Mar 25, 2011, 12:04 PM EDT
Has any team been more disappointing this season than the Milwaukee Bucks?
Injuries and their anemic offense — despite having Brandon Jennings, John Salmons and Andrew Bogut — have held them back. All the way back out of the playoffs. The Bucks are three games behind the Pacers with a dozen to play.
And the next week will determine their fate. The Bucks face the slumping Knicks Friday, then a tough test against the Bulls Saturday. Then it is three in a row the Bucks must have — Charlotte, Toronto and at Indiana.
The Bucks put out a lackluster effort and got beat by Sacramento Wednesday, so heading into Friday night coach Scott Skiles knows his team can’t have any more lapses like that if they want to make the playoffs, he told the Journal Sentinel.
“We’ve got to show up,” Skiles said of facing the Knicks for the second time in six days following Milwaukee’s 100-95 victory over New York on Sunday.
“We’ve got to play hard; we’ve got to execute and know what we’re doing. That’s all just to have a chance, we’ve got to do those things.”
Milwaukee has gotten a nice scoring boost from Carlos Delfino, who dropped 30 in each of the team’s last two games and is is hitting 49.1 percent of his threes in his last 10 games. But they will need more efficient play from Brandon Jennings, and more production out of what has been a less-than-impressive bench. They need Salmons to be on his game. The Bucks will defend as always, but they need some buckets.
Michael Redd will return to the team this weekend, but who knows what that will bring. Maybe some buckets.
Tonight the Bucks and Knicks both should be playing with a sense of desperation. Both need wins, badly. But if the Bucks don’t get it this may be the practical end of their season. And that would be disappointing.