TOTAL Eclipse of the Suns
Even the great Eddie Doucette would have a hard time finding superlatives grandiose enough to properly describe the Milwaukee Bucks 132-110 victory over the Phoenix Suns at the Bradley Center on Tuesday night, so I won't even try. Let's just say it was without doubt the biggest win of the Terry Stotts Era.
Propeled by one of the greatest quarters of basketball in franchise history, the third quarter, a quarter in which they scored a mind-boggling 46 points, the Milwaukee Bucks breathed new life into this season, into their fans, and most importantly, into this writer. Considering the fact that the Bucks trailed at the half to one of the best teams in the Association and a team whom they had lost to in four of their last five meetings in Milwaukee, and considering the fact that the Bucks needed this game in the worst way, the third quarter stands as the best Buck quarter in living memory.
Terrific contributions came from nearly everyone in a Milwaukee jersey (save for Jamaal Magliore). Seven Bucks scored in double figures. The team shot an unheard of 60% from the field, and outrebounded Pheonix by 16. It was a magnificent effort in every way.
Besides the great victory, perhaps Terry Stotts has come around, finally, to the realization that the team is better off with TJ Ford and Jamaal Magliore on the bench and Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric on the floor. Bell started for the injured Ford and recorded a triple double, 19 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds. I'm not saying Bell is the next Oscar Robertson, but the team just seems better off with him on the floor instead of Ford.
Magliore actually played more minutes than Gadzuric, but you wouldn't know it. Gadzuric outworked him in every possible way. This is not the first time he's done so. Everyone pooh-poohs Gadzuric, but the guy produces. Obviously, this game was tailor made to his "gazelle" style, but nonetheless his stat line against Phoenix was incredible: in 15 minutes of action he made 8 out of 10 shots, scored 17 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, blocked 2 shots, and had a steal. In 15 minutes! Wow!
Here's my thinking: Since neither Magliore nor Gadzuric is going to provide much defense in the pivot, why not go with the guy who will give you some offensive punch -- Gadzuric. I'll bet Stotts is going to say that this was a one time thing sitting Magliore, that the pace of the game didn't suit Jamaal's style, but seriously, he needs to think about sitting Magliore and replacing him with DG and Joe Smith. We'll see.
What's important now is that the Bucks turn this victory into a rolling wheel of momentum. If they come out and lay a crap next time they hit the court then this win, as big as it was, will be just a "fart in the wind" to quote Ron Wolf. Let's hope not.