Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Winks ·
First of all, as weird as it initially was to see both the Knicks and the Bucks wearing their dark uniforms on Wednesday night, I actually really liked it. Now that I got the pleasantries out of the way, I have to be honest and say that the Bucks really blew their chances against a new-look New York Knicks team. The stories nationwide will talk about Carmelo, Carmelo, Carmelo, but back home in Wisconsin we all realize that this was a game that was ready for the Bucks taking. Despite a nice effort from Carmelo, the Knicks really didn't play all that spectacular. This is a game that the Bucks of last year would have won easily, but there's a huge difference between this year and last year. This year, we're just not very good.
There were a few lead changes early, but for the most part the Bucks were playing catchup all game long. The Knicks actually had more turnovers than the Bucks did, but to this viewer it seemed like everytime the Bucks did turn the ball over the Knicks put it in the basket withing the next three seconds. Fastbreak points killed the Bucks tonight, and the Knicks clearly fed off of a raucous Madison Square Garden. Again, Carmelo Anthony is the hero with his 27 points and ten rebounds, but Bucks fans across the state will go to bed on Wednesday night knowing that we left a pretty winnable game on the floor of MSG. In the end though, the Knicks got the victory, winning 114-108.
In his Bucks post written on Wednesday morning, our very own Gweeds said that in order for this Bucks team to make the playoffs, he thinks they need to earn a record of at least 17-9 in their final 26 contests. After this loss against New York, they would now need to go 17-8. Let's take a look at the Bucks remaining 25 games and see, realistically but with a slash of optimism, how this Bucks team is going to do down the stretch.
Feb 26 - vs. Chicago - L
Mar 1 - vs. Detroit - W
Mar 4 - vs. Phoenix - W
Mar 6 - vs. Boston - L
Mar 8 - at Washington - W
Mar 9 - vs. Cleveland - W
Mar 12 - vs. Philadelphia - W
Mar 13 - at Boston - L
Mar 15 - at Atlanta - L
Mar 16 - vs. Orlando - L
Mar 18 - vs. New Jersey - W
Mar 20 - vs. New York - L
Mar 23 - vs. Sacramente (Arrested Development reference anyone?) - W
Mar 25 - at New York - W
Mar 26 - vs. Chicago - L
Mar 28 - at Charlotte - L
Mar 30 - at Toronto - W
Apr 1 - at Indiana - W
Apr 2 - vs. Philadelphia - W
Apr 5 - at Orlando - L
Apr 6 - at Miami - L
Apr 8 - at Detroit - W
Apr 9 - vs. Cleveland - W
Apr 11 - vs. Toronto - W
Apr 13 - at Oklahoma City - L
So I have that at 14-11, and that's thinking optimistic. That record would put us at 36-46, which there's no way that would get us into the playoffs, right? Even if we did by Gweedo's standards, we'd still only be 39-43. Granted, I have us winning against some of the teams we are competing against for that 8th seed (Philadelphia and Indiana) but who knows what they'll do the rest of the way. I think we can agree on one thing, a playoff birth is going to be an uphill climb.
There are people that will read this and say, "that's a lot of work and optimism for nothing but the eighth seed of the Eastern conference playoffs, in which they are sure to be swept anyway in the first round". I get your point there. But I don't think John Hammond and Scott Skiles are in a mindset where they want lottery picks year in and year out. This team needs playoff births, no matter how bad the draw. You don't get better until you start getting a taste of success, and I think this team needs a playoff birth or it's going to be another couple of years before we get back again. Keep in mind, this Bucks team was being projected as high as a four seed before this season began, so the fact we're even having this conversation right now is disheartening.
Ultimately, I think this team is going to fall short of their goal, and it'll be another frustrating finish to the team that plays on 4th and State. I hope they prove me wrong, but games like Wednesday are just more evidence that they won't. So have fun the rest of the season, Bucks fans, and may we all be at the mercy of the ping pong balls come June.
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