that belief starts to lock in, they have nights like Saturday where they walk out onto their home court in front of their home fans -- hard working people who shell out a lot of dough to watch them play -- and they humiliate themselves by losing to a team like Utah that is not only mediocre, but also contains only one player that I have ever even heard of (Okur, for what its worth).

And its not just the loss, its the way they lose. They put out no effort at all on defense. That's not the mark of a contender. They don't even look like their trying. If you watch, many of them (I'm talking to you TJ Ford) don't even bother to get into a defensive posture (the sort of squatting position good defenders use to enable themselves to beat their man to a spot or, if guarding the ball, to move laterally to cut off drives to the basket). When you see that you know they don't even give a shit.

A Litany of Defensive Sins

I could go on and on about the mistakes the Bucks make on the defensive end. They refuse to move their feet to cut off drives to the basket, they won't fight over screens, they won't harass the man with the ball, they never crowd shooters, they won't take hard fouls to prevent easy baskets, and they stupidly gang collapse on any drive to the basket which almost always leaves the driver with an easy dish to a wide open teammate, and one who is generally in position to score a slam dunk.

Just watch next game. Instead of rotating in an orderly manner to cut the driver's path to the hoop, while at the same time obstructing the driver's ability to pass the ball to an open teammate, the Bucks will either not rotate anyone and provide the driver a clear path to the basket (Dwayne Wade had a huge scoring night the other night and every one of his baskets was a layup or dunk) or they will haphazardly run several players at the driver, leaving the driver with several easy options should he decide to pass the ball.

Effort alone would make a difference

The net effect of the aforementioned lapses is bad enough. But its the team's approach to defense (established by the head coach) that has the greatest effect on the opposition. The Bucks entire body language on the defensive end can only be interpreted as indifference. What this passive attitude does is put the other team's players into a comfort zone, which makes them exponentially better offensive players than they actually are. Its a proven fact, established in several studies: Your opponent's attitude alone (as conveyed by his actions and his body language) has a profound effect on your effectiveness as a competitor.

Think about the times you play pick up basketball. Guys at the Y don't play very aggressive defense and, obviously, since the teams are chosen at random their is no organized pattern of rotation. Consequently, it makes you feel comfortable: You don't rush your shot, you think before you pass the ball, you make wise decisions, etc.

Now compare that to games you play in organized leagues against any team that cares enough to put out a legitimate effort. Its a whole different world. Suddenly you've got a guy in your face when handling the ball -- and even if he sucks his spastic aggressiveness alone can unnerve you and effect your level of play. Suddenly guys are moving to cut you off, and their hands are extended making passes difficult -- thus when you drive you have to make a decision under duress. And, if the team consistently challenges your shot, you find yourself rushing even wide open shots. It all adds up.

What I'm trying to say is the Bucks lackadaisical approach to defense actually makes the opposition better offensive teams.

That is why its so unforgivable. If the team would just put some effort into it, that would make things harder for the other team. But they won't do it. Effort is painful. Its work. It hurts. Therefore it must be motivated by either pride or pain. I'll let you decide the pride question, but I'll say unequivocally their is no evidence of pain. Player after player loafs on defense and Terri Stotts just stands their like a statue or a mime who is doing an excellent impersonation of a piss poor basketball coach.

This bum is the worst coach in Milwaukee Bucks history; and yes, I remember Frank Hamblen. This guy is worse.

AP Photos by Charles Krupa

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bucks at the Quarter Pole

Canadians make a big deal out of the "Quarter Pole" in hockey, the quarter point of the season. In basketball generally we could not care less. However, since I haven't posted in weeks (I've been in Mexico) I'm desperate for some kind of topic to get this blog relaunched. So here are a few of my impressions on the Purple and Green as they pass turn number one:

These random blowouts frighten me

I can't get my mind around these blowout losses suffered by the Bucks. They seem to be a good team when they put their collective mind to it, but what does it say about them that they can have such gigantic letdowns?

They should never have been blown out by the Kings, Jazz, Lakers, or Heat. Sure, in a couple of those games they have been shorthanded, but talent alone should have kept them closer than the final score.

Because the team is so maddeningly inconsistent, I don't know what to make of them. They are sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, but I'm not sure they are at this point a legitimate playoff team. I'm not sure what they are.

Ford has to improve his defense

A couple of weeks back TJ Ford said something to the effect that in the NBA its difficult to shut guys down, so -- I'm heavily paraphrasing here -- his goal is simply to outscore them. Sorry TJ, that's a bunch of bullshit. Ford gets lit up more often than those candles at a Catholic Church, and I'm getting sick of it.

The latest to victimize Ford was the over-the-hill Miami PG Gary Payton, a guy who is basically playing on fumes. In the game prior to that, he was taken to town by the Knicks midget rookie Nate Robinson. Unacceptable! Ford has to start to take some pride in his defense. I realize he's undersized, but if he wants to play in the NBA he has to find a way to at least harass the opposition's point guard.

