The Bucks did something Tuesday night at the Bradley Center that they had not done since April. They beat a quality opponent, defeating the San Antonio Spurs, 106-103, in front of 11,585 fans.
Returning for the first time since a family medical emergency in Australia, center Andrew Bogut scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in almost 35 minutes. With Bogut in the lineup, the Bucks seem to play with more confidence and aggression.
"Not having him is just like not having air," teammate Stephen Jackson said afterwards. Jackson had a season-high 34 points in the win. "That's one of the biggest things is having our big fella back. We need him down there."
Bogut only returned from Melbourne the previous evening, having spent almost an entire day in the air traveling.
"I wasn't too comfortable out there," according to Bogut. "I was just trying to grind it out and try to get a win for the team. I was on a plane for 40 hours there and back. Sitting on a plane when you're 7-foot (tall) is not the best, most comfortable thing in the world. My sleep pattern has been off. I've been getting tired at different parts of the day just from the jet lag."
Aside from Jackson's 34 points, the Bucks had balanced scoring, getting double digit points from Carlos Delfino (18), Brandon Jennings (15), and rookie Jon Leuer (10), who continues to impress his coach.
"Jon is always in the right place, seemingly at the right time," Scott Skiles said after the game. "He knows what he's doing out there. Playing his first game against the Spurs and being out there with (Tim) Duncan and (DeJuan) Blair and those type of players, he did very well."
With the win, the Bucks improve to 3-6. They are idle Wednesday before hosting the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
"We made enough plays," Skiles concluded. "We'd like it to be a lot smoother than that. Neither team was great defensively tonight."
Doug Russell has been covering Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports for over 20 years on radio, television, magazines, and now at OnMilwaukee.com.
Over the course of his career, the Edward R. Murrow Award winner and Emmy nominee has covered the Packers in Super Bowls XXXI, XXXII and XLV, traveled to Pasadena with the Badgers for Rose Bowls, been to the Final Four with Marquette, and saw first-hand the entire Brewers playoff runs in 2008 and 2011. Doug has also covered The Masters, several PGA Championships, MLB All-Star Games, and Kentucky Derbys; the Davis Cup, the U.S. Open, and the Sugar Bowl, along with NCAA football and basketball conference championships, and for that matter just about anything else that involves a field (or court, or rink) of play.
Doug was a sports reporter and host at WTMJ-AM radio from 1996-2000, before taking his radio skills to national syndication at Sporting News Radio from 2000-2007. From 2007-2011, he hosted his own morning radio sports show back here in Milwaukee, before returning to the national scene at Yahoo! Sports Radio last July. Doug's written work has also been featured in The Sporting News, Milwaukee Magazine, Inside Wisconsin Sports, and Brewers GameDay.
Doug and his wife, Erika, split their time between their residences in Pewaukee and Houston, TX.