Wait a second. Is it fun to be a Bucks fan again? Or is this just a mirage?
I ask that because the feelings I had during Wednesday’s night game against the Bulls were very similar to when I was a whipper-snapper watching the Bucks back in the early 2000s. During that Bulls game I felt a legitimate spark and excitement that I really haven’t had for quite a while. Sure there have been some exciting games and in the past and of course this season but this game in particular felt special.
It sort of had that “start of a new era” feel to it which makes sense because we’re just entering the Jim Boylan era but the players on the court are still those same players that we love to rip our hair out over.
The first thing that Jim Boylan said when he took over the head coaching job was that he would have fun with the job. Little did he know that the players and fans would be having even more fun. Whether it’ll be Jennings nailing ten three pointers in the last two games, the continued resurgence of Ersan Ilyasova or Larry Sanders being Larry Sanders.
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, LARRY SANDERS!
Pistons: Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe
The Milwaukee Bucks (18-16) will be hoping to keep this little run going against their division rival Detroit Pistons (13-23) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The lottery-bound Pistons will be going to Milwaukee after an embarrassing defeat at home against the Bobcats but they do have a slight advantage over the Bucks after defeating them 96-94 on December 30th. During that last game it really did appear that the Bucks were just playing on stand-by aside from brilliant performances by Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova.
Of course since that loss, the Bucks have a new “let’s just have fun and see what happens” attitude. It is still a work in progress, but it should bring out an exciting brand of basketball. While the Piston on the other hand are coached by Lawrence Frank who I can swear looks more and more like Scott Skiles, Jr. every time I see him. The Pistons are a team filled with young players (minus Maggette and Prince) who are still really trying to discover their true identity.
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The true leader of this Pistons team though is former Georgetown center Greg Monroe — a fringe All-Star player who is still a very solid player on offense (15.3 PPG with a .518 True Shooting %) and on the boards by averaging 10 RPG. Monroe will be a real test for Sanders because he is such a good all-around player, but also because he held Larry to four points and only three rebounds in that December 30th matchup.
Jason Maxiell is the starter, but Skiles’ doppleganger Frank is slowly phrasing Maxiell out for the younger Andre Drummond. The former #2 overall pick in last year’s draft is slowly making a name for himself as an elite rebounder (13.2 rebounds per 36 minutes) but he’s still flawed on the offensive side of the ball. Yes he almost has a .600 FG%, but does that really matter when a head coach like Jim Boylan can just foul him because of how ridiculously bad Drummond is at the free throw line? Dwight Howard gets a lot of flack for how bad he is at the line but Drummond is historicaly bad from the charity stripe this year: shooting below .400% from the line. With that said though, Drummond is still a physical player who could make an impact in this game.
My match-up of this game is the point guard battle between Brandon Knight and Brandon Jennings. Now I’m not saying this because Brandon Knight is a good player even though he is, I’m just interested in seeing these two players because they’re so similar. All you have to do is compare their stats and you can see that they’re basically identical in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and basic stats like assists and steals. Just seeing those two on the court battling and trying to outdo one another will be a thrill to watch because they’re evenly matched players.