Williams the Quarter Pole MVP

I absolutely can't say enough good things about G Michael Williams. Thus far he stands as the Bucks most valuable player. Without his superb breakout season the Bucks would be nowhere.

Why not Redd? Well, Redd was a given, but Williams has been the surprise ingredient that has made the pot tasty, despite all of the injuries, despite the frustratingly up-and-down play.

He comes off the bench with firepower, averaging 14 points per game on 45% shooting. He has single handedly won games, at least two of which he won in breathtaking fashion, dropping coldblooded three pointers down at the buzzer.

He has become the Bucks indispensable player. If you doubt that, witness how noncompetitive the Bucks looked against the Heat at home when Williams had to sit out with an injury. Redd had a nice game, but without that second option the team had no chance.

Bogut's doing okay

Don't get down on FC Andrew Bogut. Sure, other rookies are putting up better stats, but he's doing okay, and he will get better. At this point he's just taking what's there for him within the context of the offense, and that in itself is a great sign. As his confidence grows, so will his numbers. Remember, at this point he is playing out of position at power forward. Consequently, he's been asked to guard some of the league's tougher players, a tall task for any rookie, let alone one who is a natural center, and he has -- by and large -- put up a good account of himself.

What to make of Magliore

At the quarter point, C Jamaal Magliore is still a mystery to me. On the one hand, he's a rebounding machine, averaging double figures in that area. His offensive game is also picking up after a hideous start.

On the other hand, if you look at the numbers gathered by 82games.com, the Bucks are a far better team with him on the bench than with him in the game. In fact, he continues to put up the worst numbers -- by far -- of any Buck when it comes to that particular analysis. If you analyze any 100 possessions, the Bucks are 27 points worse off with him on the court. That's a number you simply can't ignore. Its no longer a statistical curiousity, its now a trend that has to be explained.

But that's the problem. Its hard to pinpoint why the results are so disappointing when Magliore is on the floor. The numbers are gloomy on both sides of the ball. Per 100 possessions, the offense is 16 points worse, and the defense gives up 11 more points on average when he is on the court. So he's hurting us on both ends.

I have several completely unproven theories as to what is causing this, but, I'll keep them to myself for now. What I'm going to do instead for my next post is analyze four randomly chosen games on a minute-by-minute basis to try to discern any trends that distinguish the Bucks play with and without Magliore. Hopefully I can find something.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bucks Diary: Purple Reigns over the East

The Bucks continued their dominance of Eastern Conference foes on Friday night, collecting a very impressive road win over yet another playoff contender, the Washington Wizards, 105-102. Your Milwaukee Bucks are now an astounding 6-1 against the Eastern Conference, with victories over some of the best teams the Conference has to offer. Last
night there were two difference makers for the Purple and Green: PG Mo Williams, who returned to the form that made him an early favorite for the Most Improved Player award, and C Jamaal Magliore, who simply returned to the form the Bucks had expected when they traded for him.

Anyone who reads this page knows I am not a Bucks cheerleader. I was skeptical of the early season success, believing it was the product of good fortune as opposed to really rock solid basketball. The last two wins have been the product of rock solid basketball. The Bucks outrebounded another opponent, of course, but the real stat line every Buck fan should be looking at is the assists: 28 on 44 made baskets. Outstanding.

The New Junior Bridgeman?

15 for 21. 35 points. That was the line last night for supersub (but starter last night) PG Mo Williams. That's some kind of shooting, I tell you what (I'm watching King of the Hill while I'm writing this). And this Mo Williams is some kind of player. What he did tonight was nothing short of awesome. His three pointer at the buzzer was a shot an all-star would take and make. Mo's moving in that direction, and the Association is taking notice. Larry Harris must be commended for seeing the festering talent lying within this guy when he signed him away from Utah. He is superb, and I now believe he is one of the most important players on the Bucks roster, filling the same role that the great Junior Bridgeman did in the early 1980s. Who would have thought that just one month ago?

Sky's the Limit for the Bucks if Magliore Plays Like This

The Bucks can compete with absolutely anybody in the league if C Jamaal Magliore consistently registers performances like last night. Here was the guy we thought we were getting. He was his usual dominant self on the glass, but tonight he also brought a scoring touch down low. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and basically owned the middle. Keep it up Jamaal.

Have to Sign Off for Now Bucks Fans

I'd like to write more, and the Milwaukee Bucks effort in DC deserves more, but I'm tired. I will close by saying its another great day in Bucksland, and it is beginning to look like we have one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Just look at the impressive Hit List the Bucks have produced already this season. It looks like a Who's Who of the Eastern Conference Playoff Contenders. Great job Milwaukee.

Retro Post: The Greatest Game in Bucks History

102-101, was the final score of the greatest game in Bucks history, the Bucks double overtime victory at the Boston Garden over the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the 1974 NBA Finals. The transcendent greatness of the game has since been overshadowed by the triple overtime thriller in the 1976 NBA Finals played in the same venue between the Celtics and the Phoenix Suns. In my opinion, however, 'Game Six' (as it is simply known to Bucks fans) deserves a place as one of the best basketball games ever played.

