MILWAUKEE Fear the Deer is more than just an antiquated catch-phrase that once upon a time was applicable to the Milwaukee Bucks.
It is real right now!
No team in the Eastern Conference is playing better basketball than the Bucks, who come into tonight's game against Boston riding a six-game winning streak.
Milwaukee (21-24) has risen from an injury-riddled club bound for the NBA lottery, to one that's entrenched in the playoff race with the likes of the Celtics (24-21) just a couple games ahead of them.
The Bucks are currently in ninth place in the East after a 4-9 start to the season.
"They've played well, they're playing together and they're making shots," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "They're just cranking; they're playing well."
In the midst of their recent run, the Bucks added high-scoring guard Monta Ellis via a trade with Golden State, giving Milwaukee a lethal backcourt scoring tandem with Ellis (21.6 points per game) paired with Brandon Jennings who has been the Bucks' top scorer this season with 18.8 points per game.
"Monta's a great scorer," said Jennings, who added that the trade did come as a surprise. "I'm happy to have him. He can take a lot of pressure off me and a lot of other players out here."br>
Bucks coach Scott Skiles acknowledged that there were discussion about whether to pursue the trade when at the time, Milwaukee was riding a then-four game winning streak.
"You can't make every trade based on what's happening now," Skiles said. "It's also got to be based on looking forward. Hopefully anytime you make a roster move, you're thinking about short-term and long term, and not necessarily in that order."
In addition to Ellis, Milwaukee also added former first-round pick Ekpe Udoh who provides added depth for the Bucks front court.
"So far, Monta and Ekpe have fit in really well," Skiles said. "We just have to hope to keep it going."