Bucks (29-35) vs. Bulls (28-33) @ Chicago, 7:30pm, FSN
Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors (21-40), 7:30pm @ Bradley Center
The one thing that Bucks GM John Hammond said in the post-trade deadline (Feb. 23) WSSP-radio interview that has stuck in my craw were his comments about Richard Jefferson only playing 22 games with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut all together in the lineup. “We did well with them on the floor together,” Hammond said.
That’s not exactly true. The Bucks opponents this weekend, the Bulls and Nellie’s Warriors, bring to mind a couple of those times when the Bucks didn’t look so good with Redd, Bogut and Jefferson playing.
The Bucks are 1-2 vs the Bulls this season and put up little resistance in Oakland Dec. 10.
Biggest game of the season: The Bucks claim to 8th place in the East is on the line tonight in Chicago, as is the season’s tie-breaker against the Bulls. The Bucks, losers of 6 of their last 8 games, desperately need a win.
A Bulls victory lifts Chicago into 8th and could dump the Bucks into 10th if New Jersey can trick the Magic in Orlando. A Bucks win gets them to 30 wins before the 7th place Sixers. You gotta love this playoffs race.
Taking the Bulls seriously: Given the importance of this game, this won’t be an issue tonight. However, as crazy as it sounds given the Bucks record, respecting coach Scott Skiles’ former team has been an issue this season in the Bucks two losses to the Bulls. …The first was the season opener (when the Bucks looked a lot like last season’s Bucks); the second was the Feb. 18th game at the BC, the day the Bulls were shorthanded after trading four players, including Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden, to acquire Brad Miller and John Salmons from Sacramento.
Kirk Hinrich torched Ramon Sessions, Charlie Bell and the Bucks guards for 18 points in the 4th quarter, prompting Skiles to say, “He just took our guards and made us look pretty silly, he was playing so hard.” No doubt the Bucks would like to have that game back, which came after the Bucks had beaten the Pistons in Detroit.
Ridnour and Sessions: In the season opener, Ridnour was nursing a bad back and Sessions didn’t play. In the loss Feb. 18th, Ridnour sat out with a broken hand. The Bucks Dec. 3 win is the only time the Bulls have seen Sessions and Ridnour this season.
Bulls botching transition?: First-year coach Del Negro hasn’t been too pleased with how his team responded after the trades (they’re 3-4 since the trades), and questioned his players’ professionalism after the Bulls were blown out in Charlotte Tuesday. Also, Bulls GM John Paxson has taken issue with Del Negro’s recent decisions to play Hinrich in the 4th quarter instead of Rookie-of-the-Year contender Derrick Rose. Blog a Bull is not too happy about Hinrich finishing games.
And they’ve noticed in Chicago that F/C Brad Miller is “so slow time they have to time his sprints with a sundial.”
Deng dang dinged: Sorry, had to do it. Small forward Luol Deng probably won’t play (bruised shin) against the Bucks but former Buck Tim Thomas, acquired from the Knicks in the Larry Hughes trade two weeks ago, probably will. Deng and Thomas have each missed the last two games, leaving Del Negro to basically play seven players — his starters plus Hinrich and Miller off the bench. Salmons has started in Deng’s forward spot.
Bulls-Warriors: The Bulls went 2-4 after the trades but won Wednesday in Chicago vs. a sloppy, uninspired Warrior team, which had been playing fairly well prior to Chicago. Joakim Noah was active, with 17 boards and 14 pts. Salmons found his stroke for 23 in the 110-88 Bulls win.
“That was the worst three quarters of basketball we’ve played in two months,” Nellie said postgame.
More on the Warriors tomorrow in Bucks Weekend II – after we see what happens in Chicago.
I don’t know what this dance routine from the Bucks-Bulls game Dec. 3 is supposed to look like but I’m guessing that one of these three Energee! dancers has it right — and she’s not the brunette at lower right. ….
Wonder who she’s flippin’ off? Does seem kinda lost in the joy of the moment …