6th Mahon Experience: Bucks vs. Cavs, 4/9/11

Good evening and welcome to Bucks Post-Playoff-Push basketball. You’re probably hoping the team comes out 100% tonight as the Bucks prepare to pass the town’s torch to another Milwaukee team with playoff aspirations. Well, work hard, play hard until the 48th minute of even the 82nd game of the season? Right? Or in this case, the 80th game of the season as the Bucks faceoff against the Cavaliers.

Allow me to introduce myself,

My name is Sean Mahon and I’m part of the Fear the Deer Faithful. When I’m not on Bucks.com blogging about the events that take place on the court, you may find me attending classes at Marquette University, listening to music, playing sax, trying to pick up a new instrument, studying for accounting, watching baseball, or just venturing through Milwaukee finding all the little gems it has to offer. I’m enthusiastic and pretty optimistic as hopefully you’ll be able to pick up on sooner than later… I’d just like to start my debut with a big thanks to the Bucks fans that voted for me in this 6th Fan competition, it’s both an honor and pleasure. Combining two passions of mine, sports and writing, is certainly surreal. I thank you for the opportunity and hope I can entertain, inform, and enlighten fans on all things Bucks.

Enough about me, here’s why you’re reading:

Today, the Bucks take on the Cleveland Cavaliers who have recently played better basketball than their 17-62 record suggests. I remember coming to the final Bucks-Cavs matchup last year to “witness” Mr. Quitness himself. It was the one game of the season he decided to sit out and “rest” I was none too happy. I remember how disappointed the crowd was. And on that subject, I'm not hoping the Heat breeze to a championship any time soon.

Pre-game: I’ve got to say this early, looking at the Cavaliers starting lineup reminds me of a quote from a movie with roots to both Milwaukee and Cleveland. Major League, with Milwaukee’s very own, Bob “Harry Doyle” Uecker and the entire city of Cleveland are left wondering: “Who are these guys???” Baron Davis is an established ballplayer, but beyond him and maybe JJ Hickson, it looks like the Cavs 2011 squad consists primarily of the 2010 bench among others.

Hollins-Parker-Hickson-Gee-Davis are the starting five for the Cavs, while former Cav Drew Gooden, Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah A Moute, & John Salmons lead off for the Bucks. Any of you fantasy basketball geeks out there will be upset to know that Andrew Bogut is done for the little that remains of this season; he’ll have surgery on that right elbow Tuesday.

Clicks to Pick: Am I going out on a limb by saying Jennings is going to finish with a nice stat-line? Probably not. Come the end of the season, you’ve got to figure some of these guys may want to finish the season with strong performance before the long offseason begins. For the Cavs? All I expect to see is a strong performance from Daniel Gibson. Nobody seemed as bitter about the “Decision” as Gibson, so we shall see if he concludes this post-LeBron era season with a boom in Milwaukee.

Keys to win: Don’t let the Cavs score. Hasn’t seemed too tough for the rest of the league… And considering the five starters tonight weren’t part of their starting lineup much at all last season, it shouldn’t be the toughest feat these Bucks have faced. With coaching advice like this, I could do Pre-Game analysis for ESPN, but the fact of the matter is the Bucks should win despite the Cavs recent hot surge (including a gratifying win in Cleveland against arch enemy LeBron James and the Heat).

First Half: There should be a stat: Tip off victory to wins ratio… That is, how many times does the team that wins the tip win the game? I don’t know either--probably pretty invaluable, possibly entirely useless, but interesting, nonetheless to me. For this game’s purpose, the Bucks won the tip and scored first.

John Salmons came out pretty hot. He’s progressively gotten stronger since he returned from injury and I’m hoping this foreshadows a BIG 2011-2012 campaign because they’ll need him to be a major scorer. Ramon Sessions came in for the final minutes of the first. He sure looked like a different player than he was a couple of seasons ago with Milwaukee. The Bucks took a commanding 30-18 lead into the second quarter after outshooting the Cavaliers, 62% to Cleveland’s 41%.

The Bucks led 60-44 going into the second half. Your leader at the time was Johnny Salmons with 13 points and Drew Gooden showed he’s a worthy ambassador of the NBA Cares program proving sharing is caring with 7 first half assists. Alonzo “Golly” Gee led the Cavs charge with 12 points in the first.

Second Half: Jennings and Salmons did what they do best come crunch time: lots of shots and lots of baskets. They always seem to be the tandem that closes out games for the Bucks. Some go better than others, but tonight they did a nice job come the final minutes. The Bucks made it WAY too close. At the two minute mark, the Bucks led by just 6. All in all, the Bucks played strong in the first half, a bit sluggish in the 3rd quarter, and played with fire in the 4th but eventually closed it out.

Looking Forward: Drew Gooden was definitely the player of the game. He fouled out in the last few seconds, but concluded with a triple double. Perhaps a little revenge on his old mates? Most likely. It’ll be nice to see what he can do in a full, healthy season next year. The final home game comes this Monday as the Bucks take on the Raptors. Don’t forget, it’s fan appreciation night so there will be plenty of giveaways and it’s always nice bidding your home team farewell, even if it did end a bit too soon. To the Cavs, looking forward, I bid the best of luck to the franchise. I can’t help but feel sorry for such a turn of events from last year. A nice, highly ranked draft pick would do both teams some good.

*Useless Concluding Knowledge:

  1. A really interesting Cavs player to see in person was Luke Harangody. He was the talk of Notre Dame and all of college basketball for years, but as many players can contest, NCAA and NBA are two very different paced games. He definitely seemed overpowered and a step slow, but he’s still young with good basketball instincts and hope.
  2. Fan favorite, Michael Redd, is still just that: a fan favorite. Despite a year’s absence with a hefty contract and new emerging stars to the Bucks (Jennings, Salmons, etc.), Redd still proves to be a popular guy here. Any shot he took/made, the crowd cheered mightily. He ended the game with 10 points. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him this offseason.
  3. In case you’re wondering how the movie Major League has Milwaukee roots, the flick was actually filmed at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. And of course, Bob Uecker.

That concludes tonight’s Bucks and blog action. Hopefully, they’ve got one more home win in them come Monday. Once again, thanks for voting and I definitely encourage you checking back here and reading in the future…


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.