And now for the best writing on this site and best Bucks' analysis in the state that nobody comments about! Its the Weekly Bucks Report written by CH correspondent Two Name. The Weekly Bucks Report is posted every Tuesday morning on CH.
Nobody knew how the Bucks would react after losing Michael Redd for the season Jan. 24 against Sacramento.
The first two games in his absence were disconcerting, as Milwaukee lacked confidence and cohesion while dropping consecutive games to Minnesota and Indiana – two teams with inferior records. Then, the Bucks rebound with wins against Toronto and Atlanta – two rosters that feature more talent than Milwaukee’s. So what team is going to show up the rest of the way?
When Andrew Bogut is healthy and playing significant minutes, I think the team you saw Friday and Saturday will mirror the squad we’ll see for the next three months – and hopefully beyond that. Bogut’s affinity for passing from the post and encouraging team play adds a dimension to this team his replacement cannot provide (Though Francisco Elson should get credit for playing hard in the post in Bogut’s absence).
When you have two point guards on the floor at the same time, which will be the case with Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions running the backcourt, teamwork and sharing the ball should come natural. When that happens, guys get easy shots and the void left by Redd isn’t so glaring.
I don’t think Bogut’s scoring will jump significantly, but his presence, like Redd’s, changes the way teams defend the Bucks. Without Bogut, the Bucks will try to get to the hoop with Ridnour and Sessions and knock down jumpers with Charlie V, RJ and Charlie Bell. That can only work for so long, as you saw during the Minnesota and Indiana games.
The last two games were encouraging for the Bucks, and the schedule now lies in their favor the rest of the season. They finished with a 9-9 record through a rigorous January, and they will play seven of their 11 games at home in February.
So, no, Milwaukee won’t be playing for the draft the rest of the season, and they shouldn’t. This isn’t the NFL, where records ensure a guaranteed draft spot. As the Bulls learned last season, anything can happen when ping-pong balls determine a team’s fate.
I don’t care if the Bucks get the seventh or eighth spot and lose to Boston or Cleveland. Any playoff experience is good playoff experience. Plus, a playoff appearance in Year 1 of the Scott Skiles-John Hammond administration would energize the fan base, if only a little bit.
D.G. is AWOL: A Danny G sighting, anyone? After starting for Bogut for most of his time off, Gadzuric hasn’t played the last two games. I guess Skiles saw enough of D.G. hacking guys 10 seconds into games and missing layups following minimal contact. Elson is much more effective and will see more time if Bogut continues to battle back troubles.
Bogut returns, sort of: After missing eight consecutive games with back spasms, Bogut returned to the lineup Friday, playing limited – but productive – minutes. He finished with 13 points and nine rebounds in the Bucks’ win against Toronto Friday. He played another 16 minutes against the Hawks on Saturday, totaling nine points and six boards. Bogut shot 67 percent from the floor Friday and 57 percent Saturday, so he’s picking up where he left off field-goal-percentage-wise. More importantly, his return probably gave the squad a little emotional boost, leading to consecutive spirited victories.
Player of the week: You have to give it to Villanueva after the ridiculous numbers he put up again this week. Here’s a look at his impressive three-game stretch: 28 points and 8 rebounds against Indiana Wednesday; 26 points and 13 boards against Toronto Friday; and 27 points, 7 rebounds and six assists against Atlanta Saturday. I don’t see him keeping up at this pace, but Charlie V is earning himself some big dollars next year after his performance in January.
This week: The schedule lightens up this week, as the Bucks travel to New Jersey tonight before hosting Detroit Saturday. They will win both of these games, running up a four-game winning streak (Editor's Note: Interesting...do I detect the beginning of the Two Name Guarantee?).