Bucks Weekend Review
It was all about TCB this weekend for the Bucks. Desperate for any wins they could get, the Bucks played effective, inspired basketball against two admittedly weak teams, the Hawks and the Bobcats, and pretty much did what they had to do -- they won both games. Both wins were comfortable, and each featured strong performances from Bucks reserves. The Bucks showed true professionalism by stepping on their inferior opponents' necks and refusing to let them up. More thoughts on the week in general:
Oh, wo, wo... Redd's on fire
Is anyone in the Association not named Kobe or LeBron currently playing at a higher level than the Bucks own Michael Wesley Redd? What a five game showcase he just put together. During that stretch he made 53 of his 103 attempts from the field (51.4%), including 10 for 23 (43%) from behind the three point arc. He averaged 28.5 points per game, highlighted by his last game against Charlotte in which he scored 35 points on 14 for 22 shooting.
What I have noticed during this hot streak is Redd's new-found willingness to aggressively attack the basket. If he can add that dimension to his game, look out. It will certainly lead to easier baskets, but also more free throws, and ultimately better looks from the outside. And its doable. I think he can get to the rack against most players in the Association (Did you seem him absolutely abuse Atlanta second year man Josh Smith? He went to the well against that guy at will.)
Glad to have Redd instead of Sugar Ray
Putting Ray Allen's 42 in triple overtime last night aside, it seems absurd now to recall there was a debate last year whether we should retain Redd or go after the former Buck icon. I love Ray but, due mainly to greater age and inevitable decline, he's no longer in Redd's league. Redd hasn't peaked, and Allen's all downside. In fact, Ray's about worn out his welcome in the Emerald City if some of these Supersonic blogs are to be believed. From what I read, a contingent of Sonic fans are convinced he's giving less than maximum effort or concentration since signing his maximum contract. The same can hardly be said of Redd. He has stepped himself up to another level this season. His is an inspirational tale of perseverance, going from a questionable second rounder to an NBA all-star. He did it mainly through hardwork (although if you listen to any of his postgame interviews, he'd probably give the credit to a certain someone else).
'That's a rebound machine right there, baby!'
That's how Brewer superstar Ben Sheets described Bucks C Jamaal Magliore during the Bucks Network's broadcast of Saturday's contest against Charlotte. Truer words have never been spoken. Against an admittedly depleted Charlotte front line, Magliore put up some Bill Russell numbers, scoring 13 points and grabbing an eye-popping 22 rebounds (of course, Russell averaged 15 points and 22 rebounds a game for his entire career). Its funny... if you set aside Magliore's lack of defensive prowess, his game and his frame are both quite similar to Russell's. Of course that's like Mrs. Lincoln saying " Apart from the assasination, it was a pretty good play."
Let's give it up to Jamaal, though. He may not quite be the second Bill Russell, but after a slow start he has really come on. Remember when the team was around -16 with him on the court. That's down to about -3, and falling. In fact, since the beginning of the New Year, according to 82games.com, he has been the most valuable Buck (by their statistical analysis) over the past 30 days.
Bogut doesn't post well
FC Andrew Bogut has been playing very well, averaging a double double over the last 5 games, but I've noticed lately he's having a very hard time establishing good post position on offense. His legs look a little tired. Consequently, he's having to catch the ball much further out than he would ideally like. Then, once he receives the ball, he's unable to back his opponents down. Watching him operate in the pivot occasionally reminds me of my grade school driveway one-on-one contests against my old man. I would try to back him down with my dribble but, because he was three times my size, I never ended up any closer to the basket. That's what it looks like is happening to Bogut. Not to worry. That can be corrected through weight training and simple maturation. Once he grows and develops physically (he's just turned 21 years old), he'll be able to anchor down there and get some back-to-the-basket scores more readily.
Welsch showing a pulse
I'm really pulling for FG Jiri Welsch to turn it around. He works very hard out on the court. Good news. This week he finally showed signs a resurgence may be possible. He shot much better than his season average, going 15 for 29 (51.7%) from the field, well above his season FGA (41.4%). He may have also uncovered a key to future success. Particularly against the Hawks, he began penetrating with the ball and getting baskets in the lane. He can do that, he's got good ball skills. Perhaps it will be his ability to take it to the basket that will open up his jump shot.