“It’s only preseason. It’s only preseason” were the words racing through my mind as I was listening to Ted Davis and Dennis Krause call tonight’s 100-76 thrashing that the Wolves put on Milwaukee at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This beat-down was the final preseason game which may sound like a great thing because the games will actually be on TV but it’s also bad because this team does not appear ready for regular season play. Between the below average play from the backcourt of Jennings and Ellis (rant on Ellis later) and not hauling in the key rebounds, this just looks like a team that could be in deep trouble as we start the season next Friday at the TD Bank Garden in Boston against the Celtics.
The highest paid portion and most publicised part of this team also appears to be the most troubling after the absolute horrendous play of the Jennings and Ellis duo this preseason. First off, the pair combined for 10 turnovers tonight, while only combining for 6 assists which is just awful by any measure. Jennings actually shot decently from the field (7 for 13) which is great compared to his abysmal 2 for 12 mark in the previous game against the Bobcats. He played rather well if you’re not looking at his turnovers but Monta Ellis was a much worse story that’s scarier than an horror movie that you might be watching this weekend for Halloween. The 11-million-dollar man Monta Ellis was 1 for 11 from the floor tonight and an even spookier 4 for 30 in his last nine quarters (waits for everybody to scream in terror).
Now Monta has always been more of a slasher than a straight up shooter but seeing him shoot so awfully from the field is really troubling — preseason or not. If Milwaukee has any chance in the world of making the postseason they need a solid season from Monta and that seems incomprehensible after tonight’s game but there’s a full week before the opening of the regular season so we hopefully he uses the fresh start or the Bucks could be in a whole heap of trouble.
The saving grace of the backcourt tonight was the bench performance of the combination of Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb. After bringing the Bucks back from a 20 point deficit against Charlotte, their solid performance continued as Beno shot 3 for 5 from behind the three point line and Doron Lamb flashed his mid-range expertise by shooting 5 for 8 from the field and putting up 12 points off of the bench. Doron has looked like a solid shooter in his brief time with the Bucks and could get some extended playing time if Monta continues to struggle during the season.
Perhaps he just wanted to fit in with the rest of the team but Tobias Harris had an off shooting night (3 for 9 from the field) after playing a great game against the Bobcats. He’s been rather inconsistent in the pre-season so I’m not really sure what to expect of this 20 year old player once the season starts but I’m super interested and excited to see what he can do with starting minutes in an regular season game.
Ersan had a bounce back performance tonight as he went 4/6 from the field, made both of his three point attempts and hauled in 6 rebounds after laying an egg in the Bobcats game. Besides blocking three shots, Samuel Dalembert just played a typical Dalembert game by doing nothing offensively and only grabbing three rebounds in 18 minutes which is low for a guy like Dalembert.
Perhaps they were playing half-assed because this is the last pre-season and they have a full week to wait until the start of the season but the trio of Gooden/Udoh/Sanders just had a lackluster game especially on offense by combining for a total of four points with Sanders not even scoring period. Larry blocked 3 shots in 16 minutes but committed four fouls in 16 minutes in a way that only Larry Sanders could while Ekpe brought in 5 rebounds.
All-in-all this was just a bad game without many positives besides Doron Lamb. Could this be a preview of things to come this season or perhaps teams are just sick of the preseason like every single fan out there? I honestly don’t know but there’s still a part my mind that is still optimistic for this team even after a preseason that saw the front-court core that we built up this offseason get out rebounded and an a highly paid back-court struggle for most of the games. I personally really have no clue what to expect of these group of players but you better believe I’m willing to find out starting next Friday with the opening night game against the Celtics.