I didn’t give the Bucks a chance of defeating the Dallas Mavericks at Dallas. I haven’t done my Power Index in a couple of weeks, but the last edition showed Dallas near the top of the NBA. And since the Mavericks were on a 12 game winning streak, I don’t imagine they’ve dropped much since then.
But the Bucks got it done, mainly through the normal contribution from Andrew Bogut and a surprising contribution from their bench. Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas Roberts both had great games, and Ersan Ilyasova played outstanding defense on Dirk Nowitzki.
Brandon Jennings had a great offensive game, but under my “win credit” system Jennings overall game was in the red because he was generally matched up against the productive machine known as Jason Kidd. In a brilliant one minute sequence late in the fourth quarter, Kidd produced +5.0 Win Score points against Jennings by making two three point baskets and a producing a steal. The sequence nearly stole the game for the Mavericks. Meanwhile, Jennings nearly lost the game for the Bucks with some really poor shot choices on consecutive possessions at the end of the game.
A player who is suddenly struggling big time is rookie Larry Sanders. He was doing well when Bogut was out, basically playing the role of “Bogut Very Lite”, but now that Bogut has returned Sanders has strung three horrible games in a row, moving his win numbers from surprisingly positive to way below the Mendoza Line.
The veterans John Salmons and Corey Maggette also continue to struggle. To date the pair have produced a combined negative Win Contribution of (-0.312). That is quite damaging. Those two were supposed to push the team higher this season, but they have done the opposite. To put their WC in perspective, if you surrounded them with average players over an 82 game season their production alone would turn a 41-41 team into a 36-46 team.
Here is the Milwaukee Bucks Win Chart through Game number 23: