April 14, 2008
I know it sounds depressing and slightly masochistic.
Watching a Monday night game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls, two sub-.500 teams whose season will end on Wednesday, is something only diehard homers or people with no social life who have 10 little beds for their 10 fat cats would do, right? Move along, nothing to see here, the show is over folks.
Well, technically, yes. It was a pretty bad game… if you’re a defensive purist. If you have no appreciation for those rare nights when both teams play as if they’d signed a one-game treatise that permits each other uncontested jumpers, lay-ups, and three-pointers from start to finish. Final score: Chicago Bulls 151, Milwaukee Bucks 135.
As a team, the Bulls shot an unfathomable 67% FG–67%!!!–and were led by Luol Deng’s 32 points and Chris Duhon’s 14 assists (both personal season highs). The Bucks experienced an offensive epiphany as well, shooting 57% as a team and getting 25 from Andrew “Masked White Man” Bogut.
Ramon Sessions Photo Credit: Icon SMI
But that’s all just window-dressing on the main showcase tonight, an individual performance from a rookie who has played more games in the D-League this year than he has in the big leagues. Ramon Sessions, who we just highlighted in our feature about seven NBA late-bloomers, outdid Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, etc… at least for one night and in one statistical category. Capping off one of the best six-game stretches any PG in the league has had all season, the rookie 2nd-round pick from Nevada calmly managed the Bucks offense for 44:30 high-octane minutes and walked off the floor not only the owner of a league-wide high for 2007-08 in assists, but also two all-time Milwaukee Bucks records.
With a quick flick of the ball to an open Jake Voskuhl just outside the elbow, Sessions logged his 22nd assist on the night, one more than the Bucks’ franchise previous high (Guy Rogers had 21 in the late ’60s). He wasn’t done.
By the time he was through, the youngster had established a new NBA season-high in assists with 24 “dirty dishes,” as the Bucks’ broadcast crew said, and become the first Buck to ever go for 20 and 20 in a single game. Oscar Robertson never did it. Neither did Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Michael Redd still hasn’t either. His final line: 20 points, 24 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block.
I said a lot of nice things about this kid in yesterday’s feature, but maybe I did him a disservice when I said that “perhaps the Bucks had found a quality backup.” It’s still very early in Sessions’ career, and his jump shot has a long ways to go, but maybe there’s something else here, something more than just “quality backup” in his pro basketball acumen. The Bucks certainly hope so.
Under normal circumstances, it’s a little harder to celebrate individual achievement when it’s still not enough to get the team win. But this was just another meaningless, late-season NBA game in the Midwest between two bad teams, right? Sessions (and his teammates, as well as the Bulls) spiced it up, however, by bringing a healthy dose of excitement and watchability to the game instead of phoning it in. And once I tuned in at the start of the third quarter, I didn’t turn the channel. And I’m certainly not a Bucks or a Bulls homer… and I only have one little bed for one fat cat.