By Jake McCormick
Neil Young once infamously said, “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” Hopefully that wasn’t what Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles told his team before their 101-86 loss to the streaking Cleveland Cavaliers, because they definitely took a page from Young’s songbook.
After starting the game on a near perfect 11-0 run and eventually reaching a lead of 17-10, LeBron James and the Cavaliers rattled off a run that accumulated into a number familiar to Bucks’ fans: 29. Thanks to Delonte West’s 14 points off the bench and 43 overall bench ponts, LeBron James to spend most of his time during the 29-0 run dancing and cheering from West’s normal seat on the bench.
“We’re playing with a sense of urgency,” said James, who only scored 14 points but dished 10 assists for his fourth straight double-double. “This is a veteran ball club and people say a lot of things about our team, but we just love to play the game. This team is about chemistry and getting better together.”
Bucks’ coach Scott Skiles said things went south quickly, and against a championship caliber team like the Cavaliers, Milwaukee would have needed to duplicate the first four minutes of the game through the remaining 44.
“We couldn’t make a shot and couldn’t stop them,” Skiles said. “If you have those droughts where you’re not able to score, you have to find a way to at least hang in the game and we weren’t able to do it.”
Milwaukee is considered one of the top three point shooting teams in the league, but long range shooting success can’t carry a team through 82 games, and Skiles was quick to acknowledge the big risks involved after the team shot 20% from beyond the arc against the Cavs.
“We’ve been living and dying a little bit by the three anyway and tonight none of them went in,” Skiles said. “When they were pulling away, we needed to make some plays on one end or the other and couldn’t do that either.”
Heading to Boston today to take on another Eastern Conference power house in the Celtics, Skiles doesn’t believe that the two-game stretch against the conference’s top teams is a referendum on how the Bucks will fair throughout the rest of the season against proven winners.
“I can’t get caught up in what a benchmark is,” Skiles said. “We try to get up and back to work tomorrow to try to correct things.”
Center Andrew Bogut reflected the short term memory needed to weather tough stretches (The Bucks have now lost seven of their last eight games) during the 82-game NBA season.
“It’s the NBA, and you’re going to go through slumps; you just have to get out of them,” Bogut said. “There’s no point dwelling in the past. We just want to go ahead in practice tomorrow and learn from the mistakes today, which will be a lot of jumpshooting practice.”
Leave a Reply