After falling as far as seven games below .500 earlier this season, Milwaukee (28-28) has finally caught up to their elusive break even point with last nights 115-95 win against the New Orleans Hornets (30-28).
Center Andrew Bogut recorded his 27th double-double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds. At present Milwaukee finds itself as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind Chicago for the 6th seed and 3 games behind Toronto for the 5th seed.
So going forward, Miami, Toronto, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Charlotte all are within four games of each other for the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th spot in the NBA (Eastern Conference) post season.
Milwaukee has positioned them selves to be in the thick of it, at least for a while. When I did my Bucks mid season report card, they were two games in to the way they are playing now. I mentioned it then saying the Bucks are going to get on a roll here, and they did.
They have gone 10-3 over their most recent 13 games stretch, including winning four in a row on the road. A victory tonight against the host Pacers would put Milwaukee up above .500 for the first time since December.
Besides the All Star snubbed Bogut, the Bucks have relied on Luc Mbah A Moute, Carlos Delfino, Jerry Stackhouse, Luke Ridnour, Charlie Bell, Ersan Ilyasova, and Kurt Thomas, in addition to the Bucks new found backcourt of Brandon Jennings and John Salmons.
With the acquisition of Salmons and the subtraction of PF Hakim Warrick, Milwaukee has added a very good set of hands (Salmons) in to the rotation and have taken out a very bad set of hands (Warrick) out of the rotation. As a result, the Bucks are playing even faster and getting even better shots.
Offensively they are clicking. Defensively they will fight for almost forty three minutes a game and growing. Don’t look now but the Milwaukee Bucks look NBA organized, There is a lot of basketball yet to be played, but important basketball is the biggest difference this time of year.
It’s all been a dress rehearsal up until now. Now, for players like Ersan and especially Jennings, it’s time to put what you have learned into practice, and see how many games you can win in a shortened college schedule. The work Jennings has done at the PG position is phenomenal. His numbers may be dropping but he leads this team when he is out there.
He has blended in, defers to team mates, yet still plays with an edge and will take and hit the big shot. This kid is a gamer, and the job Skiles and staff has done with him has flown under the radar. Jennings is all about team. He has his team in the playoff hunt, playing important games every night. A team he has started for every game while playing 33 minutes a night, leading his team in scoring and sharing the ball so his team mates stay involved.
He and Bogut have improved by leaps and bounds their playing together chemistry.
Everyone else is just continuing to play together, share the ball, work when on the court, play smart, play tough, and see what happens.
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