Milwaukee Bucks: 49 years in 49 days – 1989-90 season

PORTLAND, OR - CIRCA 1990: (Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - CIRCA 1990: (Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks had to adjust to the loss of Terry Cummings and Sidney Moncrief before the 1989-90 season, which wasn’t easy for Milwaukee.

The season: 1989-90

The record: 44-38

The postseason: 1-3, lost in first round

The story:

The Milwaukee Bucks lost two crucial contributors just before the 1980s ended during the 1989-90 NBA season. Sidney Moncrief didn’t play all year because of injuries, and Terry Cummings was traded before the season began.

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Cummings may not have the legacy in Milwaukee that Moncrief or Marques Johnson does, but he’s pretty damn close. T.C. was the best Buck for a few seasons, and a potent scorer even when Moncrief outshined him.

In exchange for Cummings, the Bucks got Alvin Robertson, Greg Anderson, and a second round pick. Anderson was a bench player who ended up bouncing around the NBA — and Italy — for several years after his one and a half Milwaukee seasons.

After the Bucks played huge in the season before, now the focus shifted to Milwaukee’s backcourt. Jay Humphries and Robertson both started 81 games for the team as the point and shooting guard, respectively.

Jack Sikma maintained his role as Milwaukee’s starting center, playing in 71 games and starting in 70 of them. That left the forward spots, for once, without any of Marques, T.C., or Junior Bridgeman to occupy any of them.

Ricky Pierce continued to lead the Bucks in scoring from the bench, pouring in 23 points per night. Unfortunately, Milwaukee couldn’t find any starters at the forward spots to produce like that.

A collection of forwards including Fred Roberts, Brad Lohaus, Jeff Grayer, and Tony Brown all started games for Milwaukee at one forward slot or another, and none of them averaged more than 11 points per game.

Paul Pressey remained on the team and played in 57 games, although he only started twice. With Humphries and Robertson handling the ball more, Pressey saw his minutes drop significantly, along with his per game averages, in what would be his last season with the Bucks.

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A combination of the loss of Moncrief and Cummings and the rotating forwards in Milwaukee helped lead to a drop in defensive efficiency, and thus in wins. The Bucks won 44 games, good enough for sixth in the East.

That meant their opponent in the first round was the Chicago Bulls. The 1990s were when Michael Jordan really began to shine. The Bulls were a year away from getting to the Finals, but His Airness was no joke.

He proved it by putting up nearly 37 points per game on Milwaukee. Scottie Pippen added 22.5 per game as well, while playing his signature lockdown defense. Robertson and Pierce combined for more than 45 points per game, which was good but not good enough considering what Jordan was doing on the other end. MJ led both teams in scoring every time the teams clashed in that round.

Next: 49 years in 49 days: 1988-89 season

The new-look Milwaukee Bucks managed to win a game, but just one in their series against the Bulls, who won out in four games.