(As a side note, did the Bucks ever sport cooler jerseys than their 1974 road jerseys which were immortalized in this game?)

Spectacular Plays From Both Sides

The game, particularly the second overtime, featured spectacular play after spectacular play, most of them made by the brilliant Celtic F John "Hondo" Havlicek, who finished with a game high 36 points. Havlicek was incredible; he almost single-handedly defeated the Bucks. But they wouldn't let him. In a sweaty Boston Garden, with a raucous crowd almost spilling onto the floor, the Milwaukee players showed there was a thing called "Bucks Pride", turning in one of the greatest collective efforts in NBA history.

First Overtime: No One Could Find the Basket

After a lackluster first overtime, in which the teams combined to score just 4 points a piece on 4-for-17 shooting, and in which the Bucks unbelievably turned the ball over when they had the lead and less than 16 seconds were left on the clock, the teams brought their "A" games out for overtime number two, and turned this game from noteworthy to legendary.

Second Overtime: Both Teams Step It Up

If the first overtime was one for the garbage can, the second overtime was one for the ages. Bobby Dandridge opened the scoring, hitting two free throws to put the Bucks up 92-90. After the Bucks resident hippy guard Mickey Davis was called for palming, John Havlicek took over.

First he cut the lane and made a short jumper over Dandridge, who was whistled for a foul on the shot. Havlicek completed the three point play to make it 93-92. Then Kareem answered with a left lane sky hook. 94-93 Bucks. Then Havlicek made another jumper. 95-94 Celtics. The Big O answered with a terrific stop and pop jumper in the lane. 96-95 Milwaukee. Then after Kareem swatted a Havlicek jumper out of bounds, the Celtics inbounded the ball to G JoJo White, who made an impossible baseline jumper. 97-96 Boston.

The Big O Comes Up Big

Proving that big players play big in big moments, on the Bucks ensuing possession, Oscar Robertson made an unfathomable running one-hander while sprawling across the lane, and with only 1 second left on the 24 second clock. A truly remarkable shot. Bucks recapture the lead, 98-97.

Havlicek Answers

The lead was shortlived, however, as the incomparable Havlicek came down and buried yet another jump shot to put Boston back ahead 99-98. It was a heavyweight title fight, and each fighter was landing haymakers, but neither could knock the other out.

Bye Bye Dave Cowens

The game took a pivotal turn on the next possession. The Bucks threw the ball into Jabbar on the left block. He immediately wheeled into the lane. Celtics C Dave Cowens was forced to handcheck the big man. It was his sixth foul and he was disqualified. That disqualification would soon prove crucial.

After the Cowens foul, however, the Bucks got sloppy. Inbounding the ball on the side, they inexplicably wasted time in the backcourt and almost made an historic blunder by allowing the 24 second clock to expire without even attempting a shot. The game seemed to tilt irretrievably to the Celtics.

Robertson Saves the Day

But they could not deliver the dagger, when Oscar Robertson's glove like defense forced Havlicek into a rare crunch time error: he dribbled the ball off his foot.

The Hippy Hero

This set up one of the most unlikely big shots in Bucks history. With 24 seconds left on the clock and the Bucks trailing by one, Mickey Davis made an incredible baseline floater over the outstretched hand of Boston F Paul Silas. The Bucks were momentarily in control, 100-99.

Havlicek Nearly Wins It

But the Celtics weren't done. Of course it was Hondo Havlicek who answered, sending the Boston crowd into an absolute frenzy when he made what might otherwise have been remembered as one of the great shots in NBA history, nailing a 15 foot baseline rainbow jumper over the leaping hand of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 7 seconds remaining. The championship seemed to belong to Boston. Havlicek's baseline floater was set to take its place in the annals of Celtic history. Rather than going down as one of the great shots of all time, however, the shot is now almost completely forgotten because of what transpired next.

A Sky Hook for the Ages

After Havlicek's heroics, the Bucks called timeout and advanced the ball to midcourt. Oscar inbounded the ball to Kareem. Apparently the play was designed to go to Jon McGlocklin, but Kareem couldn't find him. Instead he dribbled down the right hand side of the lane, and, free from the pesky Cowens who had fouled out, he was able to let fly with an outside hook shot, well outside of his normal comfort zone. The greatest shot in Milwaukee Buck history flew about 16 feet and drew nothing but net.

Kareem's legendary shot brought the Celtic crowd to its knees, and brought the Bucks to the brink of a second world championship. Alas, they never quite made it there, losing the seventh game in anticlimactic fashion, and, regretably, they haven't been to another NBA Finals since.

But that monumental skyhook will always be remembered with fondness by fans of the Purple and Green as long as the Bucks franchise endures. 102-101. The final score of the greatest game in Milwaukee Bucks history.