- Tom Enlund at the JS writes that Larry Kryrstkowiak was less than thrilled with his team's effort:
"I'm not making any threats and I certainly don't want to blow anything up, but we've got to get back to good, old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes basketball and play harder," he said. "Put a focus on defense again. That has slipped.
"I don't think it's asking that much. I would think if everyone had the same taste in their mouth that I had (after the losing streak), we're going to come out fighting a little bit more so I don't have to tinker too much with the rotation."
The game was put out of reach when the Bucks went scoreless for the first four minutes of the second quarter, allowing the Warriors to stretch their lead to 38-25. Charlie Bell is in a miserable shooting slump, Bobby Simmons only found his stroke when the game was put away and Charlie Villanueva. I'm not sure what he can do with those guys since they don't have any better options on the bench. One thing that he could do is switch Simmons into the starting lineup to help space the floor a bit more. If Bogut begins commanding double teams more frequently then Mason's lack of shooting range will become more of an issue.
- On the flip side, at least our friends at Golden State of Mind are happy:
The Warriors were so much faster and quicker than the Bucks tonight. It seemed like every loose ball belonged to the Warriors. Every time the Bucks drove the lane, they were stripped. Every time the Bucks passed the ball in traffic, it got deflected. Every time the Bucks shot the ball, it was challenged. The Warriors combined for 16 steals and 6 blocks to wreak havoc on the Bucks' offense. It was as if the Warriors were playing with 8 guys and the Bucks had 4.
- Charles Gardner writes that Larry K wants to keep things a meritocracy.
"Maybe you try to massage people and coerce them into doing stuff," Krystkowiak said. "But I had a great weekend myself and said, 'What are you thinking?' If a guy isn't playing hard and isn't trying to make plays for his teammates and laying it on the line, then I'm not going to play him.
"It's not a threat to anybody. It's just simple basketball."
- We've got a blurb over at We Rite Goode on early questions and answers about the Bucks.
What off-season question has been answered so far?
After five straight wins and sitting pretty at 7-4, we were happily believing that Mike Redd had indeed become an all-around player, Mo Williams had learned to be a real PG, our bench was reliable, the defense was better, Yi Jianlian was the truth, and Larry Krystkowiak had stolen all of Scott Skiles' mojo. But now at 8-8...well, we've had to re-ask many of those questions. Still, seeing Yi up close every night you can't help but think that he is going to be a special player, even if we have to wait another year or two for him to get there.
What question should we have been asking?
Could Bogut develop into the team's defensive catalyst? It was kind of assumed going into the year that Bogut would continue to be a solid but entirely unspectacular defender, with most of his improvement coming offensively. But while he's struggled at times to get involved on the offensive end, his defense has been a revelation. He's improved his rebound rate ( 16.4 vs. 15.2), more than quadrupled his shot-blocking (2.3 bpg) and generally acquitted himself well against some of the league's best bigs. He's already exceeded his blocked shot total from last year (35) in just 16 games while recording six games with four or more blocks. In his first two seasons he accomplished that feat once. Yet despite a generally improved effort on that end, the Bucks continue to rank near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency. Can Bogut keep it up? And will his teammates step up as well?
- Gardner also reports that Bogut mentor Sinisa Markovic is heading back to Australia, though he'll probably be back in February at some point. Not surprisingly Markovic has taken note of Bogut's increased shot-blocking:
"We had a bit of a talk about it, and he understands," Markovic said. "It's easy for him to cover those kind of shots in the rotations, when the defense is there to help. He feels stronger; he feels in better shape than last year."
- Jim Paschke comments on the Bucks' rotations.
One difference did stand out in Los Angeles last night; Larry K used only 9 players. I asked him about that this morning and he said he would watch practices and habits of the players to determine if he goes with 9 or 10. He is definitely intending to tighten the rotation.
Larry also said the key tonight against a team that scores and gives up high point totals is to be patient on offense. He wants the extra pass and some patience against a Warrior team that can get opponents into a wild shoot-‘em-up.
- For more on the Clippers' win (which let's be honest is more fun to reminisce about than last night's game), check out ClipperBlog and Clips Nation.
- The Bratwurst's new campaign: more shots for Bogut.
- John Hollinger has a playoff oddsmaker based on his power rankings, which places the Bucks at a 21% chance of making the playoffs. As much as I appreciate John's work, I think I'm going to have to call BS on anything that suggests the 9-9 Wizards are 98.6% locks to make the playoffs with 64 games to go.