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All-Time Tournament: Day 1

Deer were feared and an underrated team from the late-80s steamrolled its way into the Round of 32.


We have our first trio of games completed in the All-Time Tournament and the action was hot, hot, hot! We saw teams from four different decades battle it out in the Play-in Round and three teams got one step closer to being crowned “The Best Bucks Team of All-Time.”

Let’s recap the action!

Game 1

The tournament’s tip-off game featured the 2001/02 Bucks taking on the 1976/77 Bucks. The 01/02 team was coming off the high of being one victory away from advancing to the NBA Finals and were led by the same cast of characters. Ray Allen (21.8/4.5/3.9) knocked down nearly 44 percent of his threes in another All-Star season, Glenn Robinson (20.7/6.2/2.5) was entering his eighth season with the Bucks, which would end up being his last, and 32 year old Sam Cassell (19.7/4.2/6.7) was chugging along in George Karl’s system. The Bucks got off to a great start, but faded down the stretch and disappointingly missed out on the playoffs with a 41-41 record.

As for the 76/77 team, they were heading into their third season since losing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Notable players from this squad include a second year Junior Bridgeman, who started every game, (14.4 PPG/5.1 RPG/2.5 APG), a third year Brian Winters (19.3/3.0/4.3), and veteran Bob Dandridge(20.8/6.3/3.8) entering his eighth NBA season. This team would finish the year 30-52 and mark the third straight sub-.500 season for the Bucks.

So who won this match-up of teams 25 years apart?

The 2001/02 Bucks blew through the 1976/77 Bucks like the players were actually 25 years apart. Ray Allen led the way with 31 points on 4/7 shooting from three-point range. Sam Cassell had himself a day at the point guard poistion scoring 20 points, snagging nine rebounds, and dishing out eight assists. Bob Dandridge and Brian Winters carried the load for their team, as the two combined for 41 points, 21 for Dandridge and 20 for Winters respectively. The 01/02 Bucks have moved onto the Round of 32 where they face the top overall seed, the 1970/71 Bucks.

Game 2

Our second game of the day featured teams much closer to each other in the history books. Though they are just two season apart, the 2007/08 and 2009/10 teams had very different outcomes.

The 07/08 team was led by Michael Redd (22.7/4.3/3.4) who could only convert on 36.2 percent of his three-point attempts. The 26-56 season was also the rookie year for first round pick, Yi Jianlian, as he joined Andrew Bogut in the front court. They are the lowest seeded team from the aughts here at the All-Time Tournament.

The 09/10 team surprised everyone with a 46-36 record and helped bring about the “Fear the Deer” branding that has had a lasting impact on the franchise. Rookie Brandon Jennings (15.5/3.4/5.7) had taken the league by storm in the opening stretch of the season by dropping a Bucks rookie record 55 points on the Golden State Warriors. Bogut (15.9/10.2/1.8) was looking like the paint presence that his first overall selection had promised he would become.

Which rookie would got the better of the other: Jianlian or Jennings?

In a game that was closer than the experts expected, the “Fear the Deer” 2009/10 Bucks held off a furious second half rally from the 2007/08 squad. Andrew Bogut dominated the post in this game, recording 16 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots, the Aussie was everywhere for the 09/10 team. Rookie Brandon Jennings finished with a team-high 17 points and shot a blistering 4/5 from beyond the arc. The 07/08 team was led by Michael Redd who finished with a game-high 24 points and shot 4/8 from three-point range. Who will be fearing the deer in the upcoming Round of 32? Well, we have to see who won the final game of Day 1.

Game 3

The third and final game of the tournament’s opening day pit the 1993/94 and 1988/89 iterations against one another. The 93/94 team are the lowest rated 90s team here and this happened to be former assistant coach, and current front office member, Vin Baker’s (13.5/7.6/2.0) rookie season. The team was led by Erick Murdock (15.3/3.2/6.7) who averaged 41 percent from beyond the arc, albeit on just two three-point attempts per game. This squad went on to go 20-62 where a late season win over the Detroit Pistons kept them from being the first Bucks team to not win at least 20 games.

