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NBA Thursday: Don’t Overlook The Bucks
Posted By Steve Kyler On November 22, 2012 @ 9:39 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
For most of you this is a holiday and a day for taking stock of what you have and how special it is in your life. For us at HOOPSWORLD, we do much of the same with our families, but also it’s a day for us to take stock in what we have built with each of you. HOOPSWORLD is entering its 16th year and we’re always thankful and humbled for the time and interest you show in what we do. Without you, there would be no HOOPSWORLD and today is a good day for us to say “Thank You” for making us a part of your life.
Enjoy your holiday, and here are a few nuggets of NBA fodder to get you through the day.
How About Those Bucks: If the NBA Playoffs started today there would be two anomalies in the East – the Charlotte Bobcats would have home court, and so would the Milwaukee Bucks. Now most teams have 72 games left to play, so the Bucks and Bobcats are far from locks to stay where they are, but for Milwaukee the odds of them being able to make the postseason and make some noise is a little more realistic than some others.
Most pundits had written the Bucks out of the story in the Eastern Conference, pointing to the way Milwaukee stars Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings play, and looking at how dysfunctional it was at times last year. This year the Bucks have been on a tear, and both Jennings and Ellis are taking their contract years a little more seriously.
Jennings who did not get a contract extension this year has a lot to play for and says he understands why people are overlooking the Bucks.
“Just the fact that everybody doesn’t want it to work, everybody thinks it can’t work,” Jennings said to Jim Owczarski of OnMilwaukee.com. “But I think we came to an agreement that we’ll sacrifice just whatever to win.
“Me and Monta talked about that at the end of the day, everything is going to fall back on us, the good and the bad. So it’s going to be up to us to set the tone for team and leave it out there every night on the floor. We just can’t take days off.”
Last year the Bucks relied on Ellis and Jennings to carry the load every night, a burden Ellis says isn’t necessary this year.
“We don’t need to do that,” Ellis said. “We’ve got length now. We’ve got guys who we can throw the ball into who can score the basketball. We’ve got young guys who are hungry, who have talent. Me and Brandon don’t have to score 25 points or 30 points to win. We don’t have to do that anymore.
“Everybody keying in on us, everybody making it out to be Monta and Brandon. But it’s not even a scorer’s standpoint. Everybody can score on this team. Everybody. If you look at it, all of ‘em. All the big men. Small forwards. Everybody can score.”
Ellis, who is also in the final year of his contract, understands that the only way to silence the critics is to play hard and to win.
“The only thing we can do at the end of the day is go out and play hard and leave it all on the court and try to get wins,” Ellis said. “I’m not here trying to prove nobody wrong. The only thing here is to help this team win. That’s it. Proving everybody wrong really don’t matter. The only thing we can do is prove it to ourselves and this locker room.
“That’s going to be the biggest shock to the world is when we get out there and we play the defense and have those big guys back there all on the same page,” he said. “Then, we just let it speak for ourselves. We don’t have to talk. We don’t have to prove nothing wrong. The only thing we have to do is just play our game and don’t try to do too much.”
The Bucks are 6-4 on the season which has them in a four-way tie with Charlotte, Brooklyn and Atlanta, so the odds that Milwaukee stays in the fourth spot in the East is a day-to-day battle.
The Bucks have proven so far through 10 games that they are not going to lay down for anyone and that on any given night they are a tough cover.
If Ellis and Jennings can continue to play unselfishly and stay healthy, the Bucks are as good as any team in the middle of the East. Maybe playing for your next contract is a good thing for all involved.
The Averages Win Out: There are three things that experts say determine a champion… size, experience and ultimately age. Historically older teams win championships, historically teams with the most experience make the postseason and teams with formidable size are always a problem.
So with that in mind, let’s look at how the league averages out.
