Every quarter is just a sentence, and every game a paragraph in the story of every season. This one was a tragic comedy, but I don't read books with happy endings and I write about the Milwaukee Bucks -- and that suits me just fine. Through all 82 game story ledes (with links), chronologically re-live all of your favorite moments from the glorious 2010-11 season.
Take a look at the ' roster and it will take you about a tenth of a second to realize what ' crew is going to do.
On Wednesday afternoon there was ample room for optimism. The were finally getting healthy, and with the opener in New Orleans that night, it was just in time. But 72 hours later it's obvious that putting on the jersey and being ready to perform are two very different things.
Back to Milwaukee. Back to 2009-10.
With 41 of 48 precincts reporting, Scott Skiles conceded the race to Portland on election night on Tuesday in Milwaukee. But a win was never really in the cards despite promising early indicators.
This was the team we were all waiting to see. The shots were falling, the bench was alive, and there was a real sense that everything was coming together just in time.
So I guess the problem all along was... ?
Chris Paul is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.
At the end of the night, there are two types of Bucks games: Those in which Drew Gooden passes to himself off the backboard, Brandon Jennings dishes between his legs to Andew Bogut for a dunk, and Earl Boykins makes a sky hook, and those in which those three things don't happen.
Point differential is probably the best, most consistent long-term overall team indicator. And judging by that measure, the Bucks are now almost a top ten team in the NBA.
Unstoppable force 1.
Immovable object 0.
In a young season that hasn't been altogether satisfying thus far, the Bucks apparently decided Philly was the right venue for setting a new low. It may not have been the Bucks' worst performance of the season, but it did seem like their most exasperating.
If the Bucks played against the Bucks, the Bucks might not ever score. As it stands, they hardly do anyway.
The aren't getting any worse, but they're unfortunately also finding new and increasingly agonizing ways to lose. Falling short at home to an undermanned squad? Disheartening. Allowing the Cavs to come back from a double-digit deficit and win on a buzzer beater by ? I mean...come on. That's like the ultimate nightmare for any self-respecting Bucks fan. And so in keeping with the last week of Bucks basketball, that's exactly what happened.
So let's just put this out there: the 10/11 --the guys that we've seen playing actual NBA basketball games thus far--are not a good team.
The Bucks looked like a new team on Saturday night. And to some extent, they were.
Viewed as a single 48 minute block of basketball, it's difficult to categorize the ' ninth consecutive loss in Utah as anything but a disaster in virtually every respect.
Larry Sanders was a giant tonight, and his performance should command attention no matter the outcome of the game.
Andrew Bogut played like someone who has rested the past two weeks. He also shot like someone who hasn't shot a basketball in two weeks.
The Miami Heat are a better defensive team than the Bucks. LeBron Raymone James, Christopher Wesson Bosh, and Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. are three of the finest offensive players of our generation. And the Milwaukee Bucks are an historically bad offensive team.
So Scott Skiles can coach a little offense (0.3 second minimum) after all.
Andrew may not take the number one spot of SportsCenter's top plays tomorrow, but don't think for one second that his performance tonight was any less impressive than his game-winner Wednesday night.
Didn't see that one coming, eh?
Just when it looked like Milwaukee's Texas two-step was about to earn another step, Manu Ginobli nailed a fall-away jumper as time expired to save the and their (now) six-game winning streak.
Milwaukee had a real chance in the first half. And then they gave Utah second and third and fourth and tenth chances.
The and Blazers both know a thing or two about injuries. But unfortunately for the Bucks, only the Blazers seem to know how to overcome them.
As a reporter, sometimes you start writing the game story before the game actually ends. This felt like one that I could pretty safely start writing before the game started.
Blowing out the ? Undeniably sweet.
You want to win half of your road games. Not half of your home games.
For those hoping the can get back to where they were a year ago, I have good news and bad news.
First the Bucks won the varsity game in Dallas. Now they won the jayvee match.
With stars like these, who needs role players? Judging by Tuesday's night's game in Miami, the Heat seem to be doing just fine without them. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Bucks--not with the limited star power on Scott Skiles' bench at full strength, and much less so when 60% of the starting five is missing in action with assorted injuries.
