There’s something to be said for being a New Jersey Net, whose players and former players seem to have their priorities more in order than do their Tri-state baller brethren toiling away on the New York Knicks roster.
And now, to quote Thurston Moore in SY’s “Teenage Riot”, it’s really down, down to this: Devin Harris’ girlfriend, former Dallas bartender and wannabe model Meghan (with an h, same as former Ms. Wisconsin and Bob Boozer Jinx Girl Meghan) Allen …
vs. Richard Jefferson’s wife, international supermodel Teresa Lourenco.
Who also owns bikini swimwear …
It’s like choosing between Debbie Does Dallas and Nastasia Kinski in Cat People, right?.. because those two films are so close to one another on the videostore shelves… In my mind is a cage match between Erin Andrews tush-hounding Sports by Brooks and the gay hairdresser on BET’s Real Stories of Rich Atlanta Housewives.
While you’re mulling that over, please enjoy these notes from the kick in the gut that was the Bucks fine weekend on the West Coast, complete with Eastern C-Notes and other fresh garbage from around the NBA …
Hundreds of thousands of pathetic things occur in Los Angeles on a daily basis (Bret Michaels’ “Rock of Love” is it?) and one of them Saturday night was the Bucks at the Staples Center, allowing the injury-depleted Clippers to walk away with a game in the 4th quarter. AND, believe it or not, Michael Redd dunked the ball in the 4th and didn’t hurt himself… but keep an eye on the injury report, just in case.
I began writing this with the Bucks down 9 and 2 1/2 minutes to go. It looked like the game was over. But then Luke Ridnour stole the ball, got it to Richard Jefferson and the Clippers were gracious enough to foul R.J. in the act of shooting a three. He sank all three free throws to make it 95-89 with 2:24 to play, and there was a sliver of hope that the Bucks could rally when they got the ball back a few seconds later. But 95-90 was as close as it got. 101-92 final, a loss that coach Skiles saw coming, Tom Enlund reports.
The score was 77-76 Clippers to start the 4th. The Bucks began the quarter watching Ricky Davis bank a long jumper. On the next two Bucks possessions, Joe Alexander had his shot blocked and the ball stolen. In between Joe’s troubles, Steve Novak hit a three for the Clips and the Bucks were suddenly down six. Skiles quickly subbed Redd, R.J. and Ridnour back into the game to no avail. The only scoring the Bucks could muster the first eight minutes of the quarter was a 3-pointer and a jumper by Ridnour, and two free throws by R.J — Redd was 1-5 in the 4th (the dunk his lone make) after going 8-13 in quarters 1, 2 and 3 for 19 pts. That’s no surprise at this point.
Ricky Davis (8 pts) and Novak (5 pts) took the final quarter and the game for the Clippers, despite losing F/C Marcus Camby to a sprained ankle early in the quarter. And, still, Davis and Novak cooperated with the Bucks hopes by missing five jumpers between them, and point guard Mardy Collins added a couple of more bricks to help the Bucks cause. Meanwhile, the Clippers killed the Bogut-less Bucks on the boards (48-30) and in the paint, with 2-time former Buck Brian Skinner and forward Al Thornton blocking shots and making life miserable for the Bucks in Camby’s absence.
It was ugly, and both teams played lousy ball with the game on the line tonight. The Bucks were lousier.
Game ball to Novak. The 3rd year pro out of Marquette delivered the lead for the Clippers with two Bucks-deflating jumpers (one from downtown) in that 7-8 minute stretch of bad 4th quarter basketball in which neither team could seize the momentum. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
The Bucks on Friday held off a 4th quarter rally by the Kings in Sacramento to win 129-122. It was the kind of run-and-gun shootout they should have avoided by forcing their own brand of half court uptempo (the Scott Skiles way) but Michael Redd obliged the Kings and shot his way to a season high 44 points — all of it before the 4th quarter, which opened with the Bucks leading by 15. Before long in the final period that lead was down to 2 points and the Bucks were fighting to avoid a blown game. Charlie Villanueva, who finished with 25 pts, 12 rebs, picked up the scoring load and point guard Luke Ridnour (17 pts, 10 assists) was able to restore order in the final minutes. It was the Bucks 20th win against 22 losses and coach Scott Skiles didn’t want to hear any talk about the playoffs.
