Spurs Nip Bucks; Bucks Butcher End Of Game

The Milwaukee Bucks displayed great effort and heart by again coming back from a double digit lead to make it a game.  On Monday they were able to overcome a 20 point lead to beat the Mavericks.   Last night they came back from a 16 point to tie it in the closing seconds only to lose on a last second buzzer beater by Manu Ginobli.

I have a problem with the way the Bucks, and the common practice, of dealing with the closing seconds of a tie game when the other team has the ball.  Before I get to that props should be given to three Bucks.

Drew Gooden:  who was a man possessed last night and played with much more aggression than we have seen.

Andrew Bogut: ended up with seven blocks, three came in the closing minutes and really did a good job protecting the basket during the Bucks run to get back into the game.

Chris Douglas Roberts: give him all of John Salmons minutes and I would be fine with it.  Roberts is a scorer who excels going to the basket and finding unique ways of getting the ball into the basket.

Overall I think the Bucks are finding their form and their style.  Win with defense, limit the other teams foul shots and find a way to make enough jumpers to win.  Two very good road performances against teams that will both be in the top six in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Butchered End Of Game

I will split this into two categories, what is considered normal and how the Bucks screwed that up and my idea of how it should be handled.

Normal Way

The Bucks called a timeout with over 30 seconds left as soon as they got the rebound.  It was a bad offensive possession that ended with Brandon Jennings losing his dribble, passing to Luc Mbah a Moute and Luc forcing up a bad, contested shot at the end of the shot clock that had no chance in hell of going in.

There are several things I hated about this possession. 

  • Why is Luc on the floor for the offensive side?  Most teams will call a timeout if they get the ball back so you will likely have an opportunity to get him back on the floor.
  • Why not get your scorers on the same side of the floor?  It looked like the pick and roll play was blown up so get into a quick setup where someone other that Luc is Jennings only option.
  • Jennings should have just continued on and taken a shot.  There should just be a rule for the Bucks where if the shot clock is under five seconds he just continues towards the basket and takes a runner.  It is a better option than him picking up his dribble.

On defense the Bucks put Luc on Ginobli and allowed Ginobli to go left and hit a buzzer beater jumper.  Why allow him to go left?  Do anything you want but do not let Ginobli go left.

Different Way

I hated the Bucks strategy, and most teams strategy, in the closing seconds of a tie game on the road.  If we can agree that the home team benefits if the game is in overtime, and this only applies to road teams in a tie game, shouldn’t teams do whatever they can to win in regulation? 

If the opponent will have an opportunity to close out the game and there is enough time to get a shot yourself and that team has a solid closer(like Ginobli) I say foul instantly.  Put the guy on the line because the worst case scenario would be down 2, with the ball and a chance to win the game.  The best case scenario is the guys misses two free throws and you still have the ball and a chance to win in regulation with overtime to still fall back on.

Otherwise the worst case scenario is lose on a last second shot and you do not get a chance to win.  Best case is overtime, which on the road is still a losing proposition.

Lets use the Bucks as an example and last nights game as the setup. 

  • Foul Ginobli with 9 seconds left, he makes both.
  • Bucks get the ball, load the floor with shooters and Jennings.  Jennings drives and kicks out to a shooter who takes a shot at a three, which roughly has a 35% chance of going in.  Or nobody helps on Jennings and he gets a chance at a close two with a possibility for an And 1.

So, the worst case scenario would be a 35% chance of winning.  Whereas we have a 0% chance of winning when the other team gets the last second shot in regulation and in overtime, in the NBA, on the road, at best I would give the road team a 40% chance of winning.  When you factor in the 0% chance at the end of regulation with the best case scenario of 40% in overtime I think the foul so you control your destiny approach is the best.

I am for going a more aggressive approach than the passive “hope they don’t score” approach.  In my mind, over time the more aggressive strategy will play out as an advantage and you will win more than you lose.

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Tags: San Antonio Spurs

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