Nobody hangs around like the !
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The Bucks aren't half bad. The Bucks are half bad.
The Packers may have exorcised some of their Philly demons last weekend, but Milwaukee's pro hoops team? Not this year, apparently.
Check back later for updates, unless you've erased the game from your memory by then. If that's the case, enjoy your ignorance.
You almost had to feel bad for the . Until you almost felt like the felt bad for the Wizards.
Back to back to... reality.
If you're wondering where the ' 09/10 mojo disappeared to, you could make a good case that it followed 90 miles south along I-94 last summer.
Just as you cannot fairly crown a GM based on one season, you cannot fairly lambaste a GM based on half of one season.
It wasn't a dominating performance, it wasn't a typical performance, and it was nearly disastrous. But the only thing we can say for sure about the ' first trip to Canada this season: it was a win.
The are not so bad.
Let's make it official: the are the most enjoyable basketball team to watch in Los Angeles, and as far as the are concerned, the tougher team to beat as well.
Phoenix seems to be the only city left in the United States that remains untouched by the cold, snow, and ice, but even the Valley of the Sun couldn't heat up the .
Can we go home now?
At least they aren't peaking too early.
Say that Toronto made Milwaukee look good. The point is: Milwaukee looked good.
One small step forward, one big step back.
No matter how cynical I might appear, believe me when I say that I want to like this team. In fact, there's nothing I want more than to believe the 10/11 can still turn things around yet this season.
They say it's better to be lucky than good. Not so.
This season, you want to think about something, anything, in the past or in the future. But tonight was just tonight.
The Nuggets have scored the most points in the NBA this season. And the Bucks have scored the fewest. So Denver scoring more than Milwaukee is not such a perplexing matter.
Which news first? The bad news is the won a close game. The good news is the Bucks won a close game.
The mecca of basketball was brimming with energy, but it wasn't just who looked excited to be performing on one of the game's most hallowed stages.
The Bucks played in a meaningful game tonight at a sold-out Bradley Center against their division rival.
Short story long, the Pistons were worse than the Bucks. That is not to discount the win, because Milwaukee has spent a good portion of the season not only losing to superior teams, but often simply playing worse than its opponent, and all of those many losses count.
"One of our default things offensively is to go into dribblemania." -Scott Skiles, post-game.
Better never than late. With the clock ticking on the season, that was Milwaukee's response to a playoff push this weekend.
Say what you will about the ' fading playoff hopes, but don't accuse them of rolling over.
This is not the first time this season that the have strung together back-to-back wins against Washington and Cleveland. Or even the first time they have easily beaten them in back-to-back games.
So apparently the Milwaukee Bucks want to be taken seriously again.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for the a single number summed up a long evening in Boston quite neatly.
not for that 25-2 run.
Ultimately, it just took a little longer to lose tonight.
Both teams looked like last season's versions of themselves on Friday in Milwaukee.
This was the first game of a new season, and maybe this was the second game of a new season.
Seventeen months after his 55-point game sent rookie expectations impossibly high, did finally deliver the encore everyone expected?
At the same time Derrick Rose bursted the Bradley Center with style points, the Bucks did not have any points at all.
All season we've been waiting, hoping, praying that the Bucks might finally figure out a way to win close games. And after 73 games of mental anguish, I'm officially waving the white flag on that front. I've always been a firm believer in better late than never, but at this point we're unfortunately much closer to never than late.
Consider it a case of immovable object vs. unstoppable force.
There's always next year.
Glass 31/76 empty, or glass 31/76 full?
Welcome to the dog days of the NBA calendar.
At long last, Milwaukee's playoff hopes have been put to rest. That's should be the story of the night, but we've all seen it coming from far off in the distance. Sadly, such a realization makes this victory bittersweet: the only concrete good that can come of the rest of this season is improving lottery odds.
For the second year in a row, Andrew Bogut is finishing his season watching from the sidelines.
Now if he could just drop triple-doubles against all of his former teams.
All is well that ends well.