3 minutes to go in the 4q Milwaukee Jason Terry made a three putting his Bucks up by 2, 80-78. It was an exciting three on a failed Middleton drive to the basket, resulting in a broken play. Seeing Terry alone near the top of the key he passed it to him, allowing ‘The Jet’ to do what he does best, sinking a big time 3.
After an 82-82 tie later on though, the Bucks expectedly collapsed. Once on a crucial play (although every play in such a tight game is crucial), Demar DeRozan (32 pts) drives from the left with a full phalanx of defenders ready to stop him, only for him to dunk it with both hands in an emphatic gesture that left Buck fans along with the announcer completely aghast.
I use the word ‘expectedly’ because the Bucks basically played like a team that does not belong in the Playoffs. Only Matthew Dellavedova (12pts) and Jason Terry (8pts including two big 3s in the 4q) – an odd couple you wouldn’t normally mention together in a sentence, were the only ones who looked like they knew what they were doing and that is expected due to their veteran status.
But everyone else? Forget it.
You had nervous shots, nervous passes, broken plays resulting from nervous shots and nervous passes, bricks, bricks from broken plays, and bricks from broken plays as a result of nervous shots and nervous passes.
None of which is to be expected from a young Bucks team, but painful to watch nonetheless. Almost as painful as them try to keep that ‘fear the deer’ catchphrase still going despite it obviously run its course.
On the other hand I don’t know enough of the Raptors to make a judgement but to deny praise towards partners in crime DeRozan and Lowry (13 pts) would be silly. They’re young, exciting, athletic and impressive and are the stuff Champion teams are made of. Again I haven’t watched them enough outside of the occasional highlight reel, but a one – two punch combination of players that actually get along (in contrast with the earlier Westbrook – Durant failed combo), is a formula for success in this league.
The Raptors’ campaign will run its course and may or may not get very far this year, but I like what I see for the long term. I’m keeping my eyes on them. As for the Bucks, they have a much farther, much longer way to go.