After taking a look at the Bucks remaining schedule it shows one more meeting left with the Orlando Magic at home on April 13.
We can forgive them if they aren't looking forward to seeing these guys again soon.
In a game where it kind of felt like both teams were waiting for Orlando to take over, the Bucks kept it close through two and a half quarters -- they even tied it up at 52 with 10:00 to play in the third. From there on out the Magic proceeded to out score the Bucks by 16 with a workmanlike display of threes, lay ups and suffocating defense.
Whether is was Rashard Lewis (19 pts), Hedo Turkoglu (18 pts), Courtney Lee (16 pts) or a foul plagued Dwight Howard (18 pts), it seemed like the Magic always had someone hot on the offensive end. All game they were on work the ball around and get everyone their points cruise control. They came into the game knowing they would flex their shooting and defensive muscles against the lowly Bucks and in time they did. One hopes the Bucks will be able to harmonize with such simplicity in the coming years.
Coach Skiles attempted to change up the Bucks recent bad mojo by inserting Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell into the starting lineup, but no lineup changes would be able to make up for the struggles of top two scorers Richard Jefferson (5-24, 13 pts) and Charlie Villanueva (3-9, 11 pts). If the Bucks' playoff hopes were on life support before, then the priest just entered the room and he's reading them their last rights right about now.
Ramon Sessions. Sessions was aggressive in looking for his shot early. And when I say looking for his shot, I really mean looking for his shot. Sessions was not afraid to pull the trigger on the mid range jumper all game and had pretty good success with it. Looks like he's been spending his free time trying to expand his range outside of the free throw lane. Given the struggles he's had getting to the line in the last few weeks, this is a very positive development.
- Charlie Bell/Dan Gadzuric. I'll lump them together since they re-entered the starting lineup together. Their start was inauspicious: a botched pick and roll that led to a Courtney Lee lay up. Overall they both played a fairly decent game and helped keep the Bucks in it after the first quarter. Neither of them will be starting on any all-star teams any time soon, but as change of pace guys for a team that is struggling, I thought they played admirably tonight.
- Joe Alexander. For the second game in a row Hey Joe showed a lot of garbage time spunk. He caught a nice pass from Bell and finished with a thundering dunk; the likes of which we hadn't seen from him in months. Alexander continues to show flashes of why he is here. Perhaps the time has come for a more thorough game related evaluation.
- 51.3. Letting teams shoot over 50 percent in the NBA is like a death wish. The inside outside game the Magic have can be topped by few and it overwhelmed the Bucks last game, this game and will likely do the same next game. They have way too many shooters to keep track of around a force like Dwight Howard. The Bucks have been notoriously slow footed in getting back to help off penetration or double teams inside and that was exploited tonight.
- 15-8. The Magic starters had almost twice as many assists as their counterparts from Milwaukee. That is a tribute to how crisp their offense can run and how stagnate things were for the Bucks tonight. Even Sessions, who played a strong game, wasn't able to get many easy buckets for anyone with four assists. When the other team has a Dwight Howard in the lane though, it makes guys think twice on those shots inside.
- +12. Thanks to a tough effort on the offensive glass the Bucks were able to put up 12 more shots than Orlando. It's too bad not many of those extras were converted.
- Luke Ridnour. This isn't so much for what he did on the court today, but more so for him showing up. Ridnour missed last game with back spasms and met the team in Orlando. On Bucks teams of recent years a lot of guys have shut it down for less when the writing has been on the wall that the season will soon be coming to a close, so it's nice to see Luke gutting it out and doing what he can to get back on the floor. It's the little things that over time make a team worthy of playoff status.
- Redemption Song. The Bucks have a chance free themselves of the mental piracy of a losing mentality tomorrow against the Heat They've been successful against the Heat this year and on a personal level I'm just glad we can get the taste of this game out of our mouths quickly.
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He's active, he's around the ball, he never quits, every game he seems more athletic, he defends almost any position and he glows like he feels lucky to be on the court. It's hard not to feel good about him even after games like these.
- Richard Jefferson. The thing about RJ is that even when he has bad games from the field he usually offsets it by getting to the line 10 times or so. Tonight: two free throws on 24 shots. Not what the Bucks had in mind I'm sure. Orlando seemed to focus most of their defensive attack on him and he appeared willing to give in and shoot jump shots. If he's hitting net that's fine, problem was tonight all he was hitting was rim and glass. I'd count on a bounce back from him tomorrow.
Charlie Villanueva. And the Charlie V. season long road trip from hell continues. I know a lot of people struggle on the road, but this is pretty extreme. He was never able to find his groove tonight and as has become his standard operating procedure on the road he picked up some silly fouls and watched his minutes shrink.
- The Bulls. At this point we need not worry about what happened with the Bulls and/or Pistons anymore...and what can be worse than that?