Bucks looking forward to their first playoff series in four yearsWisconsin Sports
-- Milwaukee guard John Salmons says the Bucks have nothing to lose – and they’ll play like it during their first-round N-B-A playoff series with Atlanta that starts tomorrow.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee guard John Salmons says the Bucks have nothing to lose – and they’ll play like it during their first-round NBA playoff series with Atlanta that starts tomorrow.
Salmons gave the Bucks a huge lift after being traded from Chicago in mid-February. Milwaukee went 22-8 the past two months to earn its first playoff spot since 2006. But they lost a key player when center Andrew Bogut broke his right hand two weeks ago. Had Bogut not been hurt, Salmons says the Bucks probably wouldn’t be an underdog against the up-and-coming Hawks – who are making their third straight post-season appearance.
But rookie point guard Brandon Jennings says the Bucks shouldn’t miss all that much. He says Bogut’s replacement – Kurt Thomas – is a playoff veteran who’s been on some great teams. Thomas has 82 post-season games under his belt. And veteran forward Jerry Stackhouse has been in 65 playoff contests.
No matter what happens, Bucks’ coach Scott Skiles says the experience will be especially valuable for his young players who’ve never been to the playoffs – Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Skiles says the big thing will be to believe in each other, and play with heart.
Former Bucks’ assistant Lionel Hollins has agreed to a three-year contract extension as the head coach at Memphis. Hollins was on Scott Skiles’ staff in their first year in Milwaukee when the Grizzlies hired him away in January of 2009. This season, Memphis went 40-42 – a vast improvement from the previous three years, when they had 24, 22, and 22 victories.
In other NBA news, former University of Wisconsin player Kim Hughes was fired yesterday as the interim coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. He took over when Mike Dunleavy resigned on February fourth. Hughes finished the season 8-25, as the Clippers went 29-53 on the year.