The Weekly Bucks Report is posted generally every Tuesday during Bucks season right here at Chuckie Hacks (sometimes later in the day if Woz gets back and has to sleep off two nights of New Orleans nightlife). It is written by a man known only as Two Name, a man Woz personally would have liked to have seen in the Packers defensive backfield last night.
By the time the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers leave the court Saturday night after their Central Division contest at the Bradley Center, the Bucks will have played 19 games in the first 34 days of the season.
During that stretch, 16 of those games will have come on back-to-to back nights, which is not easy in the NBA, especially when the opposing team is coming off a day of rest. And by the way, 12 of the first 18 games will have come on the road. The Bucks are battling this tough schedule without a full complement of players, including their only pure shooter on the roster, which changes how teams defend Milwaukee.
“I’m proud of our guys right now,” GM John Hammond said recently on WSSP. “I’ll put our schedule down – no question whatsoever – against anybody’s in the league right now. What we’ve had to go through this early in the season has been a monster and it’s going to continue to be for the next couple weeks or so.”
All that being said, the Bucks have been hovering around .500 for most of the season. If they can survive another few weeks of this road-heavy slate of games, the Bucks could position themselves within reach of the playoffs.
That might be too much to ask at this point, but remember how young and inexperienced this squad is right now. The invaluable experience of playing and winning some of these road games – albeit against shoddy opponents – can only benefit a team that will be playing much of the second half of the season at home. Plus, if the Bucks continue to play hard and earn the respect of the fans, people eventually will come to the BC and create a decent home-court advantage. (I even have a hard time believing this one, but the Bucks are giving tickets away, and Milwaukee fans love hard-working teams).
No mercy: Here’s another reason why I love Scott Skiles. After playing their worst game of the season in Denver on Tuesday, Skiles had his players come to an early shootaround in Utah before playing the Jazz Wednesday night. West coast trips suck in the first place for teams in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and back-to-backs in the Pacific Time Zone are grueling. So how about throwing a small practice in the mix to show how pissed you are about the previous night’s performance? Imagine Terry Stotts pulling this move? Larry K? They didn’t have the balls or the clout with their players. Skiles does, and his team responded with a strong effort in Utah – Bucks blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose, but the coach made his point.
Changing point: When will Ramon Sessions start at point guard? The second-year guard, though it’s his first full season with the big boys, is averaging 15 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 5.6 apg. Luke Ridnour is averaging 10.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 5.5 apg, so the numbers are similar outside of the scoring. But Sessions brings another level of speed and athleticism to the floor. Slow starts are too tough to overcome for offensively challenged teams, so Sessions would be nice to have on the court from the opening tip. Then again, his energy is a welcome sight off the bench, so I’m happy as long as the Razor is logging big-time minutes.
Player of the week: Nobody clearly stood out this week, but after struggling through a 2-point, 3-rebound performance against the Nuggets on Tuesday, Andrew Bogut roared back with three straight double-doubles. He averaged 14 points and 18 rebounds in those games, and his points would be elevated if he could make a free throw once in his life.
This week: After playing in Orlando last night, the Bucks continue their road trip in Hotlanta and Detroit before coming home to play the Cavs on Saturday. Mike Redd might return for the Cleveland game, and I see the Bucks coming away with a big victory in front of what should be a decent atmosphere at the BC with LeBron in town
Editor's follow up note: Two Name...how has there been no mention of Austin Croshere so far?! Didn't he put up like 18 this past week? How was he not player of the week?