The Weekly Bucks Report is posted every Monday or Tuesday or whenever I have time at work during the Bucks season. It's written by CH Correspondent Two Name.
Please note Two Name throws up an Unofficial Chuckie Hacks Poll topic...so go on record in the comments section on whether or not you think the Bucks will make the Playoffs this season.
Will they or won’t they?
Let’s conduct a quick, unofficial poll as Milwaukee heads into the final two months of the season. Do you see the Bucks holding onto the eighth and final spot – or moving up, for that matter – and earning a trip to the Eastern Conference playoffs?
I know there’s a mixed reaction as far as whether or not it’s good for the team to face Boston or Cleveland in Round 1, instead of entering the lottery. I, for one, think any playoff experience would be great for this team and the city, but I know a lot of people disagree with that premise. Regardless if you want the Bucks to make the playoffs or not, do you actually see it happening?
I’m going to say, yes. I think the Bucks are playing well enough in a putrid conference to earn a trip to the postseason. Plus, I don’t think the squads behind Milwaukee are good enough to put together any kind of significant run at the final playoff spot. The Bulls appear to be the likely candidate since they made what appeared to be a decent trade last week – acquiring Brad Miller and John Salmons – but New Jersey and Charlotte (yes, the Bobcats) are close behind as well.
The most encouraging sign for Milwaukee is the amount of home games remaining. The Bucks will play 12 of their final 20 games at the Bradley Center. Bad news is many of those games are against strong opponents. The Lakers, Celtics and Portland all come to town, and Orlando visits the BC twice. I still think the Bucks, despite the quality of opponents remaining, will earn the final spot in the East.
As far as moving up in the playoff standings, Milwaukee is two games behind the Sixers, who reside in the sixth spot. Ideally, the Bucks would get out of the seventh and eighth spots – avoiding Boston and Cleveland – but they haven’t been consistent enough to make that kind of run. No matter where they end up, I do think there will be playoff basketball in Milwaukee this year.
What do you guys think?
Skiles COY: I know it seems crazy that any coach running a team with a sub-.500 record should win any kind of reward, but Scott Skiles should be considered for coach of the year honors. The award typically goes to coaches whose teams own the best records in the league, but what Skiles is doing requires more recognition that Mike Brown in Cleveland or Phil Jackson in L.A. I would like to see Phil or Doc Rivers coach a team with the talent level of the Bucks, instead of managing a core group of superstars. Rivers did that in Boston three years ago before acquiring the Big 3, and he won 18 games. Saturday night’s game against Washington is an example of one coach who doesn’t have the command of his players and one who does. Ed Tapscott took over for the fired Eddie Jordan in Washington, and his team owns the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Tapscott still has Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, and they showed no interest in playing hard Saturday night. Skiles lost his two best players to injury, but his team looked far and away better than Washington in an easy victory on Saturday.
Friday’s fight: I stopped watching Friday night’s game against New Orleans in about the third quarter, and I missed all that transpired in the last four minutes. Milwaukee overcame a 17-point deficit and nearly pulled out a ridiculous win against the Hornets. Tyson Chandler’s prayer tip-in saved face for New Orleans, but it was good to see the Bucks fight back after playing so poorly for the first 44 minutes of the game.
Player of the week: If Charlie Bell could play like he did before the contract situation a couple years back, it would be a nice boost for Milwaukee the rest of the season. He played well this week, including sparking that comeback against the Hornets with 21 points and five 3-pointers. Bell also scored 19 points in Dallas Wednesday, putting together a decent week.
This week: New Jersey, Cleveland, Chicago and Golden State comprise a busy week for the Bucks. New Jersey and Chicago are important games, as they are the two teams directly behind the Bucks in the playoff race. I see the Bucks going 3-1 this week.