Welcome to “Kulning the Herd,” our weekly recap and preview of everything going on with the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. What is kulning exactly? It’s an old Scandinavian herding call/song form. Take a listen to a small sample here.
Last week, the Wisconsin Herd were in the Toronto area for the annual G-League showcase. The Herd left Ontario with a 1-1 record but Joel Bolomboy left with the honor of being named to the All-Showcase First Team.
Bolomboy played like a Bolom-man in Mississauga, averaging a very healthy double-double and making nearly three-quarters of his shots in the two games. It would not surprise me if he gets snatched up to a 10-day contract sometime in the future.
There was also some fantastic news about how the Herd are filling up their brand new arena and crafting a fun game day atmosphere.
One of the biggest takeaways is that the Herd have sold more season tickets than the three other expansion teams have combined. For an affiliate club, season ticket sales are everything. The Herd fans have had Menominee Nation Arena rocking all season and hearing this comes as no surprise. If Jabari Parker ever makes a rehab appearance, the building will be bursting at the seams.
What would a week in the G-League be like if there wasn’t a roster move?! The Milwaukee Bucks signed Marshall Plumlee to a two-way contract on Monday night.
Plumlee fills the second two-way contract slot that was once inhabited by new teammate, Joel Bolomboy. As Wisconsin Badgers fans might remember, Plumlee was on the Duke basketball team that knocked of the Badgers in the 2015 National Championship game. Plumlee made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks last season and had been puttering around with the Los Angeles Clippers’ G-League team, Agua Caliente Clippers, this year.
With a new face and an eye towards the home stretch of the season, let’s see how the Herd did in their three games this week.
Wednesday, January 17th vs. Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets)
Coming off a thrilling victory in their G-League showcase finale, the Herd dropped this one 122-109 to the Swarm, despite a fantastic fly swatter give away. The new guy, Marshall Plumlee, made his debut scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds coming off the bench. He even had this nifty little reverse layup:
Fellow two-contract guy, Xavier Munford, registered 16 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. X, usually a minutes leader, only tallied 27 minutes as 11 different players saw no fewer than 12 minutes of game time. Joel Bolomboy led the Herd in scoring with 18 and made 8/11 shots from the floor. He too registered 27 minutes of floor time as it was evident coach Brady wanted to spread the playing time around.
Friday, January 19th @ Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls)
A Friday night Central Division took place in the Chicago suburbs where the Herd fell to the Bulls, 110-100. Both two-way guys, Munford and Plumlee, were with the Bucks but that did not deter JeQuan Lewis and Bolomboy who both notched double-doubles.
Lewis finished with 17 points and 11 assists, while Bolomboy scored a team high 21 points and corralled 11 rebounds. The Herd’s go-to-guy off the bench, Cliff Alexander, did his usual damage with the 20-some-odd minutes he gets nightly. The Chicago-native registered another 20 point game and muscled his way to six rebounds.
Saturday, January 20th vs. Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls)
Unfortunately the Herd were unable to reverse course after back-to-back losses and suffered a 117-94 defeat to close out the season series against the Bulls. The sellout crowd was treated to yet another Bolomboy/Lewis double-double performance as the pair proved to have the Bulls number this weekend.
Without the services of Munford and Plumlee, Bolomboy carried the offensive load once again, leading the team with 25 points and securing 14 rebounds. Lewis scored one less point and dished out one less assist than he did on Friday night, but still shined as the back court leader. The Herd attempted only 15 three-pointers on the night and managed to convert on just five of them.
The Herd look to regroup this week with a pair of games and climb back into pole position in the Central Division. The games can be heard on 99.1FM in Oshkosh and 95.3FM in the Fox Cities and seen on Facebook Live, Twitch, and Eleven Sports. So let’s dive into this week’s upcoming Herd action.
Wednesday, January 24th vs. Erie Bayhawks (Atlanta Hawks)
This game has an odd 11:30 AM tip-off on a weekday, so I would not expect the usual raucous home crowd to be quite as raucous. The Bayhawks currently sit at 14-16, which mirrors the Herd’s 16-14 record. Wisconsin has dropped four of their last five but I think an AM tip-off is easier to overcome at home than on the road, so chalk this up as a streak snapper for the Herd.
Saturday, January 27th @ Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors)
The Herd head north to take on the defending
D-League G-League champions who have a team name that I don’t know if I dislike or am totally in love with. The Mississauga-based team are also in second place in their division (behind the Westchester Knicks). They are coached by Jerry Stackhouse who is the reigning D-League G-League Coach of the Year. I think this will get ugly pretty quickly for the Herd as they are not as complete of a team as their current record suggests.
I confidently had the Herd going 3-0 last week and, uh, yeah I will no longer be so confident. This week’s slate sets up nicely for a 1-1 outcome so I will play it safe and go with the split.
Any predictions of your own? General comments or questions about the Herd, or even the G-League? Share them in the comments below and stop by next week as we recap the games above and look forward to next week in the Herd’s inaugural season.