Bucks Looked Tired Against Denver
I was able to be on hand at the Bradley Center for Saturday night's game against George Karl's Denver Nuggets. The Bucks looked sluggish and fatigued in the first half and it showed in their woeful shooting. The Bucks couldn't put anything in the basket and fell behind by 17 at halftime. They rallied in the second half and showed alot of heart, but they simply didn't have enough in the tank to get it done. Plus, the refs did them no favors. FC Andrew Bogut was having an impressive second half but was forced out of the game early as a result of a series of ticky-tack calls. He was frustrated and so were the fans. After he fouled out, the Bucks momentum stopped. But, I was proud of the way they gathered themselves after their pitiful showing in the first half. Some thoughts:
The Grind Showed Early on Bogut
During the first half I thought Andrew Bogut really looked exhausted. He struggled to get a base when posting down low, he appeared winded on several occasions, and his legs betrayed him whenever he tried any lowpost moves. He showed me something in the second half, however, when he came out and fueled the Bucks early rally with some really exceptional play, highlighted by a spectacular dunk off of a beautiful feed from PG TJ Ford.
TJ was the motor
The box score doesn't show it, but TJ Ford played a huge role in getting the Bucks back in the game in the second half. I give him some hell for his poor defense, and he was abused by Denver G Earl Boykins, but he showed that when he bears down on the defensive end he can get it done. On one particular sequence, he got low and picked Boykins pocket. That was a huge play, but the Bucks just didn't have enough to make it payoff in a win. His speed, though, is the Bucks X factor.
Mo not himself
One of the big reasons the Bucks struggled was G Mo Williams, coming off an injury, just wasn't himself. His energy, his jumper, and just his overall game seemed to be a little off. The Bucks need him and Saturday night was proof of that.
Simmons can make a difference
F Bobby Simmons has been a disappointment, no question about it, but in the second half of Saturday's game he showed what a difference he can make when he is making his jumpers. When his shot is falling, it simply opens up the Bucks offense and makes them exponentially more dangerous. He has a nice looking stroke, and I now think he has a shot to turn around his woeful percentages.
Welsch continued to struggle
After Simmons picked up two immediate first quarter fouls the Bucks were forced to put in GF Jiri Welsch. He was helpless defending against Nuggets superstar F Carmelo Anthony, who finished the first half with, I believe, 20 points. Welsch just couldn't cover him, and his shot continues to miss. Let me emphasize though -- its not because of a lack of effort. He gives it on both ends of the court. He just can't get results. I'm not a shooting coach, but I think part of the reason his shot isn't falling is because he puts such a weird rotation on the ball. The ball comes off his hand with something of a sideways spin. Therefore, the ball has to be dead-on or it won't go in the hole. I don't know if he can do anything about that, though. As I said, he tries hard. Let's hope he can turn it around.
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