Dallas Mavericks (Rick Carlisle) 6-3
(Likely) Inactives: Josh Howard, Tim Thomas and Shawne Williams
Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 5-2
(Likely) Inactives: Joe Alexander, Francisco Elson and Michael Redd
Game time: 7:00 (Cnt)
TV: NBA TV
Brandon Jennings vs. Jason Kidd
Scott Skiles said after Jennings’ incredible 55 point game one of the first things he told Jennings after the game was, “Congratulations. Now go home, you get Jason Kidd on Monday.” While it may sound terrifying to have to play against Jason Kidd, the reality at this point is much different. Kidd is essentially a spot up shooter with a high basketball IQ and average defensive ability. His foot speed as eroded to the point that if he guards Jennings at all before the last few possessions of the game I’ll be surprised. Yes, Kidd can still ignite and lead a fast break with the best of them. And he can still run the pick and roll or find Dirk in rhythm. But his main purpose in the half court offense Dallas runs is to camp outside the three point arc and wait for Dirk to kick it out. Kidd’s shooting six shots per game, with roughly four of them being three point attempts. If a body is on him he won’t hurt the Bucks too bad in the half court. But if the Bucks are missing shots and the Mavs can grab rebounds, Kidd can be a very valuable conductor of the fast break. Sometimes offense is the most affective neutralizer a defense can have.
Charlie Bell vs. Rodrigue Beaubois
Entertaining match-up alert! If I were to place a wager on something, I’d wager that Beaubois starts the game covering Brandon Jennings. Who is Beaubois you ask? Only the owner of one of the coolest names in the entire NBA. Rodrigue was traded from Oklahoma City to Dallas on draft night and then spent the summer earning rave reviews for his work in the Vegas Summer League. He averaged more points, shot a higher percentage than Brandon Jennings and had nearly as many highlight worthy plays. With Josh Howard out for this one, Beaubois will get the start if Sunday is any indication. Beaubois supposedly has Rajon Rondo type athleticism. Here’s a tidbit on the young man from Rob at TheTwoManGame.com, a Dallas Mavericks blog.
Before