Jake's Take: 10/27/10

October 27, 2010
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]

Meeting Expectations is No Easy Task

Hornets 95, Bucks 91
Bucks Gameday
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  • The year was 2001. The Bucks were coming off their best season in 15 years and lofty expectations were running rampant. Milwaukee finished the previous season one game and one 10-foot jump shot away from its first appearance in the NBA Finals in over a quarter decade.

    So the Bucks sought reinforcements -- namely power forward Anthony Mason -- to improve. The addition of Mason was intended to elevate them to the next level. Excitement surrounded every aspect of the team, and it was discussed on every street corner. This was a team that headed upward, and fans from around Wisconsin were seated comfortably on the bandwagon. But with that excitement came expectations; high expectations.

    That reminiscence is harsh and we know the result.

    Flash forward nine years and the Bucks are in a somewhat similar situation. Sure, the Bucks didn't reach the Eastern Conference Finals last year. But they did exceed expectations, like the 2001 team did. And the expectations have returned. Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette and others has fueled the expectations. .

    Milwaukee is considered a legitimate threat again. Managing and trying to meet -- if not exceed -- these kind of expectations will be new for many on this roster.

    The Bucks aren't in the dark regarding these expectations. Andrew Bogut recently said, "Last year we came together as a team and we played for each other and played hard. That always overrules talent, in my opinion."

    And Bogut is spot on. Milwaukee has to maintain the team chemistry from last year to build on last year's success. Bogut continued, "We've always been great as the underdog. Now is the time where we need to be handling expectations and going into games as favorites and responding to that with wins. I think we're capable of it, but we have to learn how to do it."

    How steep that learning curve is remains to be seen, but accurately acknowledging what needs to be done is a step in the right direction. I hope that learning curve is relatively flat, because I certainly don't want a repeat of the 2001-02 season.

    In-game Musings

    • The in-game musings will be cancelled for the season opener. Dish Network's dispute with Fox has left me FSN-less. I did, however, discover a very nice alternative to TV - Bucks.com TV(less) Companion and some streaming Ted Davis audio. Nevertheless, without the visual I found it too difficult to properly illustrate in-game musings. Hopefully it's not something we'll have to get used to...

    Closing It Out
    These opening nights on the road are tough. They have not been kind to the Bucks recently with tonight's 95-91 loss marking their fourth straight opening-game loss. It's never easy playing a team in its home opener. There's too much excitement in the air and it's too early in the season for any bad vibrations to have consumed the team. This game, as well as Cleveland's win over Boston, is a perfect example. Come February, I'd like to think both results would be reversed. Nonetheless, a loss is a loss is a loss.

    If you had told me prior to the game that Milwaukee would have three double-doubles, I would feel pretty good about the team's chances. Even more so if I was informed that Brandon Jennings would have a 10-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Unfortunately the team's shooting percentage mirrored last year. The Bucks finished last year 29th in the league with 43.6 percent shooting, and vs New Orleans was at 42.9 percent.

    Let's give credit to Chris Paul and the Hornets, though. Even without seeing it, I can make a safe assumption that Paul and David West ran their patented pick-and-pop to perfection. I'm fairly confident that 90 percent of West's baskets throughout his career have been from open 18 footers courtesy of Paul. I think that probably held true tonight.

    I'm going to chalk up tonight's loss to unfamiliarity between the players and opening on the road. Nothing else. This is just one of 82 games. I'm just looking forward to Milwaukee exacting some revenge on Minnesota on Minnesota Friday night. It's a MUST WIN!! (But aren't they all?)

    Until Friday ...

    Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.