Once again, some misguided devotion to Saturday night primetime programming means no watching basketball for me. Also, I was treated to a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant up near the Wisconsin State Capitol, and who's gonna turn that down? Half of it is sitting in my fridge. Mmmmmm.
Still, thanks to our devoted readers and commenters I've got a great game thread to look back on. Eventually the games do start to matter, at which point television stations nationwide will decide they are worth covering, and then my couch will begin developing a deep indentation and likely a pizza-grease stain or two.
Regarding the title: ESPN's box score didn't appear to be accurate (the final score was not 66-58), so I clicked over to NBA.com to check theirs. According to them, Jon Brockman didn't play due to a broken ankle! This immediately warranted frantic Google News searching, but such efforts returned primarily hamburger-related stories. Finally I was enlightened by the Journal-Sentinal that the Brockness Monster merely suffered a sprained ankle yesterday, thus requiring Skinner's insertion into the starting lineup.
Some more points from tonight's game in Green Bay, this time a little less stat-oriented:
- The issue of chemistry has been brought up by the Brewhoop community and seems to be bringing about a sense of urgency among fans. It's difficult to know what kind of effect all these injuries could be having on the Bucks. Obviously the key players aren't able to practice in a real game setting when they're all stuck on the bench, but practice does go a long way toward developing relationships between teammates. And even if the physical part of practice isn't really there right now, just being together for team activities is helpful. Still, I share the concern that if the starting lineup on opening night is playing together for essentially the first time, there are likely to be some issues.
- After three games of Skiles' rotation-wrangling, it remains to be seen what role many bench players will serve. Obviously certain guys' skill sets define how they'll be used, but so far Milwaukee's coaching staff has been focusing on giving lots of players the chance to show their stuff. One game after playing 40 minutes, Mbah a Moute earned only 16 tonight. Larry Sanders also played significantly less tonight after his volume-shooting display in Detroit. I suppose that's what the preseason is for, but coming back to the chemistry issue, let's hope things start coming together soon so the Bucks can get a feel for how each game will flow.
- Drew Gooden has been a model of consistency so far, just not in all the ways Milwaukee may have hoped. Gooden has averaged about 14 points so far, but under 5 rebounds. He had a good night in Green Bay, pulling down 9 boards (2 offensive), but from the comments I've seen and heard he sounded almost disinterested in grabbing misses in the previous games. Gooden's been around a while and the preseason might be a bit of a drain for him, but rebounding is a big part of why the Bucks offered him a generous contract. Crash 'em, Drew! And in the meantime, keep hitting those baseline jumpers!
- This was not a shooter's night. Milwaukee shot 37.3% and won, thanks largely in part to a 7-to-1 advantage in three pointers. Of course, it's probably something we should have seen coming, considering Milwaukee fielded a team of backups, Charlotte fielded a starting point guard named D.J. Augustin, and Milwaukee and Charlotte ranked 9th and 6th in opponent FG% last year, respectively. Expect a similar game to be played when the Bucks welcome the Bobcats to Milwaukee in their home opener October 30th.
The Bucks are off until Thursday when they head to the District to take on John Wall and the Wizards. The Jennings-Wall matchup has some potential to be a real fireworks show, and NBATV took notice, picking up the game for broadcast. Show that rookie what's what, gentlemen!