Upon being ejected with 2:07 to play in the Bucks’ 98-79 blowout of the Lakers in L.A. Tuesday, Kobe Bryant issued the following statement:
Because there was nobody else but the Bucks Earl Boykins in the general vicinity (90 degrees to the left) toward which Kobe hurled his only post-game statement, it is believed that the statement was aimed at Boykins. What did the 5′-5″, 135-lbs Boykins say to elicit such a succinct post-game analysis from the Lakers star?
Boykins led all scorers in the game with 22 pts, shooting 4 of 5 from 3-point-land. That’s saying plenty.
The Bucks (11-16) get set for the 3rd and final game of their pre-Xmas West Coast trip tonight in Sacramento against Tyreke Evans and the Kings (5-21), the team worst record in the NBA. With the Bucks trying to hang in there while Brandon Jennings recuperates from foot surgery, the Bucks cannot afford a let down or a loss, considering what the mean ol’ NBA schedule makers have in store for the Bucks over the next three weeks.
They Bucks have played the toughest schedule in the league this season, yet it gets even tougher between X-Mas and Jan. 12 — two games against the Heat and the Hawks; one each against the Bulls, Magic, Spurs and Mavs. The Kings and Nets are the only bottom-feeders in the upcoming 10 games, both on the road.
The Bucks in this 10-game stretch need to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, a problem in November when nearly every Buck not named Brandon Jennings was dealing with an injury of one sort or another, physical or mental. If they don’t, what they do head-to-head against the Bulls and Hawks may not matter.
The KINGS: Rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins lost his starting job earlier this week when he pissed off coach Paul Westphal … etc. Does anybody really care? We’re talking about the 5-win Kings … and Cousins will at least play. Bogut should dominate in this game and … wait — who’s that on the Kings roster? It’s none other than Bogut’s old nemesis from Philly, long-armed center Sam Dalembert. Bogut has had some of the worst games of his career against Dalembert, worse (though not recently) even than the Monday night embarrassment in Portland. The injury report says Sam’s in, and Westphal would be a fool not treat the Sac fans to Bogut vs. Dalembert.
Another player of interest is Donte Green, starting at small forward for the Kings. At least Green ought to be starting at the three — he’s got one of the worst rebounding averages I’ve seen for a guy who goes almost 6’10”. The Bucks took a good look at Donte before the 2008 draft, working him out with their top 2 choices, forwards Joe Alexander and Anthony Randolph. Green wasn’t considered a lottery pick by anybody in 2008 (and neither was Alexander until the Bucks decided he was) mainly because, like White Thunder, Green was a ‘tweener — a lot of leaping ability but not rugged enough to play power forward or skilled enough to play the wing.
Teams basically had the same questions to varying degrees about Alexander, Green and Randolph, with the Bucks choosing Alexander because he was a lot stronger than Green or Randolph, which seemed to offer the possibility that Alexander could play some power forward. Looks and strength tests can be deceiving, John Hammond. For 2008 draft hindsight’s sake, it’ll be interesting to see how well Green has developed with the Kings.
And there’s Darnell Jackson to check in with, too. The Bucks picked Jackson up off waivers from the Cavs late last season, played him in one game and left him off the 12-man playoff roster. Hammond didn’t offer Jackson a contract in the offseason, traded Jackson and the Bucks 2011 2nd-round pick for big forward Jon Brockman. Then Hammond opted to use the Bucks MLE on free agent big forward Drew Gooden — a signing that’s shaping up to be a sore spot for Hammond for, well, as long as it takes to figure out how to use the good in Gooden’s game or find a team willing to take his five-year contract. Jackson is the Kings starting power forward. Brockman’s had his moments — but those have been few and far between.