By Alex Boeder
A win is a win is a win except it is not it is not it is not that simple.
They all count the same in the standings, in the win-loss column. But live for a little while and you start to see that there are not really two columns in life.
Actually, I don’t think that there any columns at all. There is a reason why you remember that late-February win in Chicago but maybe not that mid-February win over Orlando.
Of course, my most memorable games of the season are not necessarily your most memorable games of the season. But that is kind of nice and these are mine.
10. Bucks 100, Raptors 83 – April 6, 2013 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- Never did the Bucks make it more clear that they were a firm class ahead of the rest of the Eastern Conference lottery teams. The Raptors only finished four games behind the Bucks in the standings, but this game marked a fitting way for the Bucks to clinch a playoff spot. They led by 34 points at one point. At the time, I called this the most comprehensive win of the year. Before it was even over.
- On this night, one of the three loudest chants of the season in Milwaukee: “We Want Drew.” This was just a good time all around. You had to be there. And I was so, very there. Happened also to score the best press row seat of my life. Hat-tip to BucksPR.
- About the game: The Bucks made a lot of nice passes. There was that picture-perfect alley-oop from Jennings to Sanders. And 26 other Bucks assists.
9. Bucks 113, Lakers 103 – March 28, 2013 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- First of all, what a long and sad and difficult road trip back to California for all of those Lakers fans.
- Second, the Lakers were not all that great this season. I get that. Not bad certainly, but not great. Yet this was a surprising and pleasant win. Consider the circumstance: the Bucks entered the game on a four-game losing streak. The Lakers had pummeled the Bucks 104-88 in Los Angeles in the first matchup of the season. Kobe, Dwight, Pau, and Nash were all healthy and starting (also, old friend Jodie Meeks).
- Yet all five starters for Milwaukee had delightful nights. Probably the best, most balanced starting five performance of the season. Jennings/Ellis/Daniels/Ilyasova/Sanders all scored between 16-21 points. They all shot well from the field. None of them turned the ball over much. Not necessary Hollywood. But Milwaukee.
8. Bucks 103, Warriors 93 – March 9, 2013 – Oracle Arena
- Wild to look back on this one now, with the Warriors possibly on the verge of winning a playoff series with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the headlines.
- But just about five weeks before the playoff started, Jennings and Ellis lit up the Warriors with 57 points on 35 shots. Compared to 32 points on 35 shots from Curry and Thompson. Ellis had been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week a few days prior, and he was warm so warm.
- Jennings, Ellis, and Redick actually played the most of minutes of anyone on the Bucks, and they were the only three players on the team to score 10+ points. That was working.
7. Bucks 95, Mavericks 90 – February 26, 2013 – American Airlines Center
- The Bucks had lost three in a row. By a combined six points. These were tough times.
- And it did not look much better to start. The Mavericks jumped ahead to an 11-0 lead. In that time, the Bucks started the game with an offensive foul, missed all six of their shots, and were whistled for a kicked ball.
- But the Bucks battled back. Quickly and surely. They drew to within four after the first quarter, trailed by five at halftime, and then four after the third quarter. Then Ellis, heretofore quiet, scored 11 points in the fourth quarter in one of those heroic fourth quarters that seemed to start a trend. This win earns bonus memory points because it began the hottest run of the season for the Bucks, with six wins in seven games.
6. Bucks 104, Bulls 96 – January 9, 2013 – United Center
- When did playing in Chicago become so fun? This season.
- Jennings missed his first five shots of the game. The Bulls led by scores like 11-2. And 17-5. And 21-7. And they led the entire first half. However. Then there was this, courtesy of Jennings about Nate Robinson after the game: "(There was) A little trash-talking before the second half. I guess he felt he had it going. I don't take trash-talking too kindly. I warned him, so, hey."
- So, what prompted that post-game gem? Jennings scored 20 points in the third quarter, including 14 points in a span of just over three minutes. It wasn’t ridiculous. It wasn’t impossible. It was just Jennings, in one of those moods. Also, Sanders blocked seven shots, and the Bucks blocked 15 shots overall, a full 27 percent of Chicago’s missed shots.