In Philly earlier Friday, the 76ers raced off of some nasty D like the Sixers of last season’s run and hit a few desperation bombs to win their sixth in a row, 109-87 over Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The Sixers went to 19-20, a half game ahead of the Bucks. Big forward Elton Brand was a possible maybe Saturday to play his first game since dislocating his shoulder fouling Luc Mbah a Moute vs. the Bucks Dec. 17.
Ray Allen was cold-bloodedly efficient Saturday afternoon in New Jersey, scoring 19 pts on 12 shots, plus 6-6 free throws for 25 as the Celtics blew out the Nets 105-85. ‘Tosa homie Devin Harris’ girlfriend may be hot, but the loss dropped his Nets to 9th in the East standings, a half game behind the Bucks.
Going into the Bucks-Clippers game, a game-and-a-half separated Philly, the Bucks, the Nets and the Bulls in the East’s 7-8-9-10 spots. Milwaukee Bucks, say hello to your rivals.
Too much of a good thing in Detroit? The Pistons (22-17) lost their 4th straight Saturday, falling 91-85 to Chris Paul and the Hornets in Detroit. They were in control of the game until the 4th quarter when ‘Sheed had one of those “free to be Sheed bricking three” finishes. Prior to the game, Allen Iverson wondered if there were chemistry issues with his new team. What he really meant was that the Pistons were better without fellow All-Star Rip Hamilton, winning 7 straight in his absence, but that’s not the kind of thing a player says.
Since Rip came back, the Pistons have been starting small with guards Rodney Stuckey, Iverson and Hamilton, along with forwards Tayshaun Prince and Sheed. Coach Michael Curry really is a rookie coach. Bringing the Answer (remember what he did to the Bucks in November?) or Rip off the bench and going big with Amir Johnson starting alongside Sheed would help, coach. But that’s not Curry’s only problem: The Pistons just don’t take half the NBA seriously, and neither does Curry, apparently. The power forward-rich Oklahoma City Thunder stomped past the Pistons Friday.
In Toronto Sunday, the Suns scored 71 points in the first half on their way to a 117-113 win over the Raptors. In all that first half scoring, Steve Nash took only one shot – a missed three – and did not score, being otherwise occupied orchestrating a beautifully unselfish masterpiece. Nash had 11 dimes at the half and a season high 18 for the game.
End note: The Bucks need a real shooter. A Dell Curry, Dale Ellis type (Anthony Parker?). This was an early season theme on this blog and now seems like a good time to dwell on it. Back then, I harped that the advantage was in the front court and I still think that’s true when Bogut is healthy — and especially true with the emergence of Luc Mbah a Moute. Our backcourt isn’t good enough or consistent enough to win more than they lose, as creative as Ridnour is and as prolific a scorer as Redd is at times not the 4th quarter. The opposition usually comes to play with guards who are better shooters and better defenders. The Bucks do have two shooters — Tyronn Lue and Damon Jones — but Skiles has left his little guards on the bench; in Jones’ case, in street clothes.
End note II: This from the AP Bucks-Clippers recap. “The inconsistent Bucks, coming off a 129-122 win at Sacramento, haven’t had consecutive wins or losses in their last 14 games, the longest streak in club history and the longest in the NBA since New York’s 14-game stretch in 1997-98.” Meanwhile, Philly won in NY. That’s 7 in a row for the Sixers without Elton Brand, who sat out again for likely the last time. The Sixers are 20-20 to the Bucks 20-23. The Bucks ended the weekend in a virtual tie with the Nets (19-22) for 8th in the East standings, with Chicago (18-23) a game behind them.
End note III: This from Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer and his Behind the Box Score look at the Bull-Cavs game the other night.
[The Bulls] got back to playing defense, running, and generally making life one big aberration for their opponents. A throwback to the Scott Skiles days, the early days, of forcing teams into giving up when things aren’t going their way.
The Bucks in Skiles’ first season as coach have not been there consistently like the Baby Bulls were, but they have been there. Can they find their way back with the current roster?
End note IV: