I've written before that I wasn't very confident that the Bucks would make the playoffs this year, despite their handful of changes. But after a 2-2 start with some pretty good play out of their defense, I was growing more confident.
Enter tonight's game against the Wizards. Without Michael Redd, the Bucks were able to jump out to a 30-17 lead, and were playing quite well. I was finally ready to believe that this Bucks team wasn't going to be the team that disappointed us so much last year. But then the Bucks gave up a 28-9 differential in the 2nd quarter, and I was worried the Bucks wouldn't be able to respond.
But respond they did. The Bucks played absolutely brilliantly en route to a 112-104 victory in overtime. Let me just say, that I can not remember being this excited about or into a Bucks game this early in the season. When Richard Jefferson slammed one down in the extra period, I was literally doing weird arm motions usually reserved for the playoffs. But I am now convinced this is a completely different Bucks team. This is a team with confidence, but more importantly, it's a team with the hunger and desire to win on a nightly basis.
Much of that has to do with the leadership of Scott Skiles, who gave us the two point guard experiment tonight. Luke Ridnour and Ramon Session played much of the game's final minutes on the floor together, with Sessions essentially playing the role of the two guard. It proved to be a success, as Ridnour ended with 20 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Ramon Sessions added 22 points and 8 dimes in the contest.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had quite the game as well. He ended with 17 points, but was almost the goat when he missed a potential game winning jump shot at the end of regulation. But any thought of that shot left his mind instantly, as he provided plenty of scoring in overtime and helped the Bucks improved to a 3-2 record.
Is it too early to be talking about the playoffs? After five games, it most certainly is. All I'm saying is that after those five games, I'm officially a believer that this team could make some noise this season.
(The TBC Buck of the Game standings are ready to go. Game one: Redd. Game two: Villaneuva. Game three: Bogut. Game four: Sessions. As for tonight, leave your choice in the comments and we'll post the winner before Friday's game.)