The Milwaukee Bucks are having a disappointing season. Brandon Jennings is in street clothes, and while the preseason consensus was they’d most likely return to the playoffs this time around, they came into the Q on Friday with a record of 15-24.
They managed to lead it wire-to-wire though against the pitiful Cavaliers, shot it over 50% from the field for only the fifth time this season, and pounded the worst team in the NBA just like everybody else does. The Bucks led by as many as twenty before eventually winning game number sixteen, 102-88.
To conclude the obligatory recap, I’ll mention that the Cavaliers cut the lead to two points for a few seconds in the 2nd quarter. They were then subsequently smacked with a 12-0 run that pushed the lead back out to fourteen, before heading into the locker room at halftime down twelve.
In the 3rd quarter the Cavaliers kinda rallied with a 13-2 run of their own after the game started get out of hand, and cut the lead to nine heading into the fourth, but obviously that didn’t really matter.
The Cavs have now lost one million games in a row, and twenty five or their last twenty six. They’re 8-34 overall.
While the losing was tough to watch, there were two aspects of last night’s game that helped me trudge through. The first was the pride of Cleveland Central Catholic, Earl Boykins.
On Earl Boykins: I really wish the Cavaliers would have employed Earl for the entirety of his career. There is still no doubt in my mind that he would have made each and every one of the Cavs “LeBron James era” teams better, and he’d certainly give people a reason to tune in now.
Throughout his career, teams have not made the long-term financial committment to Earl as their starting, or key reserve playing, guard that his numbers have warranted. It’s a tough sell to owners I guess, who only understand that “this guy is shorter than me, what are you talking about a long-term contract?”
As a result, he’s bounced around throughout the thirteen years since staring at Eastern Michigan. He should have found that extension in 2007 after he had averaged 10, 12, 13, and 15 points per game over the previous four seasons, but he didn’t.
Regardless of that though, he always seems to find somebody to take a chance on him and consistenly produces for everybody that does. He scored more points (9) than Cavaliers starters Manny Harris (0), Alonzo Gee (2) and J.J. Hickson (2) combined on Friday night, and those nine are what he’s averaged playing 20 minutes a game for his last 616 NBA games.
He’s played in 26 games so far this season, averaging just over 8 points in 17 minutes of playing time a night. He has hit for double figures ten times, posted a season high 26, and scored 19 or more three other times this season as well for the Bucks.
Along with Charles Oakley, Earl Boykins is one of the two best basketball players to ever hail from Cleveland, Ohio in my opinion. I think Cleveland should do more to appreciate the guy, keep doing you Earl.
On Byron Scott Mic’d Up: The other aspect of Friday’s game that caught my attention was Coach Byron Scott mic’d up.
I couldn’t help but wonder while watching though what John Lucas must think about Coach Scott being consistently applauded for his coaching efforts this season around town. I know there is no talent on this team, and I know he didn’t sign up for “this” specifically, but I still find myself wondering if Mike Brown would be 8-34 right now.
Nevertheless, Byron did speak the truth while mic’d when he said to Chris Jent on the bench at one point:
“We need 5 or 6 guys to play really well every night. We get 2 or 3, but we need 5 or 6 every night on both ends of the floor.”
At another point, he lauded his troops to: “Do what we do.” Maybe he shouldn’t have said that, because they did.
In recapping that “mic’d up” portion of the telecast after the game, Jeff Phelps made a point of calling Byron, “a rock with his emotions.”
Campy responded by agreeing and adding, “If he lost his cool, this team would really fall apart.”
Be cool Byron, if that’s true. I don’t want to see what “really falling apart” looks like.