Michael Redd and I are surgery buddies. Last year I had ACL surgery almost to the very day that Redd went under the knife for the same procedure. In the glorious haze of a post-operation percocet binge, I determined that Redd would be my personal watermark for recovery. Granted he is a professional athlete, but I needed the motivation. Besides, it was either him or Bango, the Bucks' mascot, who also tore his ACL (in the single greatest mascot injury ever).
So I followed Redd's recovery and rooted for him as he returned earlier this season. He had lost a noticeable step and was no longer the go-to scorer for the Bucks, but Redd was back. That is, until he did it all again. Redd tearing his ACL/MCL a second time means his career just might be finished, but his absence doesn't devastate the Bucks like it used to (although, this fan is taking it pretty hard). This ain't your Daddy's Milwaukee Bucks—seriously, your dad still thinks Brad Lohaus is their best player—instead, this is a young team on the cusp of great things. Just not yet.
After dropping 55 points against Golden State—when you factor in Don Nelsonflation™ that is the equivalent of scoring 30 against any other team—Brandon Jennings has become the centerpiece of this organization. But as the 2006-07 Blazers could attest, when you hoist an entire franchise upon the shoulders of a rookie, the results are never consistent. What's colder than the Milwaukee weather during the month of January? Jennings. This month he's averaging a hair over 10 points a game, with a frosty 25.3% shooting percentage.
The Blazers had a hard time stopping Andrew Bogut (27 points, nine boards, two blocks) in Milwaukee's 108-101 OT victory over the Blazers on December 12th, since when Bogut has a big game, the rest of the Bucks follow. The team is 11-1 when he tops the 17 point mark, which isn't a promising stat for the Blazers. Since Bogut is not a stranger to the sound of a whistle, it's in the Blazers best interest to keep coming at him and get the big Australian into foul trouble early. If they do that, and Jennings doesn't heat up, that should be enough to topple this Bucks' team that is 4-13 on the road.
Odds of their being a standing ovation if Rudy Fernandez returns tonight: 2-1.