Embrace the Insanity

With the Bucks halfway to history, it’s time to throw out logic and enjoy this crazy ride.

Now is the time to be illogical.

The Bucks have won two straight games against a veteran Bulls team that has an All-Star, a former MVP, a former NBA champion, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, and a highly respected coach.

Let’s embrace the insanity.

Michael Carter-Williams nearly doubled all of his season averages, including his field goal percentage, as he led the Bucks to a Game 5 victory in Chicago with a magnificent performance. John Henson recorded more than eight points and 14 rebounds two times in this series for just the tenth and 11th time in his entire career. Zaza Pachulia made this shot.

Over time, we’ve all been taught that playoff games mean more than regular season games. Wins are more important. Players play harder, which means a player’s positive performance is more indicative of his potential than a pointless regular season game. If a player can perform in the playoffs, it must mean they can rise above the very best effort of their opponents and deliver in the toughest circumstances you could ever face.

Sometimes, though, the truth is that a player simply has a great matchup and that matchup leads to the great series they put together. Just ask the Knicks about Jerome James’ domination of the Sacramento Kings in 2005. Or ask the Clippers about Tim Thomas’ magical postseason with the Suns in 2006. Talk to the Warriors about how excited they were to have Harrison Barnes after he torched the Nuggets and Spurs as a rookie in 2013.

Each of these teams became victims of their own imaginations. They projected things using a small sample size from a player fueled by great matchups, and it didn’t go well. Teams allowed themselves to believe the unbelievable and be taken in by a captivating playoff performance.

But you know what? Logical thinking can wait.

No one gave the Bucks a chance in this series and they’ve rattled off consecutive wins with their backs against the wall. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Playoffs and yet the Bucks are halfway there.

Let’s just enjoy this crazy ride and figure everything out later.

What to Read

What does Kidd see in Carter-Williams? – ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisik took a look at the interesting relationship that has developed between Jason Kidd and Michael Carter-Williams in just three short months and the future that each see together in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s length made a difference in game five – Over at Bucksketball, Jeremy Schmidt took a look at the vision John Hammond had years ago about a roster full of long limbs and the significant effect the Bucks’ length had on Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter.

Gov. Scott Walker to get involved in talks for downtown Milwaukee arena –As the drama continues on the floor, the Bucks arena saga continues off the floor. This week, Scott Walker has said he will personally be involved in the arena talks in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Clip of the Week

What else could be here? The Bucks were able to pull off the incredible upset in Game 4 with a beautiful play drawn up for Jerryd Bayless with just 1.3 seconds remaining.

Bonus Clip of the Week!

“Teutonia World” on YouTube (aka David Dunn) has made several great Bucks videos this year, but none quite like this. Playoff basketball really is quite fun.

Week in Review

Thursday – Game 3 – Bulls 113, Bucks 106 (2OT)

After a great first half in which the Bucks outscored the Bulls 53-49, the Bucks scored just 18 points in the third quarter and put themselves in a three point hole in the game’s final period. The Bucks’ struggles continued in the fourth and the team fell behind by double-digits before Khris Middleton scored eight points in the final 90 seconds of regulation to help force overtime.

Both teams struggled in the first overtime, but Derrick Rose turned it on in the second overtime and the Bucks couldn’t keep up, eventually falling 113-106. Despite not having the strongest start to the series, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks in Game 3 putting up 25 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Saturday – Game 4 – Bucks 92, Bulls 90

The Bucks defense has been pretty great for a majority of this series and Game 4 might have been their masterpiece as they forced 28 Bulls turnovers.

The Bucks rolled with the bench mob (Bayless-Dudley-Mayo-Henson) and Middleton for the entire fourth quarter and it paid off. Jared Dudley threw a gorgeous pass to Jerryd Bayless for a buzzer-beating lay-in to avoid a sweep and force a fifth game. Dudley and Mayo combined for seven of 12 shooting from the three point line, Henson blocked four shots, and Bayless added 10 points and five assists.

Monday – Game 5 – Bucks 94, Bulls 88

The two teams exchanged big runs in the first quarter with the Bucks scoring the first nine points of the game, and the Bulls answering with 11 consecutive points. The game evened out a little bit in the second quarter though and the Bucks went to the second half with a three point lead.

Instead of turning to the bench, Jason Kidd let the young trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams, and Henson guide the Bucks back to Milwaukee for Game 6. Henson put an exclamation point on the Bucks’ victory with a two-handed putback slam to give the Bucks a seven-point lead with 3:15 remaining, while Carter-Williams was magnificent all night long with 22 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds.

Stats of the Week

46 – In five games this series, John Henson has collected 46 rebounds.  As a frame of reference, Henson grabbed 40 rebounds in the Bucks’ eight regular season games in the month of April. (via Basketball-Reference)

15.2 – Michael Carter-Williams has averaged 11.8 drives (fourth in playoffs) to the basket per game in this first round series and the Bucks have scored 15.2 (fourth in playoffs) points per game on his drives. (via NBA Stats)

8.2 – Despite playing just 22.2 minutes per game, Zaza Pachulia has averaged 8.2 elbow touches per game. (via NBA Stats)

Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or calmly explain to him whether or not forcing a Game 7 will be easy on Twitter @eric_nehm.