A Huge Milwaukee Surge

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 14, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — When you’re a hot team like the Milwaukee Bucks, everyone who follows the NBA want to know what’s brewing in the Brew City. They have swagger and national media attention from even ESPN, who added more TV games this season than in the past.

As the Bucks are making a playoff push, they are staying on that narrow road and continuing the uphill climb to claim one of the eight spots in the Eastern Conference.

Their unofficial motto, “Fear the Deer” is kind of stuck in the trenches with their 36-29 record.

After losing in overtime at Atlanta on Feb. 28, Milwaukee has won six in a row, beating Cleveland, Boston and Utah — all future playoff teams — in the process.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles doesn’t want his team to get too comfortable with their No. 5 spot in the conference standings. They also can’t look back at four teams who are gaining on them: Charlotte, Miami, Toronto and Chicago.

Even though Milwaukee will play nine games to finish out the month of March, five of those games are against what Skiles calls “trap” teams, which include teams with losing records that are out of playoff contention.

The trap teams, Indiana, Philadelphia, L.A. Clippers and Memphis can sneak up and win. And if Milwaukee let any of the losing teams beat them down the stretch, they will play themselves out of contention. The upcoming three-game road trip out west will help determine if the Bucks are contenders or pretenders.

“Now we got to go out west.” Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings said.

“Sacramento is a tough team to play at home. Denver, I know they didn’t forget about what happened earlier in the season (a 108-102 home win, Nov. 11). So, you know, they’re going to be pumped up to play against us. And now, you know, the Clippers.”

“We got to go down to L.A. and try to get a win, so this is a big road trip for us.”

From here on out, according to Skiles, the Bucks can’t coast through the final 17 games of the regular season, and it begins in L.A.on Wednesday.

“Every game is important right now,” Skiles said. “We’d like to go out there and play well.

We’ve played much better on the road. We’d like to keep that going. If we’re going to be a threat in the postseason, we need to play well on the road.”

If Milwaukee has mediocre games like the one in their 98-94 win against a bad team like Indiana at home Sunday, whoever the Bucks play in the postseason – if they make it that far – will teach them a lesson.

“(The win) was ugly, but we managed to get the win. Hey, we’ll take it,” Jennings said.

Added guard Jerry Stackhouse, “We got a couple of more (games) this week that are similar, the same type of games (against losing teams). We just gotta come in focused and make sure that we’re the aggressors. And I think, when we do that, then we’ll be fine.”