The Milwaukee Bucks are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA. Although they keep doing quite well, they don’t get much respect.
Even Sunday night when they held off the powerful Portland Trail Blazers, 117-112, for their 15th consecutive victory at home, it was downplayed.
The Trail Blazers, losing for only the fourth time in 31 games, were tired. They were playing their fourth game in five nights on a trip East that began on Christmas.
Coach Rick Adelman and his players were angry because they had to fly cross country to New York instead of spending the holiday with their families. They took their anger out on the Knicks, Charlotte and Cleveland and Milwaukee--for a while.
The Blazers led, 76-74, with three minutes left in the third quarter when Ricky Pierce, who had 31 points in 31 minutes as a substitute, led a 16-5 surge that put Milwaukee ahead, 90-81.
Pierce had four of the Bucks’ 12 three-point baskets in a game in which there were a record 21 three-pointers by the two teams. The previous mark was 20, set on Feb. 9, 1989 by Sacramento and Golden State. The Kings had an NBA record 16 three-pointers in that game.
The Trail Blazers had one run left in the fourth quarter. They fought back to tie, 108-108. But Pierce sank a jump shot and Clyde Drexler missed two free throws with 1:38 left. Frank Brickowski made two free throws, and the Portland rally fell short.
Although the Bucks, the only team that hasn’t lost at home, lead the tough Central Division with a 21-8 record, nobody believes Del Harris’s team is really that good.
The Bucks, who have had problems on the road, beat the New York Knicks Saturday night at New York.
Charles Oakley, an angry Knick, said, “The Bucks are not really a powerhouse, but they play well together.”
Adelman said that the schedulemaker, if he wanted the Trail Blazers to play on the road the day after Christmas, should have sent them to nearby Seattle. But he wouldn’t use the trip as the excuse for the Blazers’ third road loss in 15 games.
“It was their deadly shooting from outside that beat us,” he said. “Even the way they were shooting, we had a chance to win it. I’m proud of the way this team battled. We came back from 12 points in the last quarter to tie. We didn’t have anything left.”
The Trail Blazers, who are runaway leaders of the Pacific Division, return home to play the Lakers Thursday night.
Minnesota 126, Seattle 106--The Timberwolves ended a seven-game losing streak with their finest offensive performance. The previous record was 125 points in overtime against Philadelphia early last season.
The Timberwolves, the poorest shooting team in the league, had a string of eight consecutive baskets in the first quarter.
The SuperSonics, looking weary in their third road game in four nights, lost their second in a row after winning six in a row.