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In A No-Defense Game, Bucks Dodge Bullets
7 December 1996. Milwaukee Bucks 126, Washington Bullets 118 (record: 7-10)
Game leaders: Webber (26 points), Webber (9 rebounds), Strickland (14 assists)
Defense, defense, defense. There didn't seem to be any in this game. You look at the score, you figure this game when to at least 2 overtimes. Not even close. Except for about 8 minutes in the 4th quarter, the Bullets refused to play anything resembling defense. As a typical example, look at the third quarter. The Bucks missed 9 field goals and 1 free throw, and wound up with 9 offensive rebounds. One unscored opportunity (not including turnovers) in the quarter. For the game, the Bucks had 17 offensive rebounds, even though they shot 56% from the field. Unbelievable!
The Bullets were down 15 points at the start of the 4th quarter, and the reserve players (in particular, Grant, Murray and Whitney) put a pressure defense on the Bucks that forced numerous turnovers, then Murray and Whitney started drilling 3-pointers. Murray scored all 16 of his points on the game in the 4th. But the Bullets had several chances to tie the game or take the lead, but they never converted.
Also, Calbert Cheaney had his best game of the season, without question. He played tough defense and was extremely aggressive offensively. He had 15 points to the Bullets in the first half. I want to see more of this Cheaney.
Unfortunately, Muresan has not had a resurgence on the offensive end, despite his effectiveness in the post. The Bullets have to call his number more to take advantage of his height and strength advantages over most players. In fact, I would run the offense through him, and not Juwan or Chris, in most instances (except maybe late in a game).
Also, I'll say it again--coach Lynam must get the 3-point shooters into the game earlier. When they are on the court, there's often only one post threat, so they aren't seeing all of the good looks you would see when there is the threat of cutters, post players, etc. Just my opinion.
The Bucks' Vin Baker and Glenn Robinson must love playing the Bullets. They combined for 80 points in this game, and 50 in the previous game. Tonight, Juwan could do nothing to slow down Robinson, and Webber got in early foul trouble, so Lynam, in his "infinite wisdom," put Gheorghe on Baker. Bad move; Lynam didn't remember last year when Baker went bonkers on Muresan. It happened again, and Lynam was forced to bench Muresan because he wasn't effective on defense.
But I think Juwan is being effected more than is being let on by his injured right ankle. Robinson was easily able to drive around him, and Juwan's shots have been flat. He can't elevate on his jump shots, and he's barely getting high enough to dunk. Juwan needs this ankle to heal, but I don't think the Bullets (nor he) would be willing to put him on IR to get the necessary rest so that he can return at better strength. Until then, he's probably going to be a step slow on defense and shoot flat shots.
wtf 8 December 1996
|Down Big, The Raptors Were Anything But Extinct||Neither Team Shoots Well, But Knicks Get The Win|