Bucks finding ways to pick up wins
If you look at the Milwaukee Bucks efficiency differential (-6.9), it suggests they are headed for a 23 win season. If you look at ESPN's RPI listing, the Bucks "Expected Winning Percentage" for the season is .260... again, 23 wins in 82 games. In fact, by all indications they are a bad team. Yet they've already won 14 games. Strange brew in the Beer City.
And nothing typifies the Bucks schizo season better than the last ten days. In that time, the Bucks have had two horrifying losses and three pretty resourceful wins. All three wins have come without the assistance of their best player, Michael Redd.
I frankly don't know what to make of this team. I guess you have to say they're somewhat resilient. Don't you? Or do they just "tank" games they know they can't win and compete in games they think they can? As I said, this team confuses me.
Atta Boy List
A constant through all 5 games has been the play of G Maurice Williams. By my calculation, he has not had a below average game in quite some time. He has really been excellent, and last night was no exception.
Another guy who has stepped up in the last two games is C Andrew Bogut. He had an outstanding game against Charlotte's Emeka Okafor and a very productive game against Philly's tough C Samuel Dalembert. What has he done better in the last two games?
He has dramatically improved his scoring efficiency (.625 vs. .493 for the season), he's dramatically increased his FT percentage (.727% vs. .567 for the season), and he's increased his rebounds per minute from an average rate (.26) to an outstanding rate (.31). As a result, his Win Contribution -- average for a center -- has shot up into the elite levels in the last two games. Did he Google my advice post?
My final "atta boy" goes to the prodigal Buck: FG Charlie Bell. He seems to be pulling an Eli Manning on us. The home crowds have gotten on him so bad (NEVER say "I don't want to play here" -- fans don't forget those words), he's taken to playing his best ball on the road. Well... I exaggerate. He's actually not playing well anywhere, but he has stepped up in the last two road contests and its made a huge difference.
Other keys to the Bucks last two wins
The Bucks clearly won the Charlotte game on the "Possessions Board". That's measured as: Rebounds + Steals - Turnovers (Bucks 54 vs. Bobcats 38). There's really no other explanation for the win. The Bobcats scoring efficiency was much better than Milwaukee's (.501 vs. .463), the Bobcats' rebound total was a bit better, and the Bobcats made about as many free throws. But those extra possessions the Bucks got by being competitive on the boards, being downright felonious in the Bobcats passing lanes (especially Mo who had an Alvin Robertson like 6 steals) and being extremely careful with the ball (only 9 turnovers), all paid off huge. That's a "hustle" win for Bango.
Last night's game, on the other hand, was won by defense. Yes... defense!! Actually, in the past month, its been the Bucks offense that has come apart... the defense has actually sort of stabilized. Its still bad, but its not getting appreciably worse. Last night it was pretty darn good, because, while the Bucks offense was its normal so-so self (Scoring Efficiency: .473), but for once they really put a vise grip on their opponents as Philly's SE was extraordinarily low (.400). Of course, Philly's a horrid offensive team, but hey, they all get paid.
Btw, Scoring Efficiency is measured as (Points - FTM / FGA). The NBA Average is about .499... the Bucks average is .482. Their opponents average is .512.