Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Did I read the words "8th Playoff Spot" in the paper today?

I'm Hugh Jass, and they say that today is the first day of the rest of your life. Actually, if you're the Milwaukee Bucks, yesterday was the first day of the rest of your season. And if you were the Milwaukee Bucks, you took that first step toward the potential glorious resurrection of your season and fell right on your ass.

Last night the Bucks hosted Detroit, one of the strongest teams in the East. It was their first game back after the All Star break. Michael Redd was suiting up for the first time in six weeks. There was a hopeful feeling in the air. Here's where it all turns around. It was almost like an early spring. The Bucks ended their night on the wrong side of the scoreboard with a loss by the smallest of margins.

I guess it's still winter.

In and of itself, losing on the home wood to a formidable opponent like Detroit by a single point isn't the end of the world, but tough losses like this one have been piling up for the better part of four months. With just 28 games left - the next one on the road at Indiana later tonight - the Bucks are running out of minutes to put together a productive season, which at this point, in the sunniest sunshine, has them back-dooring themselves into the final playoff spot as a sub-five hundred team. Sounds a lot like last April, eah Bucks fans.

Sure it was a tough loss, and yes it was a close game, but it's a game the Bucks needed to put in the "W" column. If you're like me, you don't want to hear about any 8th playoff spot. I want to hear about the Bucks loosing some weight. The specific weight I'm talking about can be seen on this new shirt I'll be wearing to the next home game.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Double-Digit Midget

I'm Hugh Jass, Milwaukee Bucks fan extraordinaire. One of the few bright spots for the Bucks organization this year has to be the horse-trading prowess of general manager Larry Harris. Back on January 11th, Larry traded guard Steve Blake to the Denver Nuggets for Earl Boykins, Julius Hodge and a modest sized bag of cash. The Bucks have been plagued with injuries this year. At the time of the Boykins trade, both Michael Redd and Mo Williams were showing up to the Bradley Center wearing tailored suits and Italian shoes, so the guard ranks were thinner than the Saturday paper. The Nuggets needed to move Boykins quick for a couple of reasons, the main one being to dodge the long arm of the NBA's luxury tax. The other reason had to do with their recent acquisition of "point guard" Allen Iverson - as far as I know, the Nuggets still have only one ball to play with.

Although Steve Blake has played very well in a Denver uniform, (even George Karl has warmed up to him) Earl Boykins is the best NBA'er in this trade. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 2nd, 1976, at just under 5'5" Boykins is the second shortest player in NBA history behind Muggsy Bogues. In comparison to some of the monsters that visit the Bradley Center he resembles a satellite rotating around a medium sized planet. But don't be fooled by his size. This guys gets around pesky obstacles quicker than Dick Cheney. Plus he has a much better shot and he's more fun to watch. If not for Boykins, the Bucks recent six-week long tailspin would have been much, much worse. Since coming over from the Nugs he's averaged over 15 points and 4 1/2 assists in 35+ minutes.

The general thinking is that the Bucks are just renting Boykins until the end of the year. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and is widely expected to test the market. And who can blame him. The Bucks are his 6th team since he entered the league undrafted in 1999. His game has solidified in recent years and he's going to get a multi-year deal from somebody - it's just probably not going to be the Bucks. I would love to see him stay, but it might just not be in the cards. At least for the rest of this season, this Bucks fan is going to enjoy sitting in the best seats I can find at the Bradley Center and watching Earl the Squirrel do his thing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Coughing up Another 4th Quarter lead

I'm Hugh Jass, a life-long Milwaukee Bucks fan. Here is where I air out my thoughts on my beloved Bucks. This is turning out to be a painful year over at the Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee. Do any of you Bucks fans realize how many fourth quarter leads Milwaukee has squandered during the 2006/07 season? Far too many. Granted, there's 31 games left and the East is horribly inconsistent. Anything can happen. Injuries have also been exceptionally painful this year. Pulling Redd's 27+ points off the scoreboard is certainly going to have an impact. But there is something else at work (or more accurately, not working) here.

The NBA game is one of momentum and runs. Sometimes your team just gets beat. But from where I sit at the Bradley Center (usually never the same seat twice) the problem lies more with the driver than the bus. The double-overtime loss to the Hornets last Thursday night in Oklahoma City (after blowing a 4th quarter double-digit lead) has to be labeled a low water mark for the season. Last night's late meltdown against Dallas on the home court serves to chuck yet another shovelful of dirt onto the coffin. And who do you suppose is in that coffin? Well, I'm here to tell ya Bucks fans.... it's Terry Stotts!