Seven Bucks finish in double figures against a bad defense. But I’ll take it.


By Jake McCormick

It would be way too easy to kick the Toronto Raptors while they’re down by making a clichéd joke about their nonexistent defense. But when a team like the Milwaukee Bucks crossover 100 points halfway through the fourth quarter and start slacking defensively because they’re that confident in their chances of a basket, it’s almost necessary. With a 77% field goal percentage in the fourth and a 53% clip overall, it’s inevitable.

The Toronto Raptors play defense with less frequency than hearing a good joke from Jeff Dunham. Even with seven players in double figures for points, it was no more apparent than in the play of reserve Roko Ukic, who was part of the trade with the Raptors that brought in Carlos Delfino. Overall, the entire offense was clicking no matter who set foor on the floor (a lot of the time without Andrew Bogut, too).

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Milwaukee Bucks early 2000s dominate all-decade team


By Jake McCormick

The last 10 years of Milwaukee Bucks basketball have followed a  success arc similar to former point guard Damon Stoudamire. When Stoudamire broke into the league as a Toronto Raptor, he won the Rookie of the Year award and averaged 20 points and nine assists in two and a half years in Canada. After a trade to Portland, Stoudamire’s role diminished and he never topped his career highs in assists, points, and rebounds again.

The 2000-01 Bucks won 52 games and came within one game of the NBA Finals, but the team has only managed one season above .500 (42-40, 2002-03) and two seasons at the Mason-Dixon line since then. Despite their best efforts, the Bucks made the playoffs in three years and fizzled out faster than a reality show contestant’s fame.

After two 50 loss seasons and a near miss with 48 last year, GM John Hammond and Scott Skiles have seemingly started to get back to the future of the decade’s early glory. But because of the Bucks’ recent 1-4 skid, bringing their current record to 8-7, I think it would be appropriate to relive the highs of the last 10 years through an honorary all-decade team. Hopefully, it helps Brandon Jennings and a close to fully healthy cast (Andrew Bogut comes back tonight, and Michael Redd and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are just around the corner) take on three divisional opponents in the next four games.

Keep in mind, the 2000s have NOT been especially good to the Milwaukee Bucks. But if you’re reading this, you probably know that already.

Milwaukee Bucks All-Decade Team
Sam CassellSamCassell
It’s too early to put Brandon Jennings here, so the obvious choice is Cassell. He holds the fifth spot in total assists as a Buck and second in assists per game. I wonder if anyone still owns a Sam Cassell jersey?

Ray Allen
Allen was money for the Bucks in the early 2000s, plain and simple. He was the only reason (and a bit of K.G.) I was OK with watching the Boston Celtics buy a championship.

Glenn Robinson
One of the Big Three from 2000-01 and one of three easy choices to round out this list. Robinson is second in Bucks history in total points and first in defensive rebounds, although he surely wasn’t known for his defensive prowess.

Tim Thomas
Thomas was a budding player for his first two seasons in a Milwaukee uniform, and many players (Ray Allen, for one) have said that Thomas could’ve been the best player in the league if he applied himself. Milwaukee has relied more on guards than post players to carry the team, and Thomas is the closest thing to the four position that contributed for more than three years.

Andrew Bogut
Bogut has steadily increased his rebounding totals since his rookie year in 2005, and if healthy, can average close to 20 points and 10 rebounds every night. Bogut won’t be Dwight Howard anytime soon, but he has clearly been the best center in beer town over the past decade.

Bucks All-Decade Second Team
Mo Williams
Even though Williams’ time in Milwaukee was short lived, he spent two of his four years as a Buck averaging over 17 points and six assists per game. Williams’ is doing just fine as a Cleveland Cavalier and can attribute much of his development to Milwaukee.

BJBrandon Jennings
Jennings has only been around for a few games, but it’s clear he is taking the fast track to becoming a team leader and franchise cornerstone for many years. With Redd out, coach Scott Skiles has ran some double point guard rotations with Jennings and Luke Ridnour on the court together, so I figured this would be appropriate for the all-decade team.

Michael Redd
Redd was the only consistent scorer throughout the darkest days of the decade, and has averaged 20.4 ppg as a Buck. It has yet to be determined if Redd’s best days are behind him, but it’s hard to argue against a guy that dropped 57 points in a game to set a franchise single-game record.

Charlie Villanueva
I wish I didn’t pick a guy that played his best as a Buck in his contract year, but Villanueva is second in a very slim pool of choices. Averaging 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last year is definitely a respectable number for a role player.

Jamaal Magloire
If you can find a better argument for Dan Gadzuric, Joel Pryzbilla, or Scott Williams I would love to hear them. Magloire averaged a near double-double in 2005-06 and was a part of that below .500 playoff team. That’s all I got.

Bucks continue bad first half, strong second half trend with 99-85 win over Nets

Nets Bucks Basketball

By Jake McCormick

Editor’s note: I’ll be updating The Sports Bank Twitter status from the Bradley Center on a regular basis, and I’ll have a reaction to this weekend’s games on Monday.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles must be the best motivational speaker since Tony Robbins. For the third game in a row, the Bucks were trailing at halftime before finishing the game the way it should’ve been started against the winless New Jersey Nets.

Down 48-41 at the half, Milwaukee came out and rattled off a 15-0 run to start the third quarter. The highlight of the run came when rookie sensation Brandon Jennings picked off a soft pass from Chris Douglas-Roberts and finishing his first NBA dunk.

“It was like a gamble, I went in for the steal and wasn’t going to dunk at first,” Jennings said. “That’s probably all you’re going to get out of me this year.”

The Bucks held the Nets to 12 points on 23% shooting in the third, while making 57% of their own shots. Milwaukee is now 4-1 when trailing at halftime, and could’ve very easily been 5-0 if not for Dirk’s last second heroics Monday. Skiles said he isn’t content to sit on strong second halves, especially as the team gets into a regular NBA schedule and takes on tougher opponents.

“We’re trying to figure it out, trying to find a way to set a better tone at the beginning of the game,” Skiles said. “We’re easing our way into the game, and we need leadership out there.”

Nets Bucks BasketballPart of the team’s ability to comeback in games can be attributed to a surprisingly deep bench, most notably a point guard that acts, leads, and plays like a starter. Luke Ridnour continued his strong play off the Bucks’ bench, scoring 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. It’ll be interesting to see what Skiles decides to do when Michael Redd comes back, because Ridnour and Jennings are making a case for shared floor time. Ridnour especially has been making his signature three dribbles and pull up jumpers from midrange with relative ease while helping Milwaukee fans forget all about the loss of Ramon Sessions.

“My whole approach is to try to come in and bring energy,” Ridnour said. “Whatever I can do, not just me but anybody else who comes off bench, tries to bring energy as much as we can.”

While Andrew Bogut had what can now be called a regular night (21 points, 11 rebounds, besting Brook “Shrek” Lopez), small forward Carlos Delfino chipped in 21 points, four rebounds and six assists of his own in his best game of the year.

With Luc Richard Mbah a Moute out with a leg injury, Delfino seized the opportunity and displayed a shooting touch from the outside that had to make Skiles a little more confident in the overall makeup of his team.

Milwaukee and its grinder defense heads into a match up with the low scoring Charlotte Bobcats. The Bucks could very well finish the homestand with a 5-1 record, which plays nicely into the first big road trip of the season starting Saturday. It’s still too early to think Milwaukee can keep shooting Ws every night, but the upcoming road trip and Michael Redd’s return should shed some light on where this team is headed this season and as an organization.