Bucks giftwrap Bobcats home opener in Charlotte

After pounding the Charlotte Bobcats for one half and taking an 11 point lead at the break and going up 14, the Bucks apparently thought their season opener was in the bag.  A 30-14 pasting in the 3rd quarter reminded all (yet again) that this Bucks team simply isn’t as good as it apparently thinks it is.

They looked a lot like one of those teams that has forgotten what it’s like to win in the NBA and can’t find the “how-to” manual.

In the fateful 3rd, one long offensive rebound after another bricked out to the Cats over the inside position held by Andrew Bogut and Ersan Ilyasova, and the second and third chance points piled up against a solid Bucks D that had forced the Cats outside.

Charlotte held a 52-39 rebounding advantage and grabbed 15 offensive boards.  Remember when the Bucks hit the floor to seemingly come up with every available loose ball — those “50-50 plays” that coach Scott Skiles, Bogut and Luc Mbah a Moute used to talk about?

Last night, the Bucks didn’t get those, and nobody was talking about them.  (Mbah a Moute, it should be noted, didn’t play due to some minor tendonitis in his right knee.  Do the Bucks miss him that much?  Yeah, they probably do.)

Bobcat guards Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker had a combined 16 boards, just two less than Bogut and Ilyasova.  In 114 combined minutes, Bucks guards Brandon Jennings, Beno Udrih, guard-forward Mike Dunleavy and forward-guard Stephen Jackson had all of 8 rebounds.  That’s one rebound every 14 minutes.

Jackson was particularly awful, fouling out in just 17 minutes, getting a technical on the sixth foul and taking four ugly looking three pointers.  One banked in, unbelievably.  Is this the kind of basketball Skiles is going to allow this season?   One has to wonder.

More importantly, Bogut looked good, better than he has since he mangled his arm in 2010:  17 points, 9 rebounds, a blocked shot and two of the Bucks six steals.

Unfortunately, most of the points came early against Cats PF Boris Diaw.  Bogut had difficulty taking advantage of DeSagana Diop, the ‘Cats behemoth center, in the third quarter — and, you know our Bucks — the guards, led by Brandon Jennings, didn’t seem too interested in constructing offense where Bogut could take Diop in the open court.  More self-inflicted offensive woes from Skiles’ Bucks.

Ilyasova and Gooden couldn’t get anything going offensively (combined 2-8 shooting).  Here’s an insightful note from We’re Bucked because I’m trying really hard not to carp about Gooden:

The backup center issue is still an issue.  When Bogut left for his late third-quarter breather, the Bobcats outscored the Bucks 9-0. Not only that, but before action resumed, Charlotte added two more free throws (plus possession of the ball) on a Drew Gooden flagrant foul that led to his ejection.  So Bogut left with a six-point lead, came back to a five-point deficit, and returned early because Drew got himself tossed.

Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and Jackson shot a combined 4-16, the only makes from downtown.  That’s combined 6-24 shooting from three starters and a key rotation big man.  Ouch.

Carlos Delfino could have done that.  He was out nursing a sprained shooting wrist, apparently suffered when he gunned one too many from 3-point-land.

Home opener tonight at 7:30 PM.  Bucks will try again tonight at home in the Bradley Center against the Timberwolves and Kevin Love — a long night for the Bucks power forwards.  And BJ hasn’t been good against his old backup, Luke Ridnour, never mind Ricky Rubio.

Note to self:  This post is way too damned long.  Must … find … better … way … to write.   Running down recaps of generally forgettable basketball games will draw a fine from the editorial board.   Time to dig around in the video vault for more footage of Stephen Jackson doing things ridiculous.

11 thoughts on “Bucks giftwrap Bobcats home opener in Charlotte

  1. J.D. Mo. Post author

    Luc and Leuer arrived in Milwaukee ready to get NBA minutes right away, didn’t they? And Meeks has been good, too. I’ve always thought “upside” was a little overrated. One guy who didn’t get drafted and is playing in Greece now is Matt Howard, who was arguably the most dependable big man in college the last two years. Still hard to believe no NBA team thought he was worth a second round pick.

  2. Kevin

    Some consolation; exact same score, too.
    My theory on these second round picks that have been so good for us is that they are not highly recruited so they have played more college ball.

  3. J.D. Mo. Post author

    Watched Charlotte-Miami last night, and – wow – though they lost the game, the Bobcats came ready to play this season. The guy who was again impressive when he got some minutes was the Cats 7-footer, Byron Mullins, who did the same thing he did against the Bucks – hit seemingly every shot he took. I’m sure the T-Wolves are thinking the same thing about Leuer.

  4. Kevin

    It would be great to have Moute and Gooden back to see how this all works out. We have plenty of fouls to give, as 45 free throws by Minnesota confirms.
    Skiles is still stuck on these small lineups and we keep losing leads. I’m almost ready for yet another change. But its good to see Bogut and Jennings in form. That was rare last year.

  5. J.D. Mo. Post author

    The Bucks went with Jennings-Livingston-Jackson-Ilyasova-Bogut to close the game, then sent Leuer in for Bogut when AB fouled out. Ilyasova stuck with Kevin Love most of the time he was on the court — with Bogut taking him when Darko fouled out.
    After a horrendous first quarter in which K-Love scored 17, went to the line 13 times and got Ersan and Bogut in foul trouble, Love scored 14 the rest of the way and wasn’t getting space to shoot threes. He shot just 6-18 on the night, so they were good after the first quarter.
    I’m sure Gooden will see some time on Blache against the Wiz on Friday. But for the most part, I think Skiles will use Moute and Ilyasova at 4 and fill in the blanks from there.
    Another factor is that Leuer and Ilyasova are simply in better playing shape right now than all of the other bigs, thanks to their Euro-stints. This is dictating rotations somewhat.

  6. Kevin

    That could be good, having a jump shooter to back up Bogut’s low post game. A Jack Sikma type? That makes Gooden third center or second or third power forward. Better to have Sanders third center and let Gooden and Ersan compete behind Luc.

  7. Kevin

    The more things change, the more they stay the same, another third quarter collapse. This is as predictable as cold weather in Milwaukee in January.
    Enough Gooden bashing, when will Ersan find the basket? It would be nice to trade them both. New Jersey went out and got Okur, Charlotte got Mullen, and the Bucks just do nothing.

  8. J.D. Mo. Post author

    The thing about Gooden is that everybody in the Bucks-o-sphere has become downright appalled by how bad he is. And I do mean everybody, whether its posters under jsonline stories, the gang on RealGM or Brewhoop, We’re Bucked and so on.

    Now that Skiles has decided Gooden is the backup center and the team is better off with the power forward position in the hands of Moute and Ilyasova, I’m more relieved than anything else. The problem with Gooden was Skiles insistence on using him wrong, and, yeah, mucking up the works. At backup center Gooden, being a big, slow guy who can rebound, is in a much better position to help the team.

    Best approach for at least a little while is to go in the other direction and give Drew a break. The editorial board may even decide to declare a Drew Gooden Day! And that’s no acorn …

  9. spellcheck williams

    1. Are harp and carp eggcorns?

    2. Thanks for the post. Gives me something to focus my viewing energy on when I watch tonight’s game. Had not paid much attention to Jackson before.

    3. But I could REALLY go for a Gooden post. Since your amazing post on his mucking up the Bucks’ pace from last November, has his play changed? Any faster? Was Skiles’ “just shoot the ball” directive ever heeded? Did that change anything?

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