5. Bucks 99, Celtics 88 – November 2, 2012 – TD Garden
- The only bad thing about this season-opening game was the possibility that this was the peak of the season. The thought crossed my mind during the game, after the game, and before the next game. It turns out that the Celtics were probably not all that good, and the Bucks probably topped this game once or twice the rest of the way. But this was a fine, fine start to the year in Boston.
- The Bucks cruised. Tobias Harris was making threes. Jennings was scoring efficiently (21 points on 9-17 shooting), passing pretty (13 assists), and igniting fastbreaks (6 steals). Sanders was not yet starting (remember that?), but was already showing signs that this was a new year, with a 5-7 shooting performance and two blocks. The team just looked good and felt good.
- 1-0. And it felt like something.
4. Bucks 104, Heat 85 – December 29, 2012 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- A home win over the Heat topped last season’s memorable games list. This one was almost as good.
- Contrasting last season’s home win over Miami, the Bucks raced out to a big early in this one, going up 17-9, 37-26, and 54-39. But against the Heat, there is almost nothing you can do in the first half that will convince me that the Heat are going to actually lose a basketball game. Scientifically, mathematically, theoretically, realistically, it is almost impossible. And so of course, the Heat started the second half on a 27-6 run to steal the lead. And that is what made this game so fascinating. The Bucks gave up a big lead, but took Miami’s punch and then bounced off the ropes and delivered a most unexpected knockout.
- 35-14. That was the fourth quarter line in favor of the Bucks. With James, Wade, and Bosh all going at it. Maybe you don’t want to want to think about the Heat playing the Bucks right now. So think about the Heat playing the Bucks on December 29, 2012.
3. Bucks 105, Cavaliers 102 – November 3, 2012 – BMO Harris Bradley Center
- 0.7 seconds
- If the season opener against the Celtics (see #5 on list) was not good enough, Jennings just had to go and sink a game-winning three at the buzzer at the home-opener. Yes, it was the Cavaliers, but no, at the time it didn’t matter.
- This made me forget all of the buzzer-beating shots that beat the Bucks over the past few years. Actually it made me remember all of the buzzer-beating shots that beat the Bucks over the past few years. But in a good way.
2. Bucks 110, Rockets 107 – February 27, 2013 – Toyota Center
- The Rockets tend to bring out the fun in teams. They play at the fastest pace in the NBA. They have a great offense and a defense that might just let you do some entertaining things on the fastbreak yourself. They have an unassuming, bearded superstar, and Carlos Delfino.
- But still.
- Even before the shot that ranked as SI.com’s best buzzer-beater of the NBA season, this game was a riot really. The Rockets made 12 of their first 13 shots. The teams combined for 69 points in the first quarter. Larry Sanders delivered probably my favorite sequence of the season (criminally, not in the highlights) when he blocked James Harden at the rim and then put back an offensive rebound to give the Bucks a 107-105 lead. That Ellis was attempting an off-balance long three-pointer at the buzzer with the game tied (not down by two or three or something) after the Bucks had plenty of time to figure something out just adds to the charm of it all. And the run-off celebration was an instant classic. I like how James Harden just puts his hands on his hips when the ball goes in.
1. Bucks 93, Bulls 92 – November 26, 2012 – United Center
- The Bucks trailed 78-51 deep in the third quarter. Via math, that is 27 points. By the end of the night, this was Drew Gooden tweeting.
- When you are down by 27, you need things like 19-0 runs. So the Bucks decided on one, spanning the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. They still trailed by 17 going into the final quarter, but they held Chicago to one field in the first six and half minutes of the fourth. Meanwhile, Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih, Mike Dunleavy, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh and company kindly refrained from missing shots. And that was the best part of all. The ultimate comeback was orchestrated almost exclusively by the reserves. Fittingly, these players provided “backup” like nothing we have seen before or since.
- This was never simple. It was a loss a loss a loss, a win a win a win.
My passions? Writing and the Bucks, to start. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009-10 – almost all of that time writing for BrewHoop. I have also written for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, SB Nation, ESPN Milwaukee, Slam Online, etc. You can follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.