Bucks Diary

Monday, January 02, 2006

Bucks Find Ways to Win

I never hold back when it comes to criticizing the Bucks shortcomings. In fact, I probably dish out much more abuse to them than they deserve. I admit their annoying habit of playing soft on defense and taking questionable shots on offense sometimes blinds my vision of the big picture. It just frustrates me so much that I overlook the strengths these Bucks have displayed. After last nights win over the Chicago Bulls, 93-92, its time to give the Bucks some of the respect they have earned.

Your Resilient Milwaukee Bucks

This is an incredibly resourceful and resilient basketball team. Last night's road victory over the Chicago Bulls was a perfect example of those qualities.

The Bulls are not a particularly talented team, nor are they overly successful (being merely 12-17 after last night's loss), but unlike other recent Buck victims (like the pathetic New York Knickerbockers) they are mentally tough, play hard defense, and rarely beat themselves. Consequently, defeating them on their home court is an impressive achievement in and of itself. But what made this Bucks win especially impressive were the circumstances surrounding it, which I list below.

(A) No Rebounding Edge for the Purple and Green: The Bucks normally cover up some of their questionable offense by dominating the boards. On Monday they were outrebounded by the Bulls, 43 to 41.

(B) No Big Mo: This season the team usually needs a big night from Mo Williams to win. But on Monday Mo shot a dismal 4 for 10 on the way to a mere 13 points.

(C) No 100 points: The team normally has to score 100 points to win, generally because their weak defense requires it. On Monday they won despite a poor shooting night that produced only 93 points for the Purple and Green. For once, they won because of tough defense, holding the Bulls to only 40 points in the second half.

(D) No Bench Depth: The Bulls are renowned as a scrappy, physical team, built in the likeness of their coach, Scott Skiles. Such teams generally feast on short, injury-depleted benches like the Bucks. On Monday it was the Bucks who appeared fresher down the stretch.

Can a team be both lazy and tough?

I still think the Bucks could be a really special team if they would just increase their intensity on defense and play a little smarter on offense. I don't rip the Bucks because I hate them. I love the Purple and Green. I rip them because I think they could be so much more if they would just put a little more effort into the whole enterprise.

But victories like Monday's win over the Bulls highlight the bottom line truth that I have to recognize and appreciate. No matter how frustrated their style of play makes me, these Milwaukee Bucks have consistently found ways to win close games on the road. That shows a certain amount of toughness and collective strength of will that Bucks fans like me have to admire.


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