I before E: Pacers vs. Bucks preview

By Jon R. LaFollette (@JonFilet) and Dave Searle (@DaveSearle)

Jon: Remember our Eastern Conference preview podcast? Remember when you and I pegged Milwaukee to make the postseason? Remember when we had faith in a franchise that gave $44 million to Larry Sanders? Remember when we thought coach Larry Drew would be refreshed in his first year out of Atlanta? Remember when we thought a Brandon Knight – OJ Mayo backcourt was a slight improvement over the Brandon Jennings-Monta Ellis backcourt? Remember when Herb Cole, the team’s elderly owner, vowed to never tank, and would rather have his team compete for a meaningless eight seed than a shot at Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle?

I feel bad for any long-suffering fan of the deer. How lame it must be to watch a perpetually disparate team play in one of the NBA’s most jank arenas. The coolest part of the Bucks over the last few seasons has been those sweet retro jerseys with the skinny font. I’m a man of refined fonts.

Behold!

Font so cool even Sam Dalembert looks neato!

Dave: Well, let’s be fair here. The Bucks have been riddled with injuries. Ersan Ilyasova is out for the foreseeable future. Luke Ridnour has yet to play a game. Brandon Knight, Gary Neal, and Zaza Pachulia all missed Wednesday’s game against the Magic (a game the Bucks narrowly lost), and Caron Butler left the game early with a sprained shoulder.

Only five Bucks players have played all seven games this season. Two of those players are Nate Wolters and Khris Middleton, two recent second round picks I couldn’t pick out of a lineup. The situation in Milwaukee is so desperate these two faceless guys are averaging a combined 57 minutes per game. The Bucks are desperate for healthy bodies.

That sounds awful, right? It could not get any worse, could it? It can! We haven’t even mentioned Larry Sanders yet! A bar fight and an animal cruelty charge has turned LARRY SANDERS! – the all-caps destroyer of layups – into Larry Sanders, the troubled wildcard that will miss the next six weeks or so of action.

Phew! That sure puts this 8-0 run into perspective, doesn’t it? With Thanksgiving right around the corner, let’s give thanks for what we have as Pacers fans. Let’s watch some videos of Paul George destroying Larry Sanders:

Jon: While we’re on the topic of embarrassing things Larry Sanders has done, here’s some of my favorite moments.

How about this fight he picked with the Pacers a few seasons ago? He was more than happy to run over Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert and get ejected from the game for his second technical foul. He was even content to yap at George Hill. Watch, however, as he half-assedly feigns his tough guy act when David West steps up.

But my favorite Larry Sanders gaffe came a few weeks ago when he posted a picture of his misspelled tattoo on Instagram.

“Recieve?”

More like “Fale.”

Moving on to Milwaukee’s backup big man Zaza Pachulia, who is as charitable as Sanders is oblivious.

Looking to pay homage to the franchise’s history, the Bucks were to bring back a classic 1978 court design which featured a giant “M” on either side of the court.

Here’s a diagram.

Pretty nifty, right?

Not for the team’s preseason matchup against the Raptors, which was canceled after the players were slipping and sliding on the slick hardwood.

Observe the chaos.

The team is refurbishing the new court and continuing to use the old design while they wait.

What does this have to do with Zaza, you ask?

When the old court is retired (again), the native Georgian plans to purchase it and donate it to his old school.

“This is my dream,” Pachulia says. “I want to make this happen. It would be really exciting for me, and for the kids in Georgia, to have a chance to play on an NBA floor. So many superstars have played on that court, from the Bucks and other teams.”

-via Grantland

Awesome. Genuine and heartwarming.

Too bad such goodwill won’t translate to the court for Milwaukee. They’re too small, too banged up and utterly outmatched by the Pacers. I see a blowout in the mix – and dare I say the Pacers first 100 point game of the season.

Yes. Yes I do.

Final Score: Pacers 101, Bucks 87.

 

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