Jake's Take: The Great Bucks Mashup of 2010 (cont'd), 12/13/10
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks vs. Mavericks
|Bogut and the Bucks soared to new heights on Monday in Dallas, halting the Mavs 12 game win streak. Glenn James/NBAE Getty Images|
The Great Milwaukee Bucks Mashup of 2010 (continued)
On Saturday, I attempted to mastermind the greatest fictional mashup in the history of professional sports. That mashup began with the starters for your Milwaukee Bucks and it continues tonight with the reserves.
Earl Boykins and Oscar Robertson
Boykins has no doubt overcome his relatively small stature, a stature that many would consider a major hindrance for a career in professional sports. Boykins has lasted in the NBA as long as he has because of his supreme ball-handling skills and deft shooting touch. If he can be this successful at 5-foot-5, just imagine what he could do if had Robertson's 6-foot-5 height.
Jon Brockman and Moses Malone
Brockman is in the league because he has an undeniable nose for the ball, as evidenced by his 18.2 offensive rebounding rate last year that placed him sixth in the league. The Brockness Monster's drawback is not being able to do much with the ball once he has it. Malone averaged over four offensive boards per contest for 16 straight seasons, and after he corralled those boards, he knew what to do with the ball. Malone and his big `ol butt was always an extremely effective scorer in the paint.
Keyon Dooling and Quinn Buckner
Dooling is a better-than-average on-ball defender, but I'd like to see him become peskier on that end. No Buck has ever been as pesky as Buckner, who is the franchise's career leader with 1,042 steals. Buckner averaged nearly 2.3 steals per game as a Buck and was named to the NBA's all-defensive second team four times.
Chris Douglas-Roberts and Dell Curry
CDR has certainly showed an improved jumper upon joining the Bucks, but I think his release could be quicker and accuracy more proficient. When it comes to those qualities, there aren't many who can touch Curry. He had, and probably still has, one of, the quickest release around. And boy did it ever go in. Curry shot 40.2 percent from deep for his career, including a league-best 47.6 percent in his only season in Milwaukee.
Ersan Ilyasova and Darvin Ham
Ilyasova boasts an uncanny knack for gathering offensive rebounds and is generally pretty good at finishing at the rim. He'd be that much more effective if he had Ham's springs. Ham didn't own many of the traditional basketball skills, but he could jump like most couldn't even dream of.
Corey Maggette and Dale Ellis
Maggette is a fearless scorer who's adept from both in the paint and at the line. Like most on this Bucks squad, the addition of a more consistent jumper would make Maggette that much more dangerous. Ellis joins Curry and Craig Hodges as one of Milwaukee's best long-range bombers. He shot 41.3 percent from long range during his time in Milwaukee and 40.3 percent for his career.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Glenn Robinson
If there's one thing we know The Prince isn't lacking, it's defense, which was obviously Big Dog's biggest flaw. Say what you want about Big Dog, but the guy could put the ball in the hoop with the best of them. In a lot of ways, The Prince and Big Dog were exact opposites on the court. Combine the two, though, and you have a lock-down defender and all-star caliber scorer.
Larry Sanders and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
I don't want Sanders to take everything from Kareem because that would be too easy. I just want one thing. Sanders has already shown a soft touch on his jumper, but if he's to fulfill his immense potential, he'll need a go-to move in the post. There's never been a more indefensible and effective post move than Kareem's sky hook. Jump hook + nightly block party = all-around stud.
- The longs and shorts of Dirk Nowitzki's hair are impossible to keep track of. Nobody goes from long hair to short hair back to long hair in a shorter period of time. There never seems to be an in-between stage. His hair is either Rapunzel-like long or really short. Sometimes it's even under a hat. It's far and away the most schizophrenic head of hair in basketball.
