The Bucks, lo and behold, for the first time in three years, are playing out a season, and giving the kind of effort fans need to see every night at the BC. The New Jersey Nets, playing without Devin Harris again Monday just plain sucking, are headed the other way.
The 58-16 Lakers, the Bucks opponent tonight at the BC (7pm start), have other concerns. They’re road weary and this week lost ground on the Cavs in the race for the league’s best record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Lakers, now three games behind the Cavs, lost in Charlotte last night, their second straight after winning four in a row on the road. When they hit Milwaukee, Kobe and crew will be on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and playing the last game of a seven-game road trip. If Kobe shoots 11-28 as he did in Charlotte, the Bucks have a shot.
Charlotte (34-40) swept the Lakers this season and pulled within a game of the (36-40) Bulls in the race for 8th as the Bulls lost in Indiana. Speaking of not tanking, the Pacers (32-43) haven’t given up on the season and are now tied with the Bucks for 10th in the East.
No tanking allowed: Andrew Bogut dealt with this tanking business in his blog Tuesday, deciding it shouldn’t be allowed.
“We have been up and down, but don’t doubt that we are still fighting. A lot of people are already counting us out and want us to so-called ‘tank’ for a lottery pick. The way I look it at is tanking only builds bad habits. It’s not something you should be allowed to do. I commend our franchise and head coach for letting everyone know we will fight as long as there is a game left on our schedule.
Bogut injury update: It was reported that Bogut went to the doctor Monday in New Jersey but he now says on his blog that he didn’t make the appointment. He says he was scheduled take the final scan of his lower back in NY Monday but was too ill to keep the appointment.
Although he missed the test, it sounds as though he’s ready to start working out, and is awaiting final confirmation. Whether that means he’ll play in a game remains to be seen. The way the Bucks have continued to press on even as their hopes for the playoffs have dwindled would suggest that elimation from the playoff picture probably won’t impact the decision on whether or not to play Bogut. The Bucks are treating these games as though they have meaning; if Bogut’s ready to play some minutes, he’ll play.
Time is running out, however, for Bogut to get in decent game shape.
The Bucks, just 5-14 since their 3-game winning streak right around the All-Star break/trading deadline, have continued to play as though the games have meaning, emphasizing the need to build an 82-game, playoff mindset. The only change is that Joe Alexander’s playing time has picked up — he played nearly 50 minutes total against the Heat and Nets, the most he’s played in a 2-game stretch all season. Joe had 16 points in New Jersey, his season high.
Death to the NY/New Jersey press: An insightful article from the New Jersey Star-Ledger in which Richard Jefferson jokes that he “probably would have killed somebody” had he not been traded from the Nets. When reporter Dave D’Alessandro prodded a little to find out whom RJ might have killed, he learned that “it could have very easily been” him.
It’s an interesting look at where the Nets were at last summer when they traded RJ to the Bucks. Yes, the Nets were looking for future salary cap space (2010) and thought Yi Jianlian would be a good and popular addition (this isn’t working out so well) but there was also a need to end the RJ-Vince Carter tandem. This didn’t get much attention in Milwaukee when the trade was made but I did note it here as part my reasoning that Mo Williams was a better fit for Cleveland than Michael Redd would have been (the overlapping of like styles bit, hinging on Redd not being as much of a spot up shooter as people seem to think he is). Would Redd and Lebron have complemented each other as well as Mo and Lebron have? Or would they have ended up like VC and RJ?
Jefferson had this to say about the current state of the Bucks:
“You’re supposed to come out here and continue to play hard and these guys have played their butts off. We have been playing as hard as we can. We haven’t played as well as we would have liked. But guys have put it out there.”