Given the relative dearth of decent college basketball on TV this week, D3 and I took the opportunity to head over to the Bradley Center and watch the Bucks take on the defending NBA champs last night. What ensued was a pretty damn entertaining basketball game. Too bad Kobe Bryant had to go and do what he do, and hit a 16 foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer and sent the majority of the (allegedly) 16,000 fans home bummin'. Here is my take on some of what we saw:
-Being that the vast majority of my basketball viewing is of the collegiate variety, I sometimes forget how damn good the pros are. There were so many times that we saw a shot go up and and said "what the hell!" And when it went in we remembered that we we're dealing with professionals here, and the definition of "good shot" is a little more loosely defined on this level.
-A large percentage of our "what the hell" and "NO DON'T SHOOT THAT" comments were directed at Ersan Ilyasova. That crazy Turk loves his jumper, and he was not bashful about letting them fly. We were fairly sure that he needed to STOP SHOOTING!!! But he clearly didn't give a shit what we thought and kept right on shootin'. And to his credit he hit all 4 of his shots, some big shots, in the 4th quarter and overtime, en route to a career high 24 points.
-The only thing Ilyasova didn't hit in the game's final periods were his damn free throws. He missed two with under a minute to play in OT that would have put the Bucks up 108-102, and probably would've been enough to seal the deal. He wasn't alone in crucial FT missing, Bogut missed one that would have put the Bucks up 1 with 20 seconds to go in regulation.
-Making Ersan's FT misses even more critical was the fact that Kobe got the ball right after, went to the other end and did his superstar thing. Which, in the NBA, is code for got a foul call that no one in the building saw except the guys with the whistles. On a call that SBTG described in a text as "horseshit!!!", Kobe spun in the lane and barreled into Bogut while flipping up a shot. It looked like one of two things could've been called, either it was a charge on Kobe or a travel. Instead, the superstar (who had been quite irritated at a few no-calls on previous trips) got the call, count the bucket, and one. Fucking NBA man.
-Someone woke up Michael Redd for this one. He played 36 minutes off the bench and had a team high 25 points. But in typical Michael Redd fashion, he felt the need to go 1 on 5 when the Bucks really needed a bucket: including right after Kobe's 3-point play in OT. He pulled up from 3 and predictably missed, giving Kobe the ball with 5 seconds left, and a 1 point deficit. At which point, D3 said "Well, ready for the Kobe dagger?" I was. During the game's final minute it was Kobe Bryant - 7 Milwaukee Bucks - 0. There was no doubt he was hitting that shot.
-In other Redd news, all the recent leg injuries must've given him a lot of time to sculpt his guns. That dude's arms are looking buff. And it was funny that he seemed to be attempting to show them off in every big screen promo he was in. Weird.
-This marked my first opportunity to see Young Money, Brandon Jennnings in person and he wasn't really at his best. He had a quiet 11 point, 7 assist night. He only shot 4-11 and seemed to be a little to eager to shoot 3s for mine or Scott Skiles' taste. He was replaced by Ridnour, who had the hotter hand, for most of the 4th quarter and OT. Meh, rookies, it happens.
-There are still some things about the NBA game that just kind of irk me. I don't know if it's this way in all NBA cities, but I suspect it is. The pumped up music during play is one of the big ones for me. I don't get nearly as annoyed by all the little songs and clappers that are played during the game as D3 does, but playing blaring music while the home team has the ball in critical situations is where I draw the line. Twice the Bucks called timeouts late in the game to draw up plays in big situations. The sound man busts out Crazy Train, or something of the sort, to get the crowd fired up. Pretty standard really. But they don't cut it, or even turn it down, once play begins, so the home team is forced to run this play that they just used a TO to draw up, with Ozzy cranked to 11 in their ears. I hope that play runs exactly how they drew it up, because there is no possibility for verbal communication in the event it doesn't.
-I still like the Bucks. I know the majority of the patrons of the blog, and residents of this city for that matter, pretty much don't give two shits about the Bucks, but I still do. It's a fun time when they're decent. Seeing a semi-packed house, and a crowd that was pretty fired up last night, I remembered what it was like when they were actually good. I really hope they can find some success here in the next few years, because it would definitely suck to not have them around.