Gotta Run
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NOT MILWAUKEE, March 29, 2007 -- Well, that went as well as the Bucks could have hoped.

Of course, I mean the Bucks took a team that's closing in on a historic 70-win season and led by five midway through the fourth quarter. Not that the Bucks lost or that they ... oh, never mind, let's not get into it.

Anyway, with 12 games remaining and seven games between them and the current eighth seed, Orlando, it's finally time to park the bandwagon next to Andrew Bogut's, Charlie Villanueva's and Bobby Simmons' rehab RVs for the summer. Don't get me wrong, I'll watch the Green and Red until April 18 when they close out their season against the Cavs, but with their starting frontcourt on the shelf, their All-Star shooting guard having missed more than six weeks, their starting point guard missing eight games, their backup point guard missing three weeks and their backup center on the shelf for at least that long, reality has hit me as the injury bug hit the Bucks this season: hard.

I know my spirit's not broken, but I still think I need to go in for X-rays ... just in case.

That being said, coach Larry Krystkowiak, with whom the locals have already fallen head over heels in love, will have the Bucks that are still upright playing hard. Good for him. That's the attitude a team should have, not only when the bone chips are down, but also when the going gets good as well.

But this wouldn't be Central Intelligence if the author didn't offer up a suggestion he thinks would improve his beloved squad or improve it's entertainment value. (Of course, just because the advice is offered doesn't mean anyone should feel a need to heed it. Maybe next year they'll turn the lights down.) After all, Larry Krystkowiak asked for suggestions.

Rob, you're lyin'.

OK, he asked his players for suggestions, but I won't let this opportunity pass. According to Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, before the Bucks hit the hardwood to take on the Mavs, Krystkowiak asked his players how they wanted to play.

"You tell me," Krystkowiak told his players before the Bucks' down-to-the-wire, 105-103 loss to the powerful Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center, "how do you guys want to play out the rest of the season?" What, Krystkowiak asked his players, do you want to take from what remains of the Bucks' lottery-bound season?

"We talked about it this morning at our shoot-around," said Krystkowiak. "I said to the players, 'OK, you guys are the coach. You tell me how we should be playing.' And Mo (Williams) threw out, 'We need to play the game the right way'.

"So then we went into defining the right way. We're going to share the ball. We're going to move the ball and try to take what I call 'us' shots where it's either an uncontested shot or it's unlimited selflessness.

"I'm not going to be afraid to tell a guy on the floor, 'Hey, that wasn't an "us" shot.' We're going to maybe pass up some mediocre shots and (take better shots). That way we can have some fun with the game. That's really the focus of our team right now."

Coach, you want to know how to have fun? I mean, really, really let your players have fun and unshackle them from the tyranny of the 47-foot pen in which most coaches confine creativity? Roll out the rock and let your guys use all 94 feet.



Run, run like the wind.

Run like hell.

Run, Run, Run-D.M.C.

Run, Forrest, Run!

Run, run, run, run away. (I forgot that was Jefferson Starship.)

Run to daylight.

That's right, get out and fly. Make like the Suns. Make like the Suns' opponents.

Most every team in the NBA would benefit by throwing out the 40-pound playbooks, throwing off the shackles of the staid half-court sets and letting guys fly up an down the court, especially for teams that have their starting frontcourt in the freezer. And when some guy who played in sateen shorts with a belt buckle, wants 10 passes before every shot and admires basketball played like football in short pants complains loudly that no one is playing defense, tell him:

"Listen, we're looking to our future while we embrace teams from the past like Red Auerbach's Celtics, who scored 124 points per game one season or the Showtime Lakers. We're gonna run and run like hell because we want to get to the hoop before the defense gets down there. Why should we walk the ball up the floor and let the defense dig in? Put them on their heels, make them play our game, make them adjust to our speed. Why should we let them dictate? We have the thing they want: the ball! Because if we beat them up the court, instead of trying to beat them off the dribble with three seconds on the 24-second clock, we're gonna get an open shot, and nearly every coach will tell you an open shot is a good shot, an 'us' shot.

"That's what we're gonna do. We're gonna fill the bandwagon with premium, put the pedal to the metal and run it into the Redd."

See, that's not that hard. Because if there's anything the Bucks can do as well as any team with the guys they have left standing is score. So, why not turn it up a notch in these last 12 games?

But can you win an NBA title in this day and age while averaging 110? The Suns are trying. They have led the league in scoring for the past two seasons and lead the league again at 110.1 points per game, they're leading the league again. They've won 169 regular-season games (and counting) in the past three. And while there's no quantifiable statistic, but it seems, win or lose, the Suns have played in some of the most heart-stopping, white-knuckle games in that time as well.

For the Bucks, there's no time like the present to throw caution into wind and have the team run like it (the wind that is, not caution). It's time for teams to consume copious amounts of Phoenix video, adopt the seven or eight plays the Suns do run and let 'er rip.

Or as Mo Williams says here: "We know that this season now is basically rebuilding for next year. Getting our style, how we want to play from here on out . . . move the ball, share the ball and play together. That's one thing that we want to take forward for the next 12 games and for the games next year."

Yes, but hurry up, will you?

Thoughts? Complaints? E-mail us. Also, you can listen to Rob Peterson on NBA Radio, Sirius 127 every Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET, and every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET.