Has any team been more disappointing this season than the Milwaukee Bucks?
Injuries and their anemic offense — despite having Brandon Jennings, John Salmons and Andrew Bogut — have held them back. All the way back out of the playoffs. The Bucks are three games behind the Pacers with a dozen to play.
And the next week will determine their fate. The Bucks face the slumping Knicks Friday, then a tough test against the Bulls Saturday. Then it is three in a row the Bucks must have — Charlotte, Toronto and at Indiana.
The Bucks put out a lackluster effort and got beat by Sacramento Wednesday, so heading into Friday night coach Scott Skiles knows his team can’t have any more lapses like that if they want to make the playoffs, he told the Journal Sentinel.
“We’ve got to show up,” Skiles said of facing the Knicks for the second time in six days following Milwaukee’s 100-95 victory over New York on Sunday.
“We’ve got to play hard; we’ve got to execute and know what we’re doing. That’s all just to have a chance, we’ve got to do those things.”
Milwaukee has gotten a nice scoring boost from Carlos Delfino, who dropped 30 in each of the team’s last two games and is is hitting 49.1 percent of his threes in his last 10 games. But they will need more efficient play from Brandon Jennings, and more production out of what has been a less-than-impressive bench. They need Salmons to be on his game. The Bucks will defend as always, but they need some buckets.
Michael Redd will return to the team this weekend, but who knows what that will bring. Maybe some buckets.
Tonight the Bucks and Knicks both should be playing with a sense of desperation. Both need wins, badly. But if the Bucks don’t get it this may be the practical end of their season. And that would be disappointing.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.