4:30 PM ET, February 2, 2002
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
|Karl's (mostly) full tirade|
MILWAUKEE -- Bucks coach George Karl blasted his first-place
team after Saturday's loss to Philadelphia, picking out Milwaukee
stars Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell and mixing in
profanity to describe their play.
"I'm tired of talking about it. We've been talking about the same thing for 3½ years," said Karl, who called his team selfish and stubborn following an 86-81 defeat.
"We'll keep showing them film, we'll keep showing them opportunities. But if they were to continue to refuse to change, there's probably going to have to be a change. That means trading one of them or firing me," he said. I think it's come to that, to be honest with you."
Karl has criticized the so-called Big Three in the past. The Bucks, who lost to Philadelphia in last season's Eastern Conference finals, lead the Central Division with a 27-18 record.
"I think you all can see what's going on," Karl said. "It doesn't take a head coach in the NBA to see what's going on."
The Bucks blew a 76-71 lead, scoring just four points in the final 5:43 against the Sixers.
"There wasn't any execution," Karl said. "It didn't exist."
When asked for specifics, Karl replied, "Every night it's a little bit of stubbornness, a little bit of too much dribbling, a little bit of not committing to the team, a little bit of not having pride in how to play the game the right way."
Allen said it was a case of Karl's frustration boiling over.
"I think after a game like that, when you expect to win that game, you're just disappointed, way disappointed," Allen said. "Throughout that whole game we were way too cool, thinking that we were going to win the game and it would be taken care of. That's why we got beat. George is frustrated. He's just as frustrated as I am."
"Especially when whatever is going on on the floor is happening over and over again," Allen said. "I can't say it's nobody else's fault, because it's each individual's fault. It's not just this other person, it's everybody. We were at the stage where we were putting blame on people. We just have to look in the mirror," he said.
Teammate Anthony Mason agreed.
"All I know is that today we spelled team with an `I' instead of `E,"' he said.
The Bucks have lost five of their last six games, including four of five at home.
"I'm confident we'll get something back on track, but it's butting heads," Karl said. "It's stubborn and I'm not backing off. I'm not going to play selfish basketball. I don't know. Maybe when we get healthy, instead of being patient with them and talking to them through it, maybe I just have to put them on the bench and sit them down."
"As the game transpired, it slowly moved into their kind of game," Bucks coach George Karl said. "By the fourth quarter, it was totally theirs. They're a great defensive team that holds and grabs, bumps and grinds. Our offense was stubborn and selfish. It was a hell of a game. It had playoff mentality to it."
"I'm tired of talking about it. We've been talking about the same thing for 3½ years," Karl said. "We'll keep showing them film, we'll keep showing them opportunities. But if they were to continue to refuse to change, there's probably going to have to be a change.
"That means trading one of them or firing me. I think it's come to that, to be honest with you."
Anthony Mason's rebound basket put Milwaukee on top 76-71 with 5:43 remaining, but the Sixers responded with seven consecutive points. Two free throws by Coleman gave Philadelphia a 78-76 lead with 1:57 left.
Allen's jumper from the left baseline tied it at 78, but Eric Snow countered with a turnaround jumper from the free-throw line to make it 80-78 with 1:23 remaining.
Iverson's basket from the top of the key made it 82-78, before Michael Redd's 3-pointer from the top right cut it to 82-81 in the final 10 seconds.
Snow made two free throws to put the Sixers up 84-81.
After a timeout, Allen inbounded from the left side, but Redd's 3-point attempt hit the front of the rim.
Matt Harpring hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to seal the win for the Sixers, who also won last year's conference finals in seven games over Milwaukee.
"I thought our defense was really a big factor because they can score," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Ray got off early, but I thought we did a much better job on him and Glenn.
"We just played real solid. This is the way we used to play games and win games."
Allen had 20 points, and Robinson added 13 for the Bucks, which lost for the fourth time in five home games.
The Sixers shot just 37.5 percent, but made 22 of 26 free throws. Milwaukee was 7 of 10 from the line.
Iverson, listed as probable before the game with flu-like symptoms, played 47 minutes, but made just 9 of 30 shots.
The Sixers, who trailed 14-2 in the opening minutes, used a 9-0 run to take the lead for the first time at 41-40 with 2:06 left in the first half.
"I feel good about this game, better than any game we played this season," Iverson said. "Because we could have thrown in the towel when they were up 14-2. We just kept fighting. That's the attitude of the team we had last year."
Milwaukee, which led 44-43 at the half, was ahead throughout the third quarter, taking its biggest lead of the period at 65-55 on a three-point play by Allen.
Two free throws by Dikembe Mutombo pulled the Sixers within 65-57 entering the fourth quarter.
Bucks guard Rafer Alston did not play because of a lower back strain. ... Bucks forward Tim Thomas left with a sprained left ankle with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter and did not return. The severity of the injury was not known. ... Philadelphia has won 5 of 6 at the Bradley Center. ... Karl failed to earn his 150th victory with the Bucks. ... Robinson played 38 minutes, giving him 19,988 for his career and moving him into third on the Bucks' career list ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had 19,954.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||30-80 (.375)||34-82 (.415)|
|3PM-3PA||4-10 (.400)||6-20 (.300)|
|FTM-FTA||22-26 (.846)||7-10 (.700)|
|Fast Break Points||6||9|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (1/0)||27 (1/0)|