05. Bench Bombers: The view from Milwaukee

Timlogo-be_mediumSnips and clips from the Milwaukee camp, plus:

  • What Have We Learned So Far?
  • Election Night Mutterings
  • Haiku Game Review
  • Fried Rice
  • Blazers/Bucks Recap
  • Popcorn Machine + TBJ



Matthews, Trail Blazers beat Bucks

By Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bucks Blog

This is how bad it was for the Bucks in the second half against Portland Tuesday night at the Bradley Center.

With 6:38 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bucks' deficit climbing to 18 points, coach Scott Skiles removed all five starters and inserted five reserves. * * *

Former Marquette University star Wesley Matthews had 18 points and guard Brandon Roy added 17 for Portland, which bounced back from a 110-98 loss in Chicago on Monday night.

Six Portland players scored in double figures, including forward LaMarcus Aldridge with 14 points and forward Dante Cunningham and guard Andre Miller with 12 each. * * *



Loss to Blazers Leaves Bucks 1-3, Searching for Fixes

By Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Sentinel Journal

* * *
Portland, playing its fourth straight road game, was led by former Marquette University star Wesley Matthews, who scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the first half in leading a comeback that put Portland ahead by two at halftime.

"We played OK offensively the first 3 or 4 minutes of the game in large part because they looked like they played last night and were a step slow for the first few minutes," Skiles said. "But defensively. . . they were getting good shots. They just didn't make them. We became concerned, even though we were ahead, that our approach was going to come back and bite us and it did pretty quickly." * * *



We're Making the Trail Blazers Look Like a JV Team

posted by Demon160 to ESPN Bucks message board

A. 5:39 PM

We are already up by 6 and its only the end of the 1st QTR.

How many points do you have to be ahead by before they go to a running clock?

B. 7:41 PM

The Bucks didn't lose this game. This one's on the Skiles and the refs. I don't recall ever seeing worse officiating in my life.

Skiles also need s to improve his playcalling. The offense is starting to get way too predictable.

Click on through for more fine fare...


Terrible Game!

posted by Buck You to RealGM Bucks message board

Just a terrible game. Portland is a better team than us but losing like that, no excuse.

Salmons was so bad, I think he needs to not play as much until he is in game shape because right now he's not helping the team at all. Brockman hustles but he's pretty useless, he's too small for his position.

I still think the team will b e alr ight but right now they are playing like garbo.


Mike Conley's Terrible Deal Could Make Brandon Jennings Unsignable

by Justin Malaise, We're Bucked!

If you have not heard or read, Mike Conley got a ridiculous deal from the Memphis Grizzlies. $45 million over 5 years, for Mike Conley, even Sports Illustrated labels the article One Baffling Deal. * * *

Another article from 730 Fox Sports, a Memphis Sports station is even less flattering arguing that there is not a point guard in the league they would take Conley over. According to the article's calculation Conley is actually the 25th rated point guard, factoring in point per game, assists per game and steals per game. Among the top ten are Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose.

Brandon Jennings ranks 11th is this list and he was only a rookie last year, by his third year he could climb into the top five of this list of point guards. If Mike Conley gets 9 million per year how could Jennings agent not go for the MAX or whatever the equivalent is after the CBA is renegotiated. * * *


Pathetic Crowd

posted by PaulPressey25 to RealGM Bucks message board

* * *
Tonights crowd was pathetic. This was the second game of the year for a playoff team against a high quality opponent. That crowd tonight were chicken littles. Almost like people sensed the team last year might have been a fluke so why get emotionally invested.

Squad 6 -- you guys have to get the horns and drum back. * * *


Post-Game Summary in 1000 Words or Equivalent

posted by Midranger to RealGM Bucks message board



Blazers 90, Bucks 76: Big Early Lead turns into Bigger Late Loss in Milwaukee

by by Alex Boeder, Brew Hoop (SBN)

* * *
When asked before the game if he expected to play Larry Sanders against Portland, Coach Skiles flatly answered "no."

