For all intents and purposes, the Bucks playoff chase came to an end, and the Bucks went out swinging. Literally.
The bad blood between Mike Dunleavy and Tyler Hansbrough resurfaced as a physical game got out of hand in the fourth quarter. Matters got worse when Larry Sanders picked up two techs and foul personal fouls in a 53-second span, then overreacted to an exchange with Pacer players, including David West. Sanders adamantly tried to free himself from peacemakers and appeared to be swinging at West. His season is likely over.
As for Dunleavy, Mike swooped in for a fast break layup, only to take a hard body foul — which was eventually determined to be a flagrant 1 — from Leandro Barbosa. Oddly, Barbosa may be the first player in NBA history to commit a flagrant foul that ended up preventing a more flagrant foul, as Tyler Hansbrough was chugging in from behind to get his shot at Dunleavy. Luckily, Barbosa got in the way, but it still didn’t end well, as Hansbrough managed to use his fall to curl up into a ball and roll into the back of Dunleavy’s legs.
As for the actual basketball, the Bucks kept it exactly to script. Despite the shortened season, the Bucks have given us a large enough sample to know exactly how these types of games will play out. They fall behind early, make a run to even it with the bench, and then spend most of the second half trying to ignite a run that will trip a 14-point lead. Bad shots, gambling defense — all the usual culprits were present. Drew Gooden, Monta Ellis, and Brandon Jennings combined to shoot 19-for-52 from the field.
The Bucks are now a combined 0-13 against Boston, Chicago, Indiana, and Orlando, a.k.a., the legit Eastern Conference contenders not named the Heat.
They are 3.0 games behind the Philly with four games to play, but I’m fairly confident that the 0-13 mark gives a fair approximation of what could reasonably be expected of a Bucks playoff run.
Tweets of the Night:
@8pts9secs: Looks like it’s about time for Drew Gooden to get traded again. Which teams does he have left on his punch card to get a free sandwich?
@DimeAlert: There has now been a flagrant foul in all three Pacers/Bucks game this season.
@netw3rk: Larry Sanders with a fantastic YOU-BETTER-HOLD-ME-BACK.
@DrMustache: Somebody forgot to tell Larry Sanders what happened to the Cleveland mascot.
Now, I’m sad.