6th Fan Blogger: Bucks vs. Jazz
Goonies Never Say Die
The recent passing of Corey Haim has resulted in an onslaught of discussions concerning his career. And when one discusses Haim's career, Corey Feldman inevitably joins the conservation. And when I think of Feldman, I think of "The Goonies". And when I think of "The Goonies", I think of ... the 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks. Really. Granted, I am someone who thinks about "The Goonies" way more than any normal, well-adjusted person should. But I promise you that there is a connection, and over the course of the next 600 wildly adventurous words, you'll start feeling that connection, too.
For those unfortunate few who aren't privy to the cinematic magic that was "The Goonies," it was a 1980s classic that regaled viewers with a tale of a group of adolescents trying to find the treasures of One-Eyed Willy. It was a rag-tag group, a group routinely underappreciated and overlooked, a group that eventually overcame seemingly insurmountable odds, a group that never said die. Sounding familiar yet?
That's our Milwaukee Bucks in a nutshell. The Bucks were all but left for dead on Jan. 26 when they lost a one-point nail-biter on the road to Dallas, dropping them to a season-worst seven games below .500. Nobody gave Milwaukee a chance. Past Milwaukee teams would've cashed in their chips and called it a season. Not this one, though. The Bucks have since run off 17 wins over their last 21 games to climb to a season-high six games over .500 and firmly into playoff contention.
Not only do the Bucks as a whole bear a striking resemblance to the entire group of Goonies, but the individual parts of the Bucks share similar characteristics to the individual movie characters as well. Let's examine.
- Andrew Bogut plays the role of Michael "Mikey" Walsh. Mikey is the lead character in "The Goonies." He's the character that the whole movie is built around. He's what drives the movie. Bogut brings those same qualities to the table. Just like "The Goonies" couldn't have been made without Mikey, the Bucks couldn't have reached their current level of play without Bogut. He's the centerpiece of this franchise.
- Scott Skiles plays the role of Brandon "Brand" Walsh. Brand is the older brother of Mikey. He's the older, wiser leader of the group. Brand makes sure the rest of the characters stay in line. Skiles has played that role to perfection this year, guiding Brandon Jennings through an up-and-down rookie season and coaxing more out of Bogut than any coach before. Skiles has gotten more out of this roster than possibly any other coach could.
- Jennings plays the role of Clark "Mouth" Devereaux. Nobody could deny that Mouth was the brazenly self-confident member of the group. He would stand up to and say anything to anyone, at any time, but, at the end of the day, was a good kid at heart. Jennings proved during the win over the Celtics that he's not afraid to stand up to anyone, no matter how wide or tall.
- The Prince plays the role of Richard "Data" Wang. Data had a slew of tricks up his sleeve. Whether it was his "slick shoes" or "pinchers of power," Data always found a way to defend himself and the gang from the opposition. Luc doesn't defend himself as much as he defends the opposition, but he'll do anything in his power to keep the bad guys from scoring.
- John Salmons plays the role of Lotney "Sloth" Fratelli. Sloth started the movie as a bad guy, but eventually switched loyalties and joined the gang, playing an important role in the group's survival. Salmons started the season with the rival Bulls, but made the mid-season switch to the Bucks. He has provided the offensive firepower necessary to get the Bucks back over .500.
Comparing the Bucks to "The Goonies" may have been a bit of a stretch. I can admit that. But I think the basic idea is fundamentally sound. The underdog group of Goonies far exceeded what most expected of them. I'm pretty sure the same can be said for the Bucks.
- I was speaking with a co-worker recently and he informed me that a friend and his family are coming into town for the game tonight. Tonight's contest is the first Bucks game for his friend's son, Kyle Gauger. The best part is that Kyle, who is 16 and in-between basketball and baseball seasons, is coming all the way from Spooner. That is an approximately five-hour and 325-mile drive. All for the Bucks. If that's not a testament to the kind of stir that this team is creating, I don't know what is. It looks like the Bucks are starting to corner that far northern Wisconsin market. Now they've just got to start cornering this Milwaukee market. If Kyle can drive 300 minutes, why can't Milwaukeens drive 10? Come on people. The Bucks need you.
- If you had bet me four years ago that Wesley Matthews would be starting for the sixth-best team in the NBA while former Marquette teammates Dominic James and Jerel McNeal were playing overseas, I'd have taken the bet and given favorable odds. Thankfully, nobody did. While James and McNeal were starting and averaging double-digits as freshmen, Matthews was coming off the pine and shooting under 40 percent. The fact that Matthews is currently in the position he is truly exemplifies his work ethic. He continually improved throughout his college career and used his undrafted status to his benefit, finding himself the ideal situation in Utah. It's always nice to see a Golden Eagle find his wings.
- I was grinning ear to ear after reading Jennings' recent comments about the ability of Deron Williams and Chauncey Billups to run a team. If it were up to me, Jennings would manage a game just like those two. Williams and Billups get their teammates involved first and foremost and look for their own points only when needed. They've both found that scoring/passing balance that has eluded so many point guards. Jennings has shown at a young age that he could potentially find that balance as well.
- Andrei Kirilenko may be the only player in the league that has changed hairstyles as often as Jennings. He's traditionally rocked the Dolph Lundgren, but he's made the occasional attempt at a mohawk as well. He's usually an up-do kind of guy, if you will, but this year he has chosen a more flaccid, lifeless style. How does he make such difficult life decisions?
- We've got a battle of the ambi-shooters tonight. I don't think there are any right-handed players in the league better at using their left hands than Bogut and Carlos Boozer. Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Kaman may be in the conversation, but I think it begins and ends with Bogut and Boozer.
- Squad 6 Chant of the Night: "Buy him a beer." An unlucky fan sitting courtside got doused by an errant pass from Williams that resulted in a lapful of Miller Lite. Squad 6's effort may have been enough to get the saturated fan a free beer, though. In other Squad 6 news, a new faction of fans - Sector 3 - attempted a coup d'