With more than 41 of 48 minutes played however, the coach trotted out an Earl Boykins/Keyon Dooling/Luc Mbah a Moute/Larry Sanders/Ersan Ilyasova fivesome.

By that time, the Bucks were facing their biggest deficit of the game at 86-68, so there was no hope left on this cold night in Wisconsin. The starters made sure of that.

You go into a game, and you let Wes Matthews, Armon Johnson, and Dante Cunningham beat you. But you don't just let Wes Matthews, Armon Johnson, and Dante Cunningham beat you. * * *


This Team is Starting to Lose Me

posted by MadTown Hoops to Brew Hoop (SBN)

This team is Starting to Lose Me,which is saying a lot, because I was diehard for the Bucks even when Redd and Williams were in fighting and Larry K was in charge. This team hasn't just been bad, it hasn't been any fun. It seems like this team has a destructive split personality.

On the one hand is a rebuilding team of young stars to be that need a couple years to gel together and find that missing piece to contend. Players like LRMAM, Ersan, Brockman, Bogut, Jennings, CDR and Sanders fall on this side. The other half is a collection of fan anti-favorites who have bounced around for years and don't show that they've learned the little things that make a veteran valuable. Salmons, Gooden, Maggette and Dooling represent the other side of things. Delfino appears to be the only veteran in or past his prime who truly can contribute in a meaningful way.

The distressing thing is that the bulk of our cap is committed to the contract year wonders for years to come. The collective impact of those guys on our future chemistry has me not exactly super excited. I don't want to see Jennings and CDR learn ball hogging instincts from Dooling and Maggette. * * *

(9)  This last one is really interesting and especially worth reading...

Numbers don't add up for Bucks: Blazers 90 - Bucks 76

by Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball (TrueHoop)

It's difficult to even break everything that happened after the first quarter of the Bucks 90-76 loss Tuesday night into words. Let's just take a simple look at the numbers. * * *

16-52: Milwaukee's field goals made and attempted after the first quarter. Milwaukee went from shot 55% in the first quarter and just 31% the rest of the game.

2-14: John Salmons shooting line for the evening. Everyone knows by now that Salmons is working his way back into the lineup after a knee injury that shelved him for all of the pre-season, but injury or not, if he's going to do this kind of damage to the Bucks chances to win a game, it's worthwhile to question whether or not he should be active. * * *

16-17: Assists and turnovers for Milwaukee. * * *

4-12: In the second quarter, Milwaukee was 4-12 inside the paint. 4-12 from INSIDE THE PAINT! * * *


The Bottom Line:

1. Great start!

2. Did we mention that the start was great?!?!

3. The best part was the start, we think.

4. Boy, that was a great start, wasn't it?

5. Was there a game tonight???


*   *   *


What have we learned so far?

With the completion of the Milwaukee game, this NBA season is now more than 5% done. I know that a lot of the Advanced Metrics guys are going to have a conniption over any effort to draw inferences about the Blazers' future based upon just 4 data points (this article being w ritten prior to the Bucks game), but I think I can safely dish some very un-advanced treatments of PDX stats to help illuminate where we are.



First off, the most obvious correlation seems to be Portland's rate of success from behind the 3 point arc and the game result.

* vs. Phoenix Suns

Blazers were 10/20 = .500 from behind the arc and WON

* at L.A. Clippers

Blazers were 8/20 = .400 from behind the arc and WON

* at New York Knicks

Blazers were 6/13 = .462 from behind the arc and WON

* at Chicago Bulls

Blazers were 0/14 = .000 from behind the arc and LOST

An optimist would say that "whenever the Blazers score more than zero 3 point shots, they win!!! Yaaaay!!!!"

A pessimist would say, "the Blazers no longer have the ability to hit outside shots, they've been scouted out and much like the Orlando Magic, they're doomed."

