The act of writing a recap for a preseason game is already difficult in itself because you really can’t judge how a team will do based on a preseason performance — the Warriors are 4-1 and the Lakers are 0-4, for example. Take that and add the fact that the only way to track this game was to listen to the great Ted Davis on 1250 WSSP and you have a very difficult job. The fact that Davis is a great broadcaster makes recapping this game easier, though, because his description of what’s happening on the court will make you believe that you are watching the game from $1,000 court-side seats.
This game was played at the La Crosse Center in my future hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Memphis Grizzlies squeaked out a 97-94 victory. The main reason the Bucks lost was because Memphis had an twelve rebound advantage on Milwaukee (49-37), and the Grizzlies dominated the glass despite shelving both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who both played the previous night in Houston.
Though you really can’t take much out of preseason, you still have to be concerned that big crop of power forwards and centers that the Bucks have couldn’t match up to the likes of Mareesse Speights, Hamed Haddadi and former Bucks draft pick Jerome Jordan. You could use the excuse that John Henson was out due to injury, Ekpe Udoh was just coming back from a knee injury, but personally, I’m just a tiny bit concerned that the Grizzlies front-court bench mob outrebounded the likes of Samuel Dalembert and Larry Sanders.
I’m not saying that our front-court was godawful because it really wasn’t at all. Sanders was productive in his 23 minutes by putting up 8 points and 7 rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova was decent with 11 points in 19 minutes and Udoh had 3 blocks. So there were some high points, but it was an overall forgettable game for the front-court which is disappointing after Hammond spent so much time on it this offseason.
Drew Gooden showed why he makes Bucks fans sick to their stomach because of his average play and his new hair cut that would make Homer Simpson laugh at him like he was Nelson Muntz (just roll with me here, I’ve been watching a lot of Simpsons episodes lately). Hey Mr. Dalembert, don’t think I forgot about your two point, three rebound game, because I didn’t, big fella. Sure this could be just an off-day for these guys or this could be a sign of things to come, but I’m certainly hoping it was just an off-day.
Let’s move on. The Chosen One of the Bucks blogosphere, Tobias Harris, started out the game matching up well against the veteran Rudy Gay. But he seemed to go downhill after foolishly fouling Rudy Gay at the end of the first half as Rudy attempted a fadeaway three-point shot. I’m hoping we see more of the Tobias Harris who can roll offensively with Ellis and Jennings and not the guy who makes rookie mistakes like the 20-year-old kid he is. He certainly has a bright future ahead of him and may see some starting minutes with Luc Mbah a Moute out due to injury, so this is the opportunity that he has to prove that he can be a top performer on this team.
Mike Dunleavy shot 3-for-11, so I think it would be good for everybody if we just moved on from that.
The real stars of this game were the back-court of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, who combined to score 39 points. Monta posted 19 points in typical Monta fashion, shooting 9 for 18 from the field. Now that may not sound that great, but he was a spark plug multiple times, inciting both the La Crosse crowd and Ted Davis to cheer in appreciation. Speaking of appreciation, Jennings shot like a marksman from behind the arc, nailing five of the six three-pointers he attempted, including one that put the Bucks up with three minutes left in the game.
All-in-all this was preseason game where the final result really doesn’t matter but the problem the Bucks had on the boards lingers, especially with Randolph and Gasol out. We still have four preseason games to see if it was a one-game issue or something we really need to worry about as the regular season rolls on. In that time, I hope we can help figure out if teams really need to Fear the Deer or if we’re just another team that the more high-powered squads in this league are going to run over like a semi truck over a squirrel.
But hey, it’s only preseason so who really cares. Right?