Winter nights are cold in Milwaukee. Yahoo! says it is 28 degrees out right now, I'd say it's closer to 10, probably because I endured the long miserable loser walk to the car after the Bucks game. It may be March 3rd but it feels like the depths of a long winter after a crushing loss for the Bucks.
This was a game they had in hand multiple times, yet let slip away time and time again.
Again the three-point shot was a harrowing enemy of Milwaukee's. In a crucial run in the final stanza the Nets sandwiched three long range bombs around a Devin Harris lay-up. Time and time again the Bucks inability to successfully defend the pick and roll stood out like a sore thumb as the Nets exploited it to find open shooters planted in the corners. How long have Ryan Anderson and Jarvis Hayes been so lights out? Is Ryan Anderson always this good? I just checked his stats and he plays less than 20 minutes a night and shoots under 40 percent. How did he turn into Nowitzki tonight?
As I was coming home from the game I turned on the radio to the post game show.
I heard callers lambaste the Bucks inability to play fundamental basketball, claim they would never attend another NBA game, sing the praises of college and its terrific fundamentals (isn't that what WNBA fans say?), and pound the play of Luke Ridnour as the sole transgression that costs the Bucks the game.
Ridnour is not better than Sessions and shouldn't be starting. But Scott Skiles appears to realize that. He played about 20 minutes and was rarely in the back court with Sessions. I liked that move. I think the Bucks are a better team when Sessions is running the show with Bogans or Bell beside him. The problem tonight was that Bogans and Bell weren't playing well.
This was indeed a sloppy game but it was as hard fought a competition as I had seen in a while. The Bradley Center was disappointingly empty --I'd imagine due to high school games and UWM's tournament game -- but lively with the fans that made it.
This loss had little to do with poor fundamental basketball.
(Although at the start of the fourth quarter some lazy passes and mental lapses allowed the Nets to surge to a lead. The Bucks recovered and were up eight before the three-point Harris sandwich.)
Ultimately the team with more talent will usually win the game and the Nets simply had more talent tonight than the Bucks. Ryan Anderson, Jarvis Hayes, Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez were all former first round picks for a reason. They hit the shots that mattered in the fourth and the Bucks could not seal the deal. Despite rants from callers gone wild, there is still time to recover. Unfortunately this blow certainly sets the Bucks back and has me turning up my heater tonight.