Welcome back to What Actually Happened, where I chronicle the real story of the Bucks season—no bullshit, no status to gain, no narrative to push and as I explained in the first edition of this column, certainly no one to impress.
Figuring out the best way to do this column is an ongoing process, so please feel free to tell me how you feel about it and give others advice on how to stomach reading it.
Where Am I and What Is Going On?
When I was 10 years old, I went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. At some point, I jammed my middle finger into a little plastic toy because hey—I don’t know—kids love jamming things into stuff.
It was a tiny periscope in the form of a red fire hydrant that was given to children who behaved well during their discount haircuts at Cost Cutter’s some time during 1999. I remember that because since naughty children received no such fire hydrant periscopes, the toy represents the only concrete proof I have of being well behaved at least once during my childhood.
Anyway, everything was going great at my friend’s house until for some reason, my friend and host of the sleepover, Michael Pellegrin, stared at me and that toy on my finger and with a concerned look on his face said, “UHHHHH, is your finger stuck in that?”
(I swear this is a Bucks column. Plus there are Bucks memes later—but if you just skip to those you’ll feel cheap and empty inside.)
Stuck? That possibility hadn’t crossed my mind, but immediately became my biggest fear. My mind raced—“You know what? Oh, no. Ohhhh no. It’s stuck. My finger is definitely stuck.”
Things got real scary, real quick, to 10-year-old me.
After a bit of struggling, I decided I’d rather start crying in front of Michael’s parents than the group of kids at the sleepover, so I whimpered my way to the kitchen and found Michael’s dad, Mr. Pellegrin (I’m pretty sure first names didn’t exist for adults when I was 10).
Mr. Pellegrin seemed worried, but fortunately had a plan to free my digit in danger. Unfortunately, his plan was about as good as his plan for hiding his adult magazines in a place where 10-year-olds wouldn’t be able to find them.
Mr. Pellegrin’s “plan” was to put the toy in his vice and squeeze it until it broke off, which he envisioned happening without any shards of plastic mangling my hand.
It took one crack of the plastic for us to thankfully nope-out of that “plan” and summon my parents, who then took me to the hospital.
I was upset and embarrassed—and pissed off I was with my parents instead of hanging out with all the other little perverts at the Pellegrins’ house.
At the hospital, a doctor ended up having to cut that damn toy off with a cast cutter. As one half of the toy separated from the other, a nurse, brow furrowed, asked me if I could unbend my finger.
I said “uhh, yeah, I guess, why?”
“Then why didn’t you just unbend it?” she asked, I think rhetorically, as her smirk evolved into a chortle.
“What? What’s going on?” I said with tears in my eyes (okay, fine—I was a crybaby).
Well, it turns out I had been curling my top knuckle over the inner top bend in the toy the whole time.
All I ever had to do was relax—just let it go.
There was nothing wrong.
This only happened because I panicked and was so worried about a problem that didn’t exist that I created one.
Michael panicked, so I panicked—and now I was missing pizza.
And probably Mr. Pellegrin’s porn stash.
That was a tough and, to this day, unbelievably absurd, experience for 10-year-old Patrick, but I learned three valuable lessons that day:
1. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child and it doesn’t matter how hard or pathetically you’re crying—if you do something that’s hilariously stupid enough, nurses and doctors will laugh at you to your face in the emergency room.
2. Panic exponentially breeds panic. If someone tells you “I am convinced Ekpe Udoh is the zodiac killer and that he’s coming for us next” and you reply “nah, that’s crazy—everything is totally good,” you shouldn’t change your opinion just because two panicking people then say the same thing except it’s a little louder.
3. Worrying about how something could go wrong can make us miss out on enjoying what’s going right.
So, as the Bucks (I told you this was a Bucks column!) come off of their 18-game-win-streak-breaking loss to the Dallas Mavericks and prepare to take on the 24-3 Los Angeles Lakers, try not to obsess over what could go wrong or worry about problems that might not even be real.
Don’t miss out on enjoying this Pellegrin porn stash pizza party of a season because you’re too busy waiting for the other shoe to drop or lamenting infrequent losses.
This isn’t the 2015 Bucks team (nightmare fuel alert):
This also isn’t the 2018 Bucks team.
This is the even-better-yes-even-without-Malcolm-Brogdon 2019 Bucks team—the 24-4 team that has gone an insane 18-1 since we last met, is on pace for a franchise-best record (~70-win current pace) and is second in offensive rating (114.4), first in defensive rating (102.0) and first in net rating (+12.4)—the team that makes this happen:
The Bucks winning a second championship would be an amazing accomplishment that many probably thought would never happen again, but as I was reminded a few weeks ago by my 6-year-old and a trip to the hospital on his birthday, even the most improbable moments in history tend to repeat themselves:
Xs and Os and Other Letters Too
As I’m sure is a surprise to no one, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been at the center of the Bucks’ success this season. The Greek Freak is averaging 31.0 points (on super efficient .617 true shooting), 12.8 assists, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks in just 31.1 minutes per game. His 3-point shooting is growing nicely as the season progresses as well (45.5 percent in December), but he has mostly dominated by actually physically growing, as he now stands several feet above all other players:
Ballin’ Buck: Donte “The Big Ragu” DiVincenzo
Donte has really started coming into his own this season and though he has plenty to work on (shooting consistency and finishing, among other things), the Bucks’ rotations have already been benefiting from his defensive impact, endless hustle and improved passing instincts this year.
So, in honor of The Big Ragu’s continuing development, I present this pun-based meme tribute that showcases the cream city sauce man’s versatility and ability to fill whatever role is needed of him.
The Big Ra-Goofy:
The Big Ra-Gabrielle Union:
The Big Ra-Glue:
The Big Ra-Ghost:
The Big Ra-Gorbachev:
The Big Ra-Goalie:
The Big Ra-Goose:
Donte is truly a man of many talents.
Deer in the Headlights Player Spotlight: Robin Lopez
Robin’s on-court performances have been a mixed bag this year and I don’t really want to get into that.
Honestly, this is just an excuse for me to share the best screenshot I’ve seen from a Bucks broadcast this season:
Robin Lopez Mascot Altercation Tracker
2019-20 total: 2 (1 new)
Date: November 29, 2019
- Mascot: Moondog (Cavaliers)
- Instigator: Moondog—Robin tried to keep the peace by setting boundaries, but Moondog’s inflammatory actions spurred Robin laying down the law.
Date: November 6, 2019
- Mascot: Chuck the Condor (Clippers)
- Instigator: Chuck the Condor—maybe Robin was wanting to turn over a new leaf with his new team and move on from his life of violent mascot assaults, but Chuck really forced Robin’s hand when he attempted to deceive the big man and then paid the price.
Well, I think that covers everything. If you made it to the end of this column, congratulations on caring about what actually happened with the Bucks and good luck with being a masochist. Let me know what you think in the comments and I will again be sure to base whether or not my dogs get pet on your sentiments.
I’ll be back in a few weeks to set the record straight again, but until then, here is your “is he a gremlin?” Moment of Bud (credit to “Steve Novak in Six?!” from an r/MkeBucks redditor):