Observation Deck (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday March 6, 2007 6:22PM; Updated: Tuesday March 6, 2007 6:50PM
The Magic have issues hanging on to the ball, and the Bucks (whom Orlando trounced 99-81 on Monday night) have problems stopping talented professional basketball players from creating plays (be they diagrammed prior or improvised) that allow them to place the ball in question inside the Milwaukee goal. As it's been throughout the Terry Stotts era in Milwaukee, we have to question the thinking behind a defensive scheme that allows for a team like the Bucks to stick with a zone defense in the face of a withering Chicago Bulls comeback on Sunday afternoon.
Stotts' team had taken an 18-point fourth-quarter lead, but this had little to do with defense and more to do with a less-than-focused Chicago attack on both ends. Stotts ordered a zone defense to start the fourth quarter and stuck with it on nearly every possession even as guard Ben Gordon continually found ways to shoot over or drive through the Bucks on his way to 48 points. By the end of regulation, Chicago had caught up. By the end of overtime, it'd won. Michael Redd scored 52 points, but only eight of those came in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Bucks have looked like a team that, when healthy, could at least approach a .500 record in the East, but what's the point if Milwaukee refuses to adapt to any sort of cogent defensive mind-set? The Bucks look active and appear as if the perimeter defenders are trying hard -- this explains anyone who still thinks Ruben Patterson has paid more than a lick and a promise toward defense since this time last season -- but outside of causing turnovers (Milwaukee is a top 10 team in that area), this hardly makes much of a dent. Milwaukee's tally of 113.3 points allowed per 100 possessions is topped only by the Great Memphis Grizzlies Experiment of 2006-07, which is averaging 113.5.
It's hard to understand why the Charlotte Bobcats are playing Jeff McInnis and Derek Anderson a combined 41 minutes night. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff apparently likes the idea of having veteran guards keep things nice and unproductive for his young Bobcats while sopping up minutes.
McInnis actually has a few DNP-CDs over the last two weeks, but he's still played in 20 of 25 games since joining Charlotte, and Anderson has started 26 of 38 games this season. And in all of those 41 minutes, they've combined to average about 11 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 37 percent from the floor. Even Dan Dickau is averaging 13.6 points per 40 minutes this year.
It just amazes how guys like Anderson and McInnis can keep their jobs based on name recognition alone -- they're obviously contributing next to nothing, and if veteran leadership is what Bickerstaff is after, then why can't the elders do their work from the bench? The Bobcats, both in appearances and statistically, appear to do better as an offensive unit with Anderson on the floor, but if he continues to miss open jumpers and not really contribute much in other areas, one has to wonder if this is just a lucky happenstance in his favor. And is sound ball movement for a 22-win team worth taking a pass on giving an extended tryout to D-League types like Denham Brown or Elton Brown?