Bucks Tighten One Race, While Extending Another

Bleacher Report Senior Analyst IFebruary 17, 2009

Well I guess the question of whether the All-Star break would help or hurt the Bucks was answered. Milwaukee looked energized and ready to play tough defense tonight as they outlasted a surging fourth quarter Pistons team to win 92-86 at Detroit.

I got to admit right now this team is focused. Getting Ridnour back in a bit should be nice but Ridnour has either has to start alongside Sessions or come off the bench. There is just no reason to disrupt what this team does best and that is drive to the lane.

Redd's injury has allowed Jefferson and Session to be more comfortable with taking their man to the lane and getting the foul. Thus in turn making the defense sink and allowing open perimeter shooting. It's really no secret as to why Milwaukee's shooting percentages have gone way up. It's more open shots created by Ramon, RJ, and even CV going to the basket.

Redd is great, but he just doesn't do it enough. In the grand scheme the Bucks will be that much better if Bogut makes it back this season. His ability to run the floor and dominate the inside game against most NBA centers is a dimension this team just doesn't have. His defense is also good enough where his presence shouldn't disrupt the flow but enhance it. Elson has been playing great, he has done all the little things especially on the defensive end (four blocks and two steals tonight).

Richard Jefferson was the star tonight for the Bucks, he was knocking down big shots at key moments and getting to the line all game long. He ended with an extremely efficient 29 points on 4-5 from three land and 9-11 at the free throw line. He also added five board and five assists. He edged out Ramon Sessions who ended up with 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. CV added 10 and Malik Allen had a big 14 off the Bucks pine. Most impressively, I believe, is that Milwaukee committed only five turnovers all game.

Fantastic win against an East Conference contender on the road. The (27-29) Bucks have now pulled within two games of the seventh seed and extended their eighth seed lead to 1.5 games. The Bucks go back-to-back with a game at home tomorrow night against the Chicago Bulls.

Yeah.... That's the ticket.

(AP Photo By Duane Burleson)