Bucks-Bobcats: Milwaukee Defeats Charlotte Team Struggling with Mediocrity

Ryan DonahueContributor IDecember 8, 2008

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Charlotte Bobcats last night in a 101-96 win, moving their record to 9-12 as the Bobcats sink to 7-12. For a team that has been plagued by injuries since the beginning of the season, this is a much-needed victory.

“You can see that the lineup has changed throughout the course of the year based on the injuries and as we get these guys back we’re getting a little momentum,” Assistant Coach Joe Wolf said.

The Bucks should be glad that 7'0" center Andrew Bogut’s migraine was the only injury going into the game. With a total of 33:59 of playing time and 10 points, the Australian’s migraine seemed not to have affected his game.

On the flip side of ailments is the mediocrity which has shrouded the Charlotte Bobcats for the past five years of the franchise’s existence. The ingredients for this recipe of mediocrity are unconventional.

Ask many people if Michael Jordan and basketball equals failure and they will no doubt tell you "No." Yet this is exactly what is happening to the former superstar’s team.  Jordan, whose Bobcat position is “managing member of basketball operations,” joined the team in June 2006 with a minority ownership stake and the role of über-general manager according to a Sports Illustrated reporter. 

Jordan, who primarily manages the team from his home in Chicago, excels in absentee-style managing.

“Michael doesn’t come to many practices,” Bobcats head coach Larry Brown told a media source. “And I think it means something to the guys when he does.”

It may not only be Jordan’s absence that is affecting the Bobcats. Brown may need to be reminded that from the book of Proverbs one can read that "a kind answer turns away anger."

Perhaps too, it encourages winning, as evidenced by the phenomenal turnaround of the 2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (67-95) after the departure of skipper Lou Piniella. Current manager Joe Maddon led his renamed Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series this year with positive upbeat sayings and his now famous equation: 9=8.

“Coach doesn’t like telling you something twice,” 6'0" guard D.J. Augustin told a media source. “And he likes it less and less the more he has to tell you.”

Bucks rookie Joe Alexander had 6:47 of playing time and brought in two points and had one blocked shot. Alexander, who was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was the eighth overall draft pick for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2008.

“He’s working hard every day and I think he’s learning the NBA game,” Wolf said of Alexander. “But that’s going to take time and patience is going to be a big key.”

Forward Charlie Villanueva connected on 25 consecutive free throws dating back to the Nov. 21 game against the New York Knicks which the Bucks won 104-87.  Villanueva’s streak unfortunately came to an end tonight after going 1-2 on free throw attempts.  The free throw was not Villanueva’s only contribution to the Bucks' win as he brought in a total of eight points over 19:00 of playing time.

“Our first half was a little bit sloppy but we picked up and had a big win today and that’s what matters,” Villanueva said.

With cellar-dwelling standings, much work has yet to be done before either of these teams can be seen as real playoff contenders.