As the legendary Ice Cube once famously said, “[yesterday] was a good day.”
And though nobody messed around and got a triple double, the Milwaukee Bucks did end their nine-game losing streak Wednesday with a 104-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
On his own bobblehead night, Caron Butler came off the bench and dropped 30 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. It was vindication for Butler, who last week made honest comments about playing time frustration.
Coach Larry Drew went with a big starting lineup to counter Detroit’s sizable frontcourt, starting John Henson, Epke Udoh, Ersan Ilyasova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brandon Knight. That’s an average starting height of over 6’8”. It was the 19th different starting lineup used this season.
Miroslav Raduljica provided more size off the bench. Though he had trouble catching passes thrown to him, the 7-footer still contributed eight points and eight rebounds and played nearly the entire fourth quarter.
Like many other NBA teams, the Bucks don’t exactly have a rival, but to get the first win of the New Year against the Pistons was rewarding. Detroit acquired former Buck Brandon Jennings in an offseason trade and signed Josh Smith in July. Jennings never seemed happy to be in Milwaukee during his four seasons with the Bucks.
Meanwhile, Smith made headlines back in 2010 while playing for Atlanta. The Hawks were in town for a first round playoff series against the Bucks. Smith expressed his displeasure with the city, saying, “Everybody knows there ain’t nothing to do in Milwaukee.”
In a miserable year, defeating the Pistons was that much sweeter.
The Bucks are now at the exact halfway point of the season. If you thought the first half of the year was tough, I’m sure you’re excited for another one just like it. Milwaukee is currently well on its way to the worst season in franchise history.
The most interesting thing about the Bucks is the team’s future. The NBA trade deadline is set for February 20, and Milwaukee certainly has expendable assets like Butler and Luke Ridnour, both expiring contracts. There is also the June draft, of course, where the team could add a potentially franchise-changing player.
Until then, however, there are still plenty of games to be played. Milwaukee goes on the road to Cleveland and then returns home to play Atlanta this weekend. The Bucks will look to win consecutive games for the first time all season.