Bucks making it easy for the Hawks

Bucks coach Scott Skiles was runner up in the coach of the year voting, but right now he's looking for hair to pull out over his Bucks' play against the Hawks.Two games into this playoffs series, just about the last thing I expected to write was this:   The Bucks aren’t challenging the Hawks’ shots and they’re lacking focus. They’ve hardly resembled the defensive Bucks team the NBA is used to.

Scott Skiles’ constant pressure defense has a few basic principles. Constant pressure on the ball, no switching on picks (the fight-through pick rule) and show help/don’t leave your man. The intended result of these activities is a sticky defensive stew in which the Bucks should be in position to tightly contest shooters. The consequence of not contesting shots is usually a seat on the bench.

The Hawks have generally been a lot more open than Bucks opponents usually are, and Skiles is not happy about it. Milwaukee Journal NBA beat reporter, Tom Enlund, is back in action for the playoffs, and Enlund reports that Skiles’ shot challenge charts from Games 1 and 2 are looking rather bare.

“We need to have a minimum of about 75% contested shots and we’re well below that right now,” said Skiles.

[Edit: Whether or not center Andrew Bogut is in the lineup shouldn’t impact whether or not (searching for the right example here) … John Salmons is sluggish on defense.]

In other news from Skiles:  “Our focus hasn’t been where it normally is.”

The Bucks have one shot to find theire focus and get it back to normal. If they lose Game 3 Saturday, they fall down 0-3 to the Hawks. Nobody’s ever come back from O-3 to win an NBA playoff series.

Coach of the Year:  While the Bucks were busy making the Hawks look like the Lakers, the NBA was preparing to release it’s Coach of the Year voting results. And the winner is:  Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks, down 0-2 to the actual Lakers.  The Thunder went from the lottery and 22-47 record in Brooks’  “interim” last year to 50 wins and the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Maybe they did it by surprising a lot of teams but Brooks’ Thunder play some D.  They finished in the league’s top 10 in defensive rating, in that 2nd hextile the Cavs fell to this season. It’s not a bad place to be — the Spurs, Jazz and D-Wade’s Heat are in the 2nd tier, too.

Brooks won 58% of the first place votes on the 123 NBA media ballots, a landslide. Skiles finished a strong enough second for people who tend to dribble around in cyberspace about the NBA to conclude this was a race of two Scotts. That’s fine. The lackluster play of the Bucks on Tuesday does, however, lead me to believe that the voters probably chose the right Scott.

4 thoughts on “Bucks making it easy for the Hawks

  1. Kevin

    Silas almost played in 5, his Suns were up 3-1 against LA in 1970 and then lost. And they may have beaten Atlanta, who was sept by LA.
    Sid with two good knees was very similar to MJ. Michael just had that extra gear on offense.

  2. J.D. Mo. Post author

    Check that, Paul Silas played in 4 Finals also – three of them against Dandridge (Celtics-Bucks 74) and the Bullets-Sonics series’. 1976 Celtics vs. Suns is the other.

    Bucks swept the Bullets in 1971, so Silas has the edge in Finals games played – 25 and won (15). Silas also played in the most playoff games period, with 112.
    Of course I could be missing still another guy who played more ?

  3. J.D. Mo. Post author

    Definitely a typo – fixed, thanks. Sid won the first two DPOY’s, the best guard in the league not named Magic until Jordan, and even then one could argue for a couple of years that Sid was better than the young MJ. I know I did. But he’s dropped off the Hall of Fame radar for some reason. Bernard King? Ahead of Sid?

    Important and interesting Bobby Dandridge trivia? The Greyhound started more NBA Finals games than any player of the 1970’s, 23. As far as I know, nobody else played in four Finals, and Bobby D played in two with the Bucks and two with the Bullets.

    He may have played in more playoff games (98) than any player of the decade … except Wes Unseld (103). Haven’t found anybody who played in more.

  4. Kevin

    Bucks won 49 Sid’s rookie year. Must have been a typo. Injuries hurt his chances, but he belongs. Dandridge belongs in the Hall, his numbers for a small forward are staggering. Outplayed Dr. J in ’78 Playoffs leading the Bullets to their first title after two career years post Kareem for Bucks. Four times in the finals, two rings, and never on the ballot.

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