Bucks Diary

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't Quit on the Bucks Just Yet

Bucks Nation seems to be shrinking. A lot of people are breaking their ankles jumping off the purple and green bandwagon. I've been listening to Milwaukee sports talk radio, and reading some on-line discussion boards, and many of the recent comments and sentiments have been variations of this actual posting:

"What happened to the Bucks? They sure turned to shit in a hurry. I knew they were a fraud."

I may be a contrarian, but my sentiments are just the opposite. I feel better about the team now than I did earlier in the season when they had their deceptively good record. You'll remember that early on when people were losing their minds spewing on this team I tried to raise some red flags to show the irrationally exuberant that the team wasn't as good as they thought. Now that people suddenly want to throw the team overboard, I want to raise some -- I don't know what's the opposite of red flags... white flags? -- to show that the team is actually in better shape than many of the former faithful believe. Here they are:

A Stronger Defense

In the last six games the Bucks have given up an average of only 85.5 points per game. That is superb. In that stretch they have held every opponent under 95 points, and 5 opponents below 90 points. That's pretty good for a team that was routinely giving up +100 points earlier in the season. These are not fluke results built against bad offensive teams. In the six games, opponents scoring is down by an average of 7 points per game (compared to each team's typical offensive output). Of course, the Bucks have lost 3 of the 6 games, but in the long run the improved defense will pay dividends, especially if the team makes the playoffs.

Bobby Simmons is Alive!

Bucks fans should be ecstatic about this next item. After muddling along for most of the season, F Bobby Simmons has finally found his groove -- on both ends of the court. He's taking and making shots on offense, and he's doing a pretty good job against some big guns on defense. On offense he seems to be emerging as a legitimate scoring option. He has hit double figures in nine of the last ten games. During that time he has averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting a remarkable 52.8% from the field (both numbers are substantially better than his season average). He's been particularly hot from behind the arc in the last 10 games, making a whopping 22 of 43 attempts for an astounding 51.1% accuracy. On defense he has recently done excellent work against both the Rockets Tracy McGrady and the Cavs LeBron James.

They Are Limiting the Blow-outs

The Bucks have now gone seven games in a row without suffering a double figures loss. That is their longest stretch without a blowout loss all season.

The Remaining Schedule is Cakish

In the Bucks remaining 35 games, 20 are against teams with losing records. Several more are against teams with similar records to the Bucks, such as Philly and New Jersey. In fact, only 8 of the games feature teams that currently have at least 3 more wins than the Bucks. If the team handles business, they should finish with a winning record this season.
Bottom Line: Keep the Faith Antlerheads! The Purple and Green ain't dead yet!


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