As a member of the sports media, I make a living by using wordplay. Eloquently stringing passages together to both entertain and inform. Last night’s Game 5 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors stopped me from doing that. I was at a loss for words. There was no eloquent way of saying the Bucks got the brakes beat off of them from the jump. My usual vibrant twitter feed (@the20double) was unusually quiet. I just couldn’t articulate. I can handle a competitive loss, but to get blasted like this is another story. So what happened? What did I see?
I saw a sloppy team that wasn’t ready to compete. At this stage of the season, you can’t afford to have lapses like this. Hell, in the Association you can’t afford to NOT be ready to compete. How are you lacking the energy and competitive fire in the NBA Playoffs? It was troubling to see this in Game 4, even more troubling that its followed the Bucks into Game 5. It had looked like the Bucks turned the corner from this, but I guess they’re still leaning on the building. This. Is. Troubling.
The turnovers drove me to absolute insanity last night. (So much so I yelled “Ball security!” at the television. Something I usually only say during football season. It was THAT bad.) Granted it did get a bit better in the second half, (Bucks had 15 turnovers to Toronto’s 17.) it was the turnovers in the first half that dug the hole the Bucks ended up burying themselves in. These turnovers are the kind you see in after school basketball. Senseless and careless. Just a continuation from Game 4’s turnover fest that ALSO cost the Bucks a game. To say Milwaukee needs a Swiffer to clean this up is an understatement.
So where do the Bucks go from here? What can they do to get back on track? Less turnovers would be a great start. More importantly, finding your purpose for playing is paramount. Whatever you tapped into to win games 1 & 3, is what you should be tapping into EVERY game. To go from good to great, the Bucks must be consistent in their energy and passion to compete. The last two playoff games have been embarrassing. The effort put forth isn’t the effort worthy to be called NBA worthy. All the Bucks did was show up and go through the motions. That’s never enough ESPECIALLY in the playoffs.
So now the Bucks have a choice to make. They can choose to stand and fight, or they can choose what island they want to go to when they’re eliminated on Thursday night. There is no in between on effort, just as there is no in between winning and losing. It’s time to fight fellas, go down swinging.