The 88/89 Bucks would continue the playoff legacy of the earlier 80s teams and nearly pulled off 50 wins themselves. They finished 49-33, but just fourth in the Central Division (talk about a stacked division). These late-80s Bucks were led by seventh year players, Terry Cummings (22.9/8.1/2.5) and Ricky “Big Paper Daddy” Pierce (17.6/2.6/2.1). A fun roster note for this team: rookie Tito Horford (1.7/0.9/0.1) made his NBA debut. Yes, Al Horford’s dad is a former Buck.

Could the third lowest seed in the tournament pull off the upset?

No they could not. The 1988/89 Bucks turned this one into a foregone conclusion by halftime. Terry Cummings and Jack Sikma both recorded double-doubles. Cummings finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Sikma ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Frank Brickowski (strong, Milwaukee name) was the leading scorer for the 93/94 squad, as he finished with 17 points and six rebounds. The Round of 32 will see the 17th seeded 88/89 Bucks take on the 16th seeded 09/10 Bucks.

Here is the updated portion of the bracket after Day 1:

Looking Ahead to Day 2

Games 4-6 feature a heavy dose of post-Y2K squads and we finally get our first Giannis Antetkounmpo tournament appearance, unfortunately it will probably be a short appearance for this specific Giannis. Here is how this part of the bracket looks:

Game 4

The fourth game of the tournament will see the 1996/97 and the 2002/03 teams battle it out in the Play-in Round. The 96/97 squad featured a rookie Ray Allen (13.4/4.0/2.6) who shot 39.3 percent from three-point range, as well as a third year Glenn Robinson (21.1/6.3/3.1). Although they started the season 5-1, these Bucks finished 33-49, but more importantly, two-thirds of a formidable core had been formed.

The 02/03 team was reeling from the disappointing 01/02 campaign. Prime-aged Ray Allen (21.3/4.6/3.5) shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc, but was traded to the Seattle Supersonics (along with Ronald “Flip” Murray and Kevin Ollie) for 34 year old Gary Payton and 25 year old Desmond Mason. That trade is what this team will be most remembered for even though they finished the season in the playoffs with a 42-40 record.

Which Ray Allen leads his team to victory: Rookie Ray or Prime Ray?


Game 4

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (40) 1996/97
    (16 votes)
  • 69%
    (25) 2002/03
    (37 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now

Game 5

The second game on the second day of the tournament pits the 2015/16 squad against the 2011/12 squad. The 15/16 Bucks featured a trio of baby-faced contributors. Third-year Giannis Antetokounmpo (16.9/7.7/4.3) and fourth-year Khris Middleton (18.2/3.8/4.2) were the leading men, especially so for Middleton as he converted on 39.6 percent of his threes. Second-year Jabari Parker (14.1/5.2/1.7) returned after missing a majority of his rookie season with an ACL tear. The young core posted a 33-49 record, but showed some flashes of hope.

In a strike shortened season, the 11/12 team continued to not be able to capitalize off the 09/10 playoff run. Brandon Jennings (19.1/3.4/5.5) and Ersan Ilyasova (13.0/8.8/1.2) were the young contributors that almost managed to get these Bucks over the .500 mark, but ultimately finished with a 31-35 record.

Which team of early-20s contributors will eke out a victory?


Game 5

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    (41) 2015/16
    (39 votes)
  • 37%
    (24) 2011/12
    (23 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

Game 6

The third and final game of Day 2 will showcase the 2008/09 and 2003/04 teams. The 08/09 season was Scott Skiles’ first as head coach and he did not have much to work with. Richard Jefferson (19.6/4.6/2.4) and Charlie Villaneuva (16.2/6.7/1.8) carried the team to a 34-48 record. This was also Joe Alexander’s (4.7/1.9/0.7) rookie year, in case you forgot.

The 03/04 team had plenty of young talent on the roster, but could only manage a 41-41 record and a first round playoff exit. Michael Redd (21.7/5.0/2.3) earned his only career All-Star appearance this season and rookie TJ Ford, baggy shorts and all, made his NBA debut. Desmond Mason (14.4/4.4/1.9) proved to be a solid contributor off the bench as he played in all 82 games.

So, can the rag tag 08/09 team topple Redd’s All-Star season?


Game 6

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    (36) 2008/09
    (7 votes)
  • 87%
    (29) 2003/04
    (50 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now