Thursday night, Sparky asked me who was going to win between the Bucks and Lakers. Despite a four-game losing streak, I said the Bucks would win. Why? Well, why do you think?
If you’ve followed the Bucks to some extent this season, you’ll be aware that the Bucks like to play guessing games with the fans of Milwaukee and SE Wisconsin. They can come out and play their best against the best of the best, and then struggle to defeat the worst of the worst. Every time you want to hop onto the Bucks bandwagon, you’re forced off of it. Then, when you’re not paying attention to the team, the Bucks get on a roll. And when a nice stretch of wins grabs the fans’ attention, what happens? The Bucks turn the winning streak into a losing streak…
I’m sick of it…I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone…
Rod Serling:This is Joe Zenzola. He works in sports radio. For years, Joe has been a die-hard Bucks fan. However, in this last season, he’s been on a roller coaster of emotions with his favorite basketball team. Every time the team is winning consistently, Joe begins to express how the Bucks could be a force in the NBA. But as soon as he does that, his team starts a trend of losing streaks. And once he wants to blow up the team and rebuild, the Bucks start to win again. Joe is just as disoriented as other Bucks’ fans. The Bucks’ successes and failures will drive Joe to madness. What Joe doesn’t know is…he’s really in… ‘The Twilight Zone’.
The latest example of this came on the day of the NBA Trade Deadline. Furious beyond belief, I did not like the J.J. Redick trade. The Bucks gave up too much to get him; I guess I would have felt a little better if the Bucks also landed Josh Smith, but that turned out to be a failed deal because Atlanta wanted Larry Sanders (Thank God, Bucks management didn’t deal the SWAT Man!).
The Redick deal, however, was puzzling. Yes, when the Bucks were playing great basketball earlier in the season, I felt they could use an extra shooter. But after seeing the inconsistency of maintaining a winning record and a chance to move up in the Eastern Conference playoff race, acquiring an extra shooter was meaningless. This season, like so many in the last several years, has been more repetitive than brushing my teeth. Ready to throw in the towel for the season, I believed it was time for a drastic change…
Instead of trying to make the eighth seed quota that Herb Kohl seems to be infatuated with, I felt it was time to blow up the team, rebuild it around Sanders and Henson, and move forward. Many fans would agree, I’ll do ANYTHING to see the Bucks win just ONE NBA Title in my lifetime! Once the Redick deal was made, though, the Bucks got on a role…
While filling in for several of the Robert Haack Diamonds Basketball Post Game Shows, there was one night where the Bucks were just three games behind the Nets for the fourth seed in the East. The fourth! At that point, I actually pondered kissing Herb Kohl and John Hammond’s feet. Could this be a sign of another FEAR THE DEER run? J.J. Redick was doing a great job off the bench, Monta Ellis was stepping up his game to another level, and Brandon Jennings, knowing he needs to do something to raise his value, decided to pass the ball around more. Nonetheless, this formula was working and the Bucks were winning…I cannot believe I almost wanted to apologize to Bucks management.
And then…another losing streak started…
Since winning six of eight after the Redick deal (including a 2-1 west coast road trip), the Bucks are 3-7. Bucks fans, I’m tired of the roller coaster ride. I hope you are, too.
Whenever I’m negative and pessimistic, they win. Whenever I’m excited and optimistic, they lose. I can’t take it anymore. Here are three things worth noting; one of those is a special message directed towards the Senator.
First, observe all the big wins and bad defeats for the Bucks this season…
(Oh, and by the way, the Bucks still need to face the Bobcats twice, and the T-Wolves, Magic, and Raptors all once. Don’t expect 5-0, folks)
Secondly, over on Facebook, I posted a poll question. “Yes or no, would you blow up and rebuild the Bucks’ organization?” Of 200 responses, only 25 people on the 1250 Facebook page said ‘No.’ Well, Mr. Senator?
Now a message for Senator Kohl…
Mr. Senator, you are a man of the people, correct?
You were one of two senators to represent the people of the State of Wisconsin for a long time, right?
Now, you run a business, correct?
Yes, we’re talking about the business of the Milwaukee Bucks. In order to be successful in a business, you need to put out a product that consumers want to buy into. Consumers will make it clear what they want. So, Mr. Senator, give the consumers what they want. You represented people while in political office, so why can’t you represent the fans of this city? Why can’t you give them what they want?
Look at these names…Corey Maggette…and Stephen Jackson…and John Salmons…and Drew Gooden…and Richard Jefferson…among others…ARE NOT THE ANSWERS. You can't expect to put a winning team on the court with names like these. Well aware of the finiancial situation, I understand getting a superstar to Milwaukee is impossible. However, you can find other avenues…And if you can’t, then do what the people say.
If seven of every eight fans want to blow this thing up, what is so difficult about that? I’ll blame myself if that leads to 20 straight seasons of failure; I’m cool with that! It's time to start taking some risks. Most buisness take risks...You have nothing to lose, Mr. Senator.
You’re attendance is crap anyway. A .500 basketball team with an eighth seeded playoff appearance is unacceptable for any fan base. That doesn’t win you a championship. Why should that mentality fly?! REBUILD this franchise. Otherwise, sell the team, make your millions, and retire. This franchise can only be successful if the owner knows what he or she is doing. With all due respect, Senator Kohl, as an owner of an NBA franchise, you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m convinced this team is doomed with you at the helm…I’m sorry.