- In the first quarter, Andrew Bogut displayed a long-dormant skill that I'm hoping he has the opportunity to show off more often. When Bogut entered the league, he was said to be a very gifted passer, and those statements proved prophetic in his first few years. He averaged a career-high 3.0 assists per game in his second year, a very good number for a center. I remember one play in particular when a back screen would be set for Michael Redd along the baseline while Bogut was positioned at the elbow. Bogut would routinely find Redd as he crossed under the hoop and Redd often finished with an easy deuce. They've done studies, 60 percent of the time it worked, every time. His chances to make those kinds of plays have subsided in recent years, though. They reappeared for a stretch in the first quarter as Bogut found numerous teammates out of the post and in the middle of the zone. None of his fine passes paid off with a bucket, but it was a nice, albeit brief, return to glory.
- I can't remember the last time Dallas didn't have a pair of $30 million centers on its roster. For a while it was Raef LaFrentz and Shawn Bradley, then it was Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop, and now it's Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood. Throw in a splash of Calvin Booth and there may not be a more consistently overpaid group of centers ever. Although the current pairing may be the best of the underwhelming bunch, I still can't fathom how they're making nearly $20 million combined this season alone.
- Very solid first half showing from the Milwaukee bench. The Bucks, outside of Bogut, didn't get much from their starters, but their bench turned this game from a potential laugher into a pretty good game. The bench shot 9-of-19 in the half, led by eight points from Keyon Dooling and seven from CDR. The Dallas bench mob of Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea and Haywood brought a lot of good energy, but the Bucks bench not only matched that energy, it surpassed it. That's why Milwaukee won the second frame.
- I thought it was great to see CDR start the second half. I've been so impressed with what he's brought to the court, especially in the first half tonight, so he definitely deserved the promotion. As good as the Bucks and The Prince are defensively, there comes a tipping point where a little defense has to be sacrificed to get more offense on the floor. Switching The Prince with CDR definitely brought a spark to the Milwaukee offense. CDR has been hitting his jumpers since returning to the court, but he's been in full-on attack mode tonight, either finishing at the rim or drawing a foul.
- The Bucks struggled against the zone in the first half, but have mastered it in the second. The key to any successful zone busting is quick, sharp passes from body to body until you get an open look. That's exactly what the Bucks have done. Everybody is touching the ball and it has often resulted in open looks.
Closing It Out
For the first 18 minutes of this game, Dallas looked every bit like a team riding a 12-game winning streak. For the 30 minutes that followed, Milwaukee looked every bit like the team riding a 12-game winning streak. All early indications pointed to a rocky start to this two-game Texas swing, but the Bucks never lost confidence, seemingly reborn following the 3-1 homestand. It was very much a team effort with good showings from starters, bench players and the coaching staff.
The Bucks have struggled offensively all season long, but you never would've guessed it tonight against the fifth-ranked Dallas defense. The Mavs allow only 92.6 points per game and the Bucks score only 91.9 points per contest, but you could've fooled me. Milwaukee scored at least 28 points in each of the last three quarters, highlighted by 9-of-13 shooting from deep.
Five players finished in double figures for the Bucks, led by 23 from Brandon Jennings and 21 from Bogut. Jennings also tallied 10 dimes for his second-career 20-point/10-assist showing. The off-the-pine triumvirate of Dooling, CDR and Ersan Ilyasova were huge off the bench with 42 points. Dooling also played fantastic defense on Jason Terry. Terry averages 16 points a game on 46 percent shooting, but was hassled into 3-of-8 shooting and just 12 points.
Ear to ear. That's how big my grin is right now. If my ears would allow, it would be even bigger. Dallas, at 19-5, owns the league's third-best record. It didn't faze the Bucks, though. They went into a hostile environment with few giving them much of a chance to cease the Dallas winning streak. They proved everyone wrong.
As happy as I am, though, I'm not completely at ease yet. If you think hard enough, you may remember Milwaukee's last road win: a convincing 108-91 shellacking of Atlanta. That was more than a month ago. The Bucks can't rest. They can't let a signature road win kick off another poor stretch of play. December isn't even halfway done yet, so Milwaukee still has a lot of work to do. It's time to get back to work.
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.