Bucks Diary

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ruben off the chain


The Bucks defeated the Orlando Magic last night in one of the most lifeless 116-111 games you will likely ever see. While most of the contestants seemed to be sleepwalking throughout, two players were clearly going all out. One for the Magic -- Bo Outlaw -- and one for the Milwaukee Bucks -- Ruben Patterson, a.k.a. "The Cincinnati Maniac". And it was Ruben's maniacal passion to win that carried the day for the Bucks.

With the game in the balance, Ruben made play after play, every one of which figured in the outcome. There are two that especially stand out in my mind. First, with the shot clock running down, Earl the Pearl aimlessly dribbled the ball around the perimeter. With the clock down to about 3 seconds, he tossed the ball out to Patterson who was open 8 feet behind the top of the key (otherwise referred to as 20 feet out of Ruben's range). Ruben caught the ball and, in one strange motion, launched it so high that it barely missed grazing the Bucks 1971 Championship banner. Inexplicably it came down right smack in the middle of the net for a key 3 point conversion for the Bucks.

The second key play was far more Rubenesque. After an errant Bucks jumper bounded off the rim, Ruben took off from the middle of the lane, elevated above the better positioned Magic rebounders, and threw the ball down with a one-handed tomahawk dunk. Heading down court, he gave the Bradley Center crowd one of those "check me out" gestures where he displays his palms with his face in the middle. It was so sweet.

Of course, playing with such frenetic energy can sometimes have negative effects. To go with his spectacular plays, Ruben also had some hilarious turnovers. On one, he spun on the aforementioned Outlaw, clearly taking two steps before dribbling, and was called for traveling. As he retreated to the defensive end, you could hear Ruben tell the ref, "What? That's my move!" Vintage Patterson!

On another occasion, after a made basket by the Magic, Ruben inbounded the ball with both feet clearly in the field of play. Dick Bavetta whistled him for it. I couldn't stop laughing. Again, vintage Ruben.

The guy's nothing if not entertaining. Amidst this painful stretch for Bucks fans, one thing has always remained constant: Ruben Patterson is going to play as hard as he possibly can.

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