Disappointed, flustered, and irritated, I don’t know what else to say. I’m sick of the constant guessing games and roller coaster rides. This isn’t some emotional theme park. I want the Bucks to be the best team in the league; I want them to win an NBA title. And so do you Bucks fans…We deserve better.
This offseason might be the biggest offseason in the franchise’s history. There are several directions to go, and it will be interesting to see where Herb Kohl and John Hammond decide to take this organization. Just make this team better in the long haul…
After playing some of the most consistent golf this past week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Tiger Woods looks more like the normal Tiger we’ve known from his glory days. With that being said, Tiger is not far off from competing to win his 15th career Major. Winning a WGC-event is like winning a semi-major; Tiger has won seven times at Doral, 17 WGC-events altogether. Although the field is half the normal size in these WGC-events, you’re still playing against some of the best golfers in the world. Tournaments like these are a true measure of a pro golfer’s potential and future in the game. Tiger’s future continues to look brighter…
Since the fame scandal, Tiger has slowly, but surely, repaired his image both on and off the golf course. On the course, though, Tiger did a ton to revamp his game into something that would make him feel comfortable once again. He parted ways with swing coach Hank Haney, and hired Sean Foley. He also split with long-time caddy Steve Williams, and replaced him with Joe LaCava. He’s done a slightly better job controlling his anger and poor sportsmanship, and continues to be open to the media. Furthermore, Tiger looks more focused than ever. Jokingly, I like to call him Mr. Serious when he plays. He tunes everything out around him and hones in on how he’ll play his next shot.
Ironically, his biggest problem was the putter. As the old saying goes, ‘drive for show, putt for dough.’ Back in the day, that was Tiger’s forte; it’s what made Tiger the best in the world. Coming in the clutch no matter the situation, Tiger would find a way to sink a putt from 20 feet for par when the challenge came. When he was making putts, nobody could catch him. While rebuilding his game, Tiger has had a fair share of scattered rounds where it appears his putter is working in one round, but not in the other four. Just when you think the old Tiger has returned, he stinks it up in the next round. Inconsistency, for awhile, was becoming Tiger Woods middle name.
So after a 45-minute putting lesson from competitor and friend, Steve Stricker, earlier in the week, Tiger found himself absolutely unstoppable once tournament play at Doral got underway. I’ve never seen Tiger sink so many putts from so many distances in a long, LONG time. After reading Hank Haney’s book The Big Miss (which I recommend to anyone interested in Tiger Woods), Haney was convinced that Tiger filed away something like 5-10% of what was taught to him and ignored the other 90-95%; it would be that knowledge he would use to further his game in tournaments. I’m certain what Tiger got out of Stricker’s lesson was part of that 5-10%.
I have no idea where swing coach Sean Foley was. Isn’t that his job to help Tiger with the putting instead of a fellow competitor? It’s rare to see any competitor assist another competitor with an element of their game. I’ve drawn the conclusion that Tiger has a stronger friendship with Steve Stricker, than any other golfer on tour. Outside of his relationships with pros Mark O’Meara and Notah Begay III, Tiger doesn’t welcome too many of his current competitors into his inner circle – Stricker might be an exception to the fact.
Holding that mammoth of a trophy, Tiger’s stats at Doral speak for themselves. He had the fewest putts of his career in any pro tournament he’s played in: 100 putts. Tiger also finished with 27 birdies for the tournament, that’s just one shy of his career record of 28 set back at two different tournaments in 2006 and 2007.
From start to finish, Tiger was dialed in. Every time I sensed a hiccup in one of his rounds at the Blue Monster, Tiger would somehow correct his fault. It was rare this weekend to see Tiger hit two bad shots in a row. If he drove the ball way right, Tiger would blast it out of the trees and put himself in position for a nice up and down, or get a good look at birdie. If Tiger’s chipping or sand play was lackluster around the green, Tiger would connect on the next shot with a 10-15 footer for par. Is this the best we’ll see out of him? And for how long?
The thing is Tiger has now won twice this season on tour, and five total victories over the last year. Tiger is now second in the Fedex Cup Standings behind Brandt Snedeker, and continues to inch his way closer to number one ranked Rory McIlroy in the World Golf Rankings.
Next up on the calendar for Mr. Woods – The Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he’s won seven times. I predict he’ll win that tournament as well. If he can continue to master his skills around the greens, Tiger will have no problem adding his 77th PGA hardware to his trophy case.
Now, I expect Tiger to win a major this year. If not, it’s time to start questioning whether winning more majors than Jack Nicklaus is even feasible. Tiger’s last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. Open. Tiger has now had several seasons to get back everything he lost during the time of his scandal. If there’s any major he can win, it’s The Masters. He’s won four times there, but was last victorious in 2005. Even when Augusta was ‘Tiger-proofed’, it still doesn’t play as a long course. Sure, the fairways may be tight and the greens will play exceptionally fast, but golfers can definitely put up low scores.
Tiger’s putter has failed him at Augusta for the last several years. If he can do what he did at Doral, he’s got this in the bag – guaranteed. Throughout his career, though, Tiger is still so-so with the driver. If I’m Tiger Woods, use a 3-wood or shorter club off the tee in that tournament. It got him a British Open title back in 2006 using that strategy. It surprises me why he doesn’t use that strategy more often in tournaments, especially if the course isn’t necessarily a long one.
Tiger, we’re all waiting for that next major title. You’re beginning to find your groove once again. Do us all a favor and get it done!