|2009/2010 NBA Playoffs - Round One|
|56-32 (36-8 home)
||49-39 (19-25 road)
|May 2, 2010|
Radio: WTMJ AM 620 TV: FSN Wisconsin/ABC
|Series: Tied 3-3|
Sevens are wild. The Bucks are one of the final nine NBA teams still playing here in May, as this is the only Game 7 of the first round.
Salmoff. John Salmons missed all four shot attempts at the rim and was blocked three times in Game 6, and that will just not suffice. Salmons is the team's best and often only hope going to the hoop, he shot 57.6 % at the in the regular season for Milwaukee, and when he can't score inside and or outside (1-4 from 16-23 feet and 0-3 on threes), well you have Game 6. (Alex)
He's a dogged player, an exhilarating talent and a competitor worth admiring, but viewed through the prism of his 55-point game from last November, Jennings' offense was massively overrated for most of his rookie year. Even if the 55-point game wasn't mentioned, observers seemed to prefer focusing on Jennings' potential rather than a season-long 37 percent clip from the field.
And once defenders learned to try and sneak over screens set for Jennings (as opposed to what Golden State's C.J. Watson did, going under, in the 55-point performance from last fall), Brandon was effectively taken out of most games. The efficient, solid-shooting night was a rarity, an occasional perk alongside his more consistent attributes (ball distribution, defense, fantastic screen-and-roll chemistry on both ends with Andrew Bogut).
So what is Skiles supposed to expect in Game 7? After a regular season of shooting poorly more often than not, Jennings has actually alternated good and bad outings in the postseason, shooting 42 percent through six games. And though he's hardly the most to blame for Milwaukee's miserable offensive output, he will have the ball in his hands the most and he's clearly the most adept at creating his own shot.
In odd-numbered games this series, Jennings is averaging 24.0 points on 48.2 % shooting compared to 14.7 points on 34.8 % shooting in even-numbered games. So I guess that's encouraging. And I think there is a tendency in a playoff series to look at how teams fared in the previous matchup, but every game is its own game, and consecutive ones rarely seem related or similar.
In the Game 6 preview, Frank wrote about how Milwaukee's offense had strangely stayed afloat since Bogut went down. I think the last game was what we all rightfully feared could happen (but hadn't) when Bogut got hurt. Lots of jumpers, lots of missed jumpers, and not a lot else. Almost seemed bound to happen, just maybe not on that scale, on that stage. (Alex)
JS: Bucks hope to take advantage of one more chance
As much as the Bucks can blame themselves for Friday's momentum-crushing defeat, you can't help but give the Hawks credit for their defense. I thought their blanket coverage on Salmons--crowding him on the perimeter, staying with him on every drive--was excellent and seemed to take him out of the game from the opening tip. Considering Salmons is not only the Bucks' main scoring option but also their best initiator of offense, slowing Salmons down is hugely disruptive to the Bucks' offensive rhythm. Via Charles Gardner, Scott Skiles is naturally focusing on what the Bucks can do better. (Frank)
"They (the Hawks) tried to stay home with some guys on the perimeter a little bit, but we still had plenty of opportunities to score," Skiles said. "During that stretch in the third where we didn't score, we had several wide-open looks and just couldn't make them.
"Right from the beginning of the game, our balance was poor and we were jerking our follow-throughs, all the signs of a 12-foot birdie putt to win the Masters and shooting it about 6 feet past."
NBA.com: Jennings a unanimous all-rookie pick
In case you missed it, Brandon Jennings as expected was named to the all-rookie first team, joining Tyreke Evans and Steph Curry as the only unanimous selections. The main headscratcher is Taj Gibson, who somehow beat out the vastly better DeJuan Blair to be the team's only non-guard. Actually, it's probably not that surprising given how high efficiency guys always seem to be ignored in favor of players who play more minutes and score more points. How else to explain Al Thornton and Jeff Green making it over Carl Landry and Thad Young in 2008 or Kevin Love not making the first team last year? (Frank)