So far on the season we’ve had 18 winners of the HOOPSWORLD Pick-Em Game and last week was the first time a HOOPSWORLD writer got in the win column. Think you can beat us in picking winners? Week 4 of the HOOPSWORLD Pick-Em Game is open and ready for your picks. Weekly winners get an adidias HOOPSWORLD T-Shirt. The winners at the end of the season will get a chance to win an iPad. You can’t win if you don’t play, so click here and pick your winners.
Kobe Has faith In Jim Buss: Lakers executive Jim Buss doesn’t have many fans these days, mainly because it’s perceived that he was the one that walked away from Phil Jackson and opted to hire Mike D’Antoni who got his first coaching loss of the season at the hands of the Sacramento Kings.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was a guest on Jim Rome’s new show on Showtime and talked about some of the issues surrounding his team, but more importantly threw his support behind his embattled leader, who has drawn criticism from around the NBA, but also from Laker great Magic Johnson.
“I value Magic’s opinion, as we all do,” Bryant told Rome. “He’s been the face of this franchise for so many years. I mean, he’s the Laker legend. But, I can only speak from personal experience and my dealings with Jim; he’s been great with me outside of the Mike Brown hiring which I didn’t know anything about. You know everything else we have just kind of been in constant communications, constant dialogue about it.
“He’s made some incredible moves this offseason and hasn’t been afraid to pull the trigger on some trades that at first initially might raise an eyebrow but he believes in doing the right thing by the organization and so far it seems to be working.”
Rome asked Bryant if he thought it was a good idea to fire Mike brown so quickly, to which Bryant was a little more reserved in answering.
“It remains to be seen if it was the right call,” Bryant said. “I mean, the jury is still out. At the time we were obviously playing pretty bad. In this day and age the coach is going to get the brunt of the blame as it pertains to that. So it remains to be seen whether or not it was the right call. I think depending on how we play going forward, that will probably be the deciding factor.”
The Lakers have climbed out of the basement after a dreadful start to the season, although they are still outside of the top eight in the West sitting at 6-6 on the season. Admittedly, the Lakers are still without guard Steve Nash and Steve Blake and have been starting sophomore guard Darius Morris at point guard.
The Lakers next ten games feature just five teams with a record of .500 or better, so there is a window for the Lakers and Mike D’Antoni to climb into the playoff picture.
The First Flopping Fine: Brooklyn forward Reggie Evans became the first player fined for flopping. Evans was featured prominently in the league demonstration video on the subject, so it’s somewhat ironic that he was the first players actually fined.
The NBA has reviewed dozens of plays and have issued warning and fines on just five plays. The NBA is now offering video of the offense, so here is where the flopping rule stands today:
Brooklyn’s Reggie Evans Receives $5,000 Fine for Anti-Flopping Violation:
Reggie Evans of the Brooklyn Nets violated the league’s anti-flopping rules for the second time during the Nets vs. Lakers game on Nov. 20. For this violation, he has been fined $5,000. View video
Brooklyn’s Reggie Evans Receives Flopping Warning:
Reggie Evans of the Brooklyn Nets has received a warning for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule during the Nets v. Celtics game on Nov. 15. View video
Oklahoma’s Kevin Martin Receives Flopping Warning:
With 10:16 remaining in the fourth period of the Oklahoma City vs. Detroit game (Nov. 12) Kevin Martin of the Thunder commits a physical act that was a flop under the League’s rule on flopping. He has received a warning in regards to this violation of the League’s rule on Flopping. View video
Minnesota’s Barea Receives Flopping Warning
With 10.04 remaining in the fourth period of the Minnesota vs. Sacramento game JJ Barea of the Timberwolves committed a physical act that was a flop under the League’s rule on Flopping. He has received a warning in regards to this violation of the League’s rule on Flopping. View video
Cleveland’s Sloan Receives Flopping Warning
With 5.58 remaining in the fourth period of Cleveland’s game vs. Chicago, Donald Sloan of the Cavaliers committed a physical act that was a flop under the League’s rule on Flopping. He has received a warning in regards to this violation. View video
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