A realist would say, "the Blazers were shooting an unsustainable (and league leading) 24/53 = .453 from the arc and the horrific Chicago experience was just one of nature's little jokes which reverted the team's shooting average towards the historically expected rate for such shots. The team is now 24/67 = .358, which represents a true shooting percentage of 53.7% — still excellent but now reality-based."

It's clear that the jumpshooting Blazers need to be able to drill a fair percentage of their bombs to compete with quicker or grittier teams. In Chicago they really didn't do that, and it's a big part of their epic failure in the windy city.


The relationship between rebounds garnered and victories is less clear-cut. Rebounds don't by themselves score points, obviously, whereas made buckets do score points. 

In my opinion, in New York and Chicago Portland has not rebounded the ball with anything like the same hustle and authority that they were demonstrating in the first two games of the year. This is an anecdotal observation. Let's explore it:


* vs. Phoenix Suns

Blazers outrebounded their opponent 47 to 30 and WON

* at L.A. Clippers

Blazers outrebounded their opponent 50 to 40 and WON

* at New York Knicks

Blazers were beat on the boards 41 to 51 , but still WON

* at Chicago Bulls

Blazers were beat on the boards 35 to 36 and LOST

If we look at games 1 and 2, Blazers were averaging 48.5 boards to their opponents' 35.0 — a massive margin of +13.5 rebounds per game. In games 3 and 4, the Blazers averaged 38.0 rebounds to their opponents' 43.5 — a deficit of 5.5.

So let's ask the one big question ever asked by Fred Schneider of the B-52s in his career: "Who's to blame?"

Rather than getting personal, let's break this down by position, shall we? Splitting things up between Bigs (Camby, LMA, Oberto, Babbitt, and Cunningham) versus PGs and Wings (Miller, Roy, Matthews, Batum, Fernandez, and Johnson) we find:

* Games 1 and 2

Blazer Bigs had 22 + 28 = 50 boards, or 51.5% of the team's rebounds

* Games 3 and 4

Blazer Bigs had 20 + 26 = 46 boards, or  63.2% of the team's rebounds

Expressed another way, Trail Blazer Wings and PGs have seen their share of the team's rebounds plummet from 48.5% in the first two games to just 36.8% in the second two games.

So in the future we'd all be advised to start keeping an eye on how hard Messrs. Miller, Roy, Matthews, Batum, and Fernandez are hitting the boards. Are they crashing or coasting? (Johnson gets a pass, he's obviously busting his ass...)

Portland's cause will soon be aided when world-class rebounder Joel Przybilla gets back on the floor. But weakside help on the boards and hustle to long rebounds off long misses is essential stuff and Portland's effort there seems to be faltering.

Rosary_medium(3) POINTS IN THE PAINT

A decisive part of winning basketball relates to points in the paint. While this may not be strictly decisive on any one night, in general in the NBA, teams that dominate the paint win more and go further in the playoffs than teams that place their faith in 24 foot jumpers.

This is a number that's a bit harder to find, but according to, the Blazers are tied for 27th (with OKC) out of the 30 teams in the NBA in the category of "Opponents Points in the Paint Allowed." 

If Nate's a defensive coach and this is a defensive team — IT AIN'T WORKING!!!

Again, the Blazers are playing with an average of 29 minutes per game of Marcus Camby and 19 minutes of Nate working rosary beads at the Goalie position. Add to this difficult personnel situation the fact that Power Forward (sic.) LaMarcus Aldridge knows the nickname "The Enforcer" has been retired by the franchise and has for some reason chosen "Turn-Around Jumper Guy" as his own memorable handle. 

Portland being eviscerated in the middle is therefore of little surprise if one thinks about it. We must be sanguine and reasonable about this situation. It is what it is. LMA does a lot of things that nobody else can do, 'cept maybe that Chris Bosh fellow... Let there be no mistake, though: the failure to stop opposition points in the paint is a big, big problem on this team and will remain so at least Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden are back in action.

Well, that's pretty much what I've observed about the season so far. There are probably additional structural problems with this team, I remain completely agnostic as to Brandon Roy's inner competitive fire. Worse yet, Andre Miller is looking more and more to me like Brandon Roy on Qualudes. Still, it's a little early in the year to riff on that subject, so I'll give it a miss for now.

All in all, no cause for either celebration or consternation on the Blazer front, in my estimation. There are problems, let there be no mistake, but the season is still young...

Your thoughts?


*   *   *


Election night mutterings.

The first Tuesday in November of an even year means it's a big election night. That's one of the big spectator sports in our household, so it was good that the Blazers were on the tube nice and early. Actually, I'm just gonna watch basketball on TV all night in the other room tonight, this is gonna be an ugly one...

Time for the 117th biannual race between the unprincipled careerist incompetents and the religious nutjob/warmonger greedhead alliance. South Park got it right. 

Oy vey.


*   *   *








Brandon is relieved

Perfect season pressure gone

Now: just win, baby!





Here's some more wisdom and wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...


First, here's a good line from MB... The Bucks race off to a quick 10-2 lead and it's TIME OUT BLAZERS!!!

MB: "The crowd would be on its feet if there were any fans here!"


Rice on Steve Javie:

"He used to be real arrogant, now he's calmed down a little bit."


On Bucks Forward Drew Gooden's housing situation:

"He's been on 6 teams in the last 5 years — he has to rent everywhere he goes."


Buck fans don't like a no-call on a Corey Maggette drive to the rack which was erased by LMA:

"Boy, the fans behind us are about ready to climb out on the court and give Leroy Richardson an early Christmas present!"


Rice opines about Milwaukee brats:

MB: "How was that hotdog you had at halftime?"

Rice: "I'll tell you, that's gonna come back on us. I should have waited for the plane."



Game 5.

Blazers 90 at Bucks 76.

November 2, 2010.

Blazers' record is now 3-1, Bucks 1-3.


Bogut looks slow, capped twice in the first four minutes, once by LMA and once by Camby. All the Milwaukee crowd has to say is "scoreboard" though, since the Bucks ripped off a quick 14-2 run to open the game, visions of the Chicago debacle dancing in the Blazers' heads. Batum was particularly ineffective, leaving the floor after 5:30 with -14 on his +/- scorecard. Roy was the only Blazer with any touch whatsoever...

Milwaukee PG Brandon Jennings knows how to push the ball hard, caving two or three defenders in on him, then kicking the ball out to an open shooter sitting on the 3 point circle. He pulled that move masterfully twice to open the game, with Carlos Delfino hitting one and missing the second.

Blazers cut the lead to 5 with 4 minutes remaining, but Camby picked up his 2nd personal foul on a backing Australian moose, sending Camby to the bench. Things unravelled a bit from there, with the Bucks building the lead back to double digits. The Blazers sprinkled a couple of made 3s into their barrage of bricks, at least showing a little hustle for the long boards. The quarter closed with the Bucks up by six, 27-21.


The Blazers were tentative during the first few minutes of the 2nd Quarter, passing the ball around the perimeter, afraid to take a shot. One person immune to fear of public acts of Brickery was Wesley Matthews, who had taken a team-high 8 shots to score a team-high 12 points by the first scheduled commercial break. Portland continued to sit in a single-digit scoring hole, shooting 37% as a team.

Corey Maggette is a solid addition for Milwaukee, captaining the Bucks' second team. Eight quick points for him kept the pressure on the visitors. Matthews continued his aggressive play back home in Milwaukee, with an 11-2 Portland run tightening the Buck lead to just one point. Maggette continued to plug as the rest of the Milwaukee squad went cold. Dante tasted a couple more midrange jumpers while Bogut missed a couple bunnies, and the lead was reduced again to 1. At the second commercial break it was the Bucks shooting 48% and the Blazers up to 47%, and suicide-prevention counselors breathed easier around the Pacific Northwest.

Blazers took their first lead on a crazy-good Brandon turnaround against the shot clock, but with 16-point man Sweet Wesley getting a breather on the bench, Milwaukee once again captured a small lead. Given open perimeter shots, the Bucks chose to eschew rather that shoot and missed their shots in the paint. Blazers got to the foul line a couple times to retake the lead and managed to hold it for a halftime score of Blazers 47, Bucks 45. The Blazer bench was responsible for more than half of that, with Nic riding pine after only 5:26 on the floor, looking at an ugly Minus-12 in the +/-.


Aldridge came out playing hard in the second half, scoring a bucket. Actual hustle and effort on the boards by the starting 5 was exhibited, a strange and unusual phenomenon which caused feelings of lightheadedness and disorientation among Blazer viewers. Comcast was forced to kill the feed for a couple minutes to avoid murdering grandpas and grandmas.

Brandon hit on a leaner for his 15, stretching the Blazer lead to 8. LMA came up with another big block and put the round thing through the orange ring a couple times, bringing his shooting for the game up to the .500 mark — 14 points on 6/12 shooting.

Andre started to get into the flow, hitting a couple buckets and finding Brandon at the back door for his 5th assist and the Blazers were up 13. Nice defense in the paint by Portland and excellent hustle — an altogether different team than the somnambulists who were wearing Blazer jerseys in Chicago. Sloppy rebounding off a missed Jennings FT wound up becoming a 3 point play for Milwaukee, but Armon answered from the corner. Bucks scored on the other end, leaving things Portland 73, Milwaukee 62 at the end of three. Blazers shooting 48% for the game, Bucks 37%.


Starting the 4th Quarter with an 11 point lead showing is a Brave, New World for the 2010-11 Blazers. Previous games saw them behind, behind, behind, and behind (respectively) in the final frame. Armon hit yet another 3 point bomb to stretch the lead to 14. Milwaukee obligingly turned it over three times in four possessions and Portland briefly stretched it to 16.

Portland went flat and the Bucks went on a little run, but Portland amped up the intensity with Matthews outfighting the 7-foooter Bogut for a board ending in a reverse jam by Dante from an Armon Johnson pass on the break. Andre Miller yells "Leave him in!" to Nate, imploring him to leave the red hot Armon on the floor, walking back to the bench.

Nate ran two PGs in the last 5 minutes, but who carried the ball? Hint: not Andre and not Armon. Milwaukee Head Coach Scott Skiles dumped his bench, but they brought the Bucks back to within a dozen, causing sweaty palms in Blazerland. Andre hit a little jumper over Earl Boykins (is it possible NOT to go over Earl Boykins?) and that was dagger, sending the Buck fans for the doorway. Final score: Blazers 90, Bucks 76.


Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?


Alright, it's ready, steady, go ahead and CLICK THIS LINK to see the super-smooth Popcorn Machine Game Flow Summary.

Here's what I see:

A. This was a tale of two halves — the Bucks controlled it up front and the Blazers took it over and ran away with it in the second half. The turning point seems to have been a 6-0 run that the starters put up midway through the 3rd Quarter. From there Portland didn't look back.

B. LMA played almost 44 minutes. Yikes. Tell me again that the Blazers can't stand to swap out Oberto for Pryzzy and Oden to give them some depth up front. It's surprising that Milwaukee did so poorly, they should have been able to gouge LMA up front, but didn't.

C. Dante the Inferno gave some nice production in 28 minutes of action.

D. Scott Skiles did a full hockey substitution in the 4th Quarter. Five scrubs ended up going +4 down the stretch.

E. Oberto's presence on the floor was token — just 4 minutes. Rudy got a full quarter and an itty bitty scrap. Which was more than Nic Batum got. Nate is still feeling his way with the rotation, but it looks like Wesley Matthews and Dante Cunningham were the big minutes winners tonight.



Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?





Photo credits: Rudy: Greg Wahl-Stephens, AP. Batum: Mark J. Terrill, AP. 16th Century Rosary Beads: The Mary Rose Trust, Wikipedia, Creative Commons attribution 3.0. All images tweaked hard in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.

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