Sunday, April 23, 2006
Bucks not crying foul, yet
By Chris Sheridan ESPN.com
Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Milwaukee Bucks coach Terry Stotts was sitting by himself in the corner of the visiting locker room some 45 minutes after Game 1 had ended, keeping all the bullets in his gun for use another day.
His team had attempted as many foul shots as the Detroit Pistons had missed, but Stotts wasn't going to gripe publicly about the 34-10 disparity in free throws attempted. There may come a time when he'll have to, but that time has not yet arrived.
"I'm not going to do that tonight," Stotts said.
I pointed out that his team had been treated like an eight seed, which is pretty much what he should have expected coming in.
"Yeah, that's about how I saw it," Stotts said. "Them and San Antonio are probably the two most physical teams in the league, yet both of them go to the foul line more than anyone else."
Stotts was simply stating the facts and wondering aloud in the final minutes before he exited The Palace for the quick flight back to Milwaukee to plot some kind of strategy change for Game 2 Wednesday night. More than needing to get his team to the line, he needs them to get back on defense.
The Bucks were outscored 21-7 on fast-break points and 24-8 at the line in a game that was a quintessentially typical Pistons victory. Detroit was ahead by six at the half, boosted the lead up to 19 in the third quarter, got bored and let it slip to four early in the fourth quarter, then put down the hammer with a 9-0 run over the next 2:39 to turn it back into a blowout.
"I thought we competed well and we came back against them, and we've played them well before," said Stotts, whose team went to the line only four times in the second half to Detroit's 24.
Two of those Pistons free throws came early in the third quarter after T.J. Ford and Andrew Bogut both drew technical fouls. Bogut wasn't giving up the secret of what he said to the refs after he tried to draw contact in the low post against Antonio McDyess and shot an airball that led to a 24-second violation, but McDyess provided an eyewitness account.
"He kept saying 'If that was Rasheed Wallace you'd have given it to him.' He came back down and said it again, I think, and they called the tech," McDyess said. "I think that's a good thing for a rookie. It lets them know he's a got a little fight in him. A rookie getting a tech in a playoff game, you don't see that much."
Bogut played a team-high 39 minutes and shot 5-for-13 for 10 points with eight rebounds -- none on the offensive end. The two players he defended had much better stat lines (Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points and McDyess had nine points and 10 rebounds), but Bogut and his teammates were not totally discouraged.
"Man, they put up points quick, but we just have to try to withstand some of those runs," Ford said. "How many fast-break points did they have, 21? And 24 points on free throws? If we can limit half of that, we'll be better off."
If not, expect Stotts to empty his gun prior to Game 3. It may be his lone opportunity to give his team a chance in this series.