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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Despite inconsistent season, Bucks still in playoff race

The Milwaukee Bucks improved its record to 11-14 after defeating the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night. Thanks to the top-heavy Eastern conference, an 11-14 record is good enough for the 8th seed in the East, earning the Bucks a trip to the playoffs if the season ended today. Despite sitting at three games under .500, the Bucks have been anything but boring, but inconsistent would be an accurate depiction of the team.

Here’s a brief look at the unpredictable journey for the Milwaukee Bucks through 25 games:

1) Lost the season opener against the Bobcats, who now boast the NBA’s worst record at 3-22.
2) Won the next two games at home against the Timberwolves and Wizards.
3) Lost five games in a row on a west coast trip. Center Andrew Bogut missed four of those games after he left for Australia to deal with undisclosed personal matters.
4) Won the next two games at home against the Spurs and Pistons after Bogut’s return. Bucks stayed undefeated at home, 4-0.
5) Lost the next three – against the Mavericks, 76ers and Nuggets by an average margin of 16 points. Bucks stayed winless on the road, 0-8.
6) Won six of the next eight games – against the likes of the Knicks, Rockets, Lakers and Heat – while improving to one game under .500. During that stretch, Andrew Bogut fractured his ankle and will miss at least two to three months of action.
7) Lost the next three games against the Pistons, Bulls and Suns.
8) Won on the road against the Raptors on Wednesday night.


While I try to figure out the 2012 Milwaukee Bucks and the meaning of “Be Milwaukee,” the Bucks’ new slogan, here’s a closer look at Milwaukee’s last three games.

Saturday (2/4/12) Bulls (113) vs. Bucks (90)

The Bad: There weren’t many positives to pull from the 23-point loss to the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks yielded 67 points to the Bulls in the first half and never got closer than 17 points from that point on. Any momentum and hype that the Bucks garnered from beating the Knicks, Lakers and Heat seemed to completely vanish after this loss.

The Good: If there was a silver lining for the Bucks it would be that Scott Skiles, Milwaukee’s head coach, waved the white flag early in the second half. As a result, promising rookies Tobias Harris and Jon Leuer saw plenty of action. Harris scored an efficient 19 points and Leuer contributed four points and eight rebounds.

The Ugly: The Bradley Center turned into the “United Center North” on Saturday. A conservative estimate by Milwaukee’s announcers had 70 percent of the “home” crowd rooting for the Bulls. The sold-out crowd chanted “MVP” for Derrick Rose, “Let’s Go Bulls,” and “Scal-a-brine-e” for Brian Scalabrine, the Bulls’ cult hero.

Bucks starting power forwards Drew Gooden did not have too many nice things to say about the Bucks fans at the game, or lack thereof.

“I knew the nature of Milwaukee fans long before I got here,” Gooden said. “I think we’re used to it.”

Tuesday (2/7/12) Suns (107) vs. Bucks (105)

The Bad: The Bucks lost for the third game in a row. Milwaukee gave up 67 points, again, in the first half and trailed by 17 at halftime. Although it was able to come back and take the lead on a couple of occasions, Suns point guard Steve Nash hit the game-winning layup with five seconds remaining. Brandon Jennings also looked disinterested for a majority of the game, only shooting four times while being inactive on both ends of the court.

The Good: The Bucks fought back in the second half, outscoring the Suns 55-40. Stephen Jackson, after being benched and suspended twice, appeared to get out of Scott Skiles’ doghouse and scored 12 points in nearly 30 minutes. Jackson, who was seen as a key acquisition in the offseason, had been suspended once for missing a shoot around and once for verbally abusing a referee.

The Ugly: The Bucks’ locker room appeared to be in turmoil after the game. Scott Skiles, Stephen Jackson and Brandon Jennings all had eye-opening comments after the game. The disinterested mannerisms on the court, in addition to the postgame remarks, triggered a lot of speculation among the fan base and local media. Strong reactions – such as “fire Scott Skiles,” “trade Stephen Jackson” and “Brandon Jennings does not want to stay in Milwaukee” – were out in full force after this game.

Here are a few highlights of the postgame remarks:

When asked by Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine whether he still wants to be in Milwaukee, Stephen Jackson said, “If I answer that, “I’ll get fined though.”

Brandon Jennings, when asked about his only made field goal of the game – one of only four he attempted: “Umm, yeah. You know, the shot clock was going down. And it went in. So, that’s about it.”

Scott Skiles on whether he talked to Brandon Jennings at halftime: “There’s some sensitive guys on occasion in there. You want to let it play out how it plays out. Brandon could have had 25 in the second half. There’s no reason to put too much emphasis on one half. But we’ll talk and see what was going on.”

Wednesday (2/8/12) Bucks (105) at Raptors (99)

The Good: The Bucks won, snapping a three-game losing streak. Bucks guard Carlos Delfino had his best game of the season, scoring 25 points on 7-12 shooting from the field along with 6-8 beyond the arc. Stephen Jackson and Mike Dunleavy Jr. combined to score 35 points off the bench.

The Bad: Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee’s leading scorer on the year, struggled again by shooting only 3-12 from the field and 4-8 from the free throw line. His play in the last two games has generated speculation about his deferring manner on the court. Common theories have been he’s upset at Scott Skiles, how Stephen Jackson has been handled, or his all-star snub. However, there is no evidence of any of these issues; Jennings claimed he just hasn’t been getting his shot.

The Ugly: For an unbeknownst reason, the Raptors have a 3-D sign on their baseline. It is ugly.

A look ahead: The Bucks have several important games coming up on their schedule. They travel to Cleveland on Friday to play the Cavs, who are one spot back of the Bucks in the standings. Then they return to the Bradley Center to battle the Magic and Heat, on Saturday and Monday respectively. They finish up the three-game home stand on Wednesday night against the Hornets. If the Bucks win two or three of those games, there’s a good chance they hold their spot in the standings. If they drop three or four, things could get even more interesting in the locker room. Wins, losses or draws, it will likely continue to be a bumpy ride for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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