Bucks Mascot Bango Restores Balance & Respect…Maybe

This past Monday during Game 4 of the Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks inside the Bradley Center, Bucks mascot, Bango, threw down one of the most risky dunk attempts I’ve ever seen. Standing on what must’ve been an 18-foot stepladder, Bango climbed to the very top. Each step higher he went, the more and more fans got up to give a standing ovation. As he finally reached the top step on the ladder, there was a mixture of cheers and breathlessness from the Bucks crowd.

After a spilt second pause on the very top step, Bango did a back flip flying directly over the rim and finishing off the stunt with a very impressive dunk on the other side of the rim on his way down. The stunt not only kept the crowd on it’s feet as the Bucks came out of the longer than normal TV timeout but it also more than made up for Bango’s embarrassing injury last season during NBA All Star Weekend in Phoenix.

Last season, Bango tore his ACL as he accidentally slipped standing on top of the back of the rim while his fellow NBA Mascots shot half court shots. Falling through the rim, Bango’s left leg got tangled up in the net causing the tear in his knee. For the rest of the Bucks 2008-2009 regular season, the Bucks decided against finding a “replacement’ Bango, instead almost comically played around with the injury. After all, it made perfect sense.

Last year Bango was added to the Bucks list of key injuries

Bango was added to all-too-famous Bucks Injury Report along with the best two Bucks players: Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. While Redd and Bogut remained on the bench cheering on the team in suits, the Bucks mascot rolled around the arena in a wheelchair cheering the team on as well. Last year the Bucks’ team chemistry was nearly flawless in that regard.

Now let’s flashback to Game 4’s incredible dunk, unfortunately not all that much has changed as far these three Bucks figures are concerned. Michael Redd is still out, Andrew Bogut out yet again taking a gruesome fall late into the season after a very impressive all around year, and Bango…well he’s back fully healthy performing more tricks above the rim…isn’t he? Doesn’t this dunk say it all and is proof that Bango’s performance has improved just as much as this year’s playoff clinching Bucks team? Not so fast Bucks fans, I think we’ve all could have been misled.

While I’m sure it happens more often than we all would imagine, there’s a strong possibility that Bango was replaced with a stunt man for the job. The stunt man quite possibly could be the NBA mascot without a job, the Seattle Supersonics’ mascot named Sasquatch. Whether or not it was actually Sasquatch can be left up for debate, but one thing’s for certain if the NBA was a university, Bango would be expelled for plagiarism.

The set up, the dunk, and even the after dunk celebration with an array of back handsprings and cartwheels was almost the exact same. So similar, it has to make you wonder whether or not it really was Milwaukee own’s Bango that had lived up to his own team’s motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Did Bango put in the time and effort practicing this very risky stunt or did Bango and the Bucks simply pick up the telephone?

I’ll leave it open for you to decide. Watch the videos and let us know what you think!

4/23/10 NBA Playoffs Game 3’s Predictions

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat- 7 ET

Where will Wade call home next season?

Down two games to none, Wade’s world in Miami could soon be coming to an end. After losing the first two games in the series, Wade’s got to be evaluating what the future has in store for the Heat organization, as well as the big decision he’ll be making this summer. While the majority of this year’s Heat roster comes off the books this summer, there’s no guarantee Wade decides to stay. Miami’s future foundation in Michael Beasley looks all but promising and it’s got to be so frustrating for Wade whose just asking for a little consistency when it comes to Beasley’s production. Wade goes to work each game not knowing who if anybody is going to show up to play and that’s been clear all series long so far.

The Celtics are better off without Kevin Garnett & his trash talk

Having Garnett back only hurts the Celtics especially now that they’re on the road in Miami. As I mentioned in my Game 2 preview of this series, I truly believe the Celtics are a better team without him, not only are they used to playing without them, but their overall chemistry seems better out there on the floor. So having him back and traveling down to Miami is a double no-no, the fans will be all over him for the Game 1 elbow incident with Quentin Richardson. While Garnett is all too familiar with being heckled due to his “punk-ish” behavior ever since being crowned an NBA champion, I see the Heat benefitting from his return at home, more so then the Celtics rallying behind their aging superstar. With the Heat down in a 0-2 hole, I see Miami keeping their hopes alive with a win tonight.

Heat- 85 Celtics-80

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs- 9:30 ET

Spurs are tough to handle behind these three men

The Spurs were hitting on all cylinders in Game 2 earning a win and swinging series and home court advantage to San Antonio. Outside of the big time play of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the key was the first half play of Richard Jefferson. After criticizing him for his far from impacting regular season play, Jefferson helped the Spurs get out of the gate in Game 2. On the road it’s so important and valuable to get off to a strong start from jump and being able to develop a 12 cushion going into the half.

While the Mavericks did make a push in the second half and the great play of Jefferson diminished, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili capitalized on big close to momentum swinging baskets. Whenever the Mavericks were on the verge of a comeback, either Duncan or Ginobili would deliver a dagger quieting the Dallas crowd. Now it’s up to the Mavericks to find a way to steal a road win, the Spurs have put themselves in a great position heading into Game 3 at home. I see the Spurs carrying over the momentum they built in Game 2, and come away with a win over the Mavericks.

Spurs- 97 Mavericks- 91

Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz- 10:30 ET

Under manned and on the road, the Utah Jazz still managed to pull out a huge victory over the Nuggets in Game 2. Now they play host to the Nuggets in Utah where they’ll have a nice opportunity to put the pressure on the Nuggets on the road. Head Coach Jerry Sloan will have his team fully prepared for this critical Game 3, if they were able to win Game 2 adjusting to the Okur injury on the fly, I see no reason they won’t take Game 3 in their own place.

Is he trying call out a play or just flash back gang signs at J.R. Smith?

For the Jazz, it’s pretty evident that Deron Williams will always be the key to the team’s success. The floor general must continue to score the basketball by getting to the basket, drawing fouls and getting easy looks from the line, and by doing so he’ll free up his teammates for open shots. Look for Kyle Korver to impress in Game 3 as he’s been a great boost off the bench so far in this series. Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap will anchor the post play, both doing a solid job in Game 2. On the flipside, the Denver Nuggets will need a better performance from sharpshooter J.R. Smith, in Game 2 the Nuggets’ flamethrower tallied only 9 points hitting just one three on 3-10 shooting. On the road in Utah, Smith plays a huge role in controlling the home crowd. Throughout his career he’s proven to be a guy who steps up on the road and always loves rising to the occasion to quiet a hostile home crowd with a deep three ball. Even with improved play from the Nuggets, I see Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz sliding by with a victory in Game 3.

Jazz- 109 Nuggets- 102