Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bucks: searching for a bright side to all this cold

Tuesday night Stella and I went to see the Bucks get killed by Dallas. Well, I went into it with no hopes. Stella said, "I hope the Bucks win tonight," and I replied, "Don't count on it, sweetie. They're playing the best team in the league, and they've still got a lot of their good players out on injuries, and .... well.... let's just have some fun. Want some dipping dots?"

So imagine both our surprise when they spent the entire whole first half ahead. The Mavericks were cold, and the Bucks were hot. By halftime, they're leading by 15 -- a comfortable lead. But being the Cubs fan I am, I had this forboding dread that something was going to go wrong. This was too good to be true: they're on a ferocious losing streak and they're going to beat the team with the NBA's best record? Even the anthem sounded good tonight, too good to be true from the Oshkosh West Boys' Choir. They sang it straight up, and the Bucks played straight up.

Then they go into the second half and things are still looking good. And then, as if by coincedince, Charlie Villenueve blows his ankle, and for the rest of the game they just go cold. Colder than those Dippin' Dots Stella and I enjoyed. Colder than my heart every time I have to hear "Ring My Bell" whenever Charlie Bell hits a shot. Cold. For five full minutes they don't score -- I can hear Beavie going "We're never gonna score!" -- and they don't. They end up losing. I don't know why I'm disappointed. I walked into the Bradley Center for a mommy and daughter date fulling expecting them to get killed. But then they had to dangle this possible win in my face. In fact, they were running at a Free-Quarter-Pounder-With-Cheese rate. Not that I had a craving for a Royale With Cheese, but it was still a milestone they never hit. Still, wouldn't it have been nice, for this team beseiged by injury and a recent tough run, for them to beat the best team in the league?

And then last night, I watched on TV as the worst team in the league, the Boston Celtics (you couldn't have told me 10 years ago that the phrases "Worst team in the league" and "Boston Celtics" would ever be in the same sentence together) handily beat the Bucks. Even with all the injuries, but here's my theory: The last time I wrote about this team, I was praising the intensity of Charlie Villenueva. He's out on injury, and now they lose to the Celtics. I'm certain if he was on the parquet last night, they would have pulled it off.

And I'm still not calling for the head of Terry "The White Shadow" Stotts yet. I can't really judge the coaching of a guy who's had to deal with almost all his star players out for a good part of the season. But still, its like Villenueva's injury was the last straw. Hey, at least Illysova was true to form, and once again, hit a 3 the minute he was put in, both Tuesday and Thursday nights, and he's starting to lose that hesitancy I complained about earlier in the season. I still think the injury-ridden stars are a blessing in disguise a bit for the Bucks, as it's giving the bench NBA-intensity experience. Face it, even with all the stars healthy, they just weren't going to be contenders this year, so you might as well get some experience and really deepen the bench.

I have to look at the bright side of things. I'm a Cubs fan. It's in my nature.

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