Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 8-4
(Likely) Inactives: Joe Alexander, Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
New Orleans Hornets ( Jeff Bower) 6-9
(Likely) Inactives: Chris Paul, Ike Diogu, Hilton Armstrong
Game time: 7:00 (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin
Brandon Jennings vs. Darren Collison
I don’t want to be in Darren Collison’s shoes Wednesday night. Jennings is coming off a 6-21 effort against one of the best defensive teams of the past decade. He’s shown in the past that he’ll use negatives as motivation. The Hornets have the second wort defensive rating in the league, so don’t expect Collison to have the best help in dealing with an angry, motivated Jennings. On the plus side, Collison is probably the Hornets best perimeter defender, if not already their best overall defender. Whether he is or isn’t, he probably has seen plenty of point guards in his four years at UCLA and through his 11 games in the NBA, so while Jennings may not surprise him, he should still prove quite a handful for the rookie.
Michael Redd vs. Devin Brown
I’d expect Redd to regain his form at least to an extent against the Hornets. Another game, another couple days removed from the latest injury and possibly most importantly a few more free throws put up. How did Redd manage to go 1-6 from the line against San Antonio? That probably won’t happen again and he’ll probably be able to round riiiiight back into shape against Devin Brown. Brown doesn’t seem to be very good. From TrueHoop Network’s New Orleans blog, Hornets247:
Why is Devin Brown playing? More importantly, why is he starting?
Carlos Delfino vs. Peja Stojakovic
Stoja has come back to life over the past five games. 19 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over that stretch, while shooting 20-42 from deep. That’s the thing that’s always been consistent about Peja and now he’s even more one dimensional than ever. If Peja is getting room, he’ll hit his open three’s. Kind of like … Matt Bonner. But not really, because Bonner has Tim Duncan opening up space for him and Peja currently has no one. He shouldn’t be too difficult to defend (or score on for that matter) for Delfino. This could be exactly what Delfino needs to have another big game, because it’s starting to look like the one he had was just a fluke at this point.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. David West
I’ve long thought West was one of the most overrated players in the NBA. I’ve always thought West owed all of his success to the greatness that is Chris Paul. Since Paul has been out? 12.6 points and nine rebounds per game. Now, he wasn’t tearing it up this year before Paul went out he was averaging just 15.4 points, down from 17+ points each of the last four years. He and Paul run the pick and pop game very well and West has always had good touch and a nasty streak. But to me he’s simply not much better than Udonis Haslem. They shoot similar percentages from the areas where they shoot, but one shoots a lot more than the other. I do like his nasty streak though. That’s the sort of thing that has the opportunity to set him apart from regular power forwards.
Dan Gadzuric vs. Emeka Okafor
It’s too bad Okafor is saddled with such a large contract. That contract will likely make him very unpopular in New Orleans for the next five years as he puts up low double double numbers and fails to wow like Tyson Chandler would occasionally do on the pick and roll with Paul. Okafor obviously doesn’t have the same connection with Paul that Chandler developed and may never. They had something unspoken, Chandler knew when to cut and Paul knew where to throw the lob. Okafor has seemed more of a rebounder after the pick on Paul’s shots, rather than the beneficiary of his passes. Regardless, with Paul out he won’t have to worry about that Wednesday. Okafor will be Brandon Jennings biggest deterrent at the rim.
Luke Ridnour, Jodie Meeks, Charlie Bell, Kurt Thomas and Hakim Warrick
James Posey, Marcus Thorton, Darius Songaila, Sean Marks and Bobby Brown
I don’t think we’ll have to worry about any one of these guys knocking down six uncontested three’s Wednesday night. Thorton has been playing well since the dismissal of Byron Scott and Posey is a veteran muscle-man defender. After them, there isn’t much here. Assuming Redd starts, Bell will provide another option off the bench for the Bucks and makes their bench even more formidable than it has been lately. If Ridnour has another absentee offensive game, Bell could help take the pressure off for the second unit.
Prediction: Bucks 97 – Hornets 90
This is a great opportunity for the Bucks to get one on the road. The better teams aim to go .500 on the road and dominate at home. Because I’m great at math, I know that winning this game would allow the Bucks to go at minimum .500 on this road trip. The Hornets are without their best player, the Bucks are getting one of their best players back to a regular role in this one. Everything lines up for the Bucks to pull this one out and bounce back from a rough one in San Antonio. Now they just have to get it done.