Bucks Diary

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Bucks unleash their Strike Team

The game turned suddenly at the 8:32 mark of the fourth quarter. With the Bucks trailing by five, and the Spurs calmly looking to close out another victim, Milwaukee's Michael Redd blew down the lane like an Ohio tornado. Tim Duncan stepped to meet him. Undeterred, Redd wrapped a finger roll around the big man's head and raindropped it into the net. The furious Bucks rally was on. From that point to the buzzer, the Bucks tore their teeth into the wounded and lumbering Spurs like a pack of starving hyenas, scoring 25 of the final 38 points. I still don't think the Spurs know what the hell happened.

I'll tell them. The Bucks opened the wagon and unleashed what looked like a Green Strike Team. That fourth quarter stretch that began with the Redd layup and ended with a huge Bucks win was one of the sweetest displays of coldblooded basket attacking I have seen from this team since the days of Marques Johnson. It was surreal. It was dreamlike. It took my breath away. During one stretch within that stretch, the Bucks scored 10 straight points on lay-ups. At crunch time. Against the seasoned Spurs. It was beautiful. Am I getting across to you how excited I was? The Bucks OWNED the lane in the fourth quarter against an elite team on the road. Reread that sentence a couple of times.

The Bucks are a steamroller baby, gonna roll all over you

The win streak is at 5, the run is at 8 of 11. And it includes a spectacular win on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. I think notice has been served. The Bucks want to be taken seriously again.

This win will ring out because of the way it was produced. Unstoppable offense, TERRIFIC DEFENSE, energetic rebounding, and a 'my hairs on fire' fourth quarter rally.

I don't want to hear about the "ailing Spurs" either. They had a healthy Tim Duncan, didn't they? And still the Bucks dominated all major phases of the game last night. Let that ring out. The Spurs were fortunate to have even been in the game at all. Three pointers and an obnoxious hometown disparity in free throws attempted (28 to 14) is all that kept that them from being completely wiped out.

Skinner the agent of change

But can the good times last in BucksNation? Believe it or not, I think they can. The Bucks may genuinely be a team reborn. The fundamental reason: the redeployment of Brian Skinner as a poor man's Maurice Lucas to Bogut's suddenly reasonable impersonation of a poor man's Bill Walton. Kind of like what Magliore... without the ridiculous turnovers, the blindman shooting skills, and the self delusional view of the team, of course.

We all thought Bogut would thrive after the departure of Magliore. Instead he declined alarmingly. It turns out Bogut needs a Magliore-type, after all. Just not Jamaal Magliore.

Why? Well, Bogut is not a power forward. Clearly. But he is not really a center, either. He is a forward/center who needs a doppelganger forward/center.. like Magliore..or like Joe Smith..or, indeed, like Brian Skinner.. to thrive. He needs a tough foreman-type who can handle things in the plant while he -- pocketprotector Bogut -- concentrates on office work, if you know what I'm saying.

Of course there are limitations to this lineup. But we'll explore those later. Right now the pressing question is how to get Villanueva reinvolved. How does he fit into this new scheme? Let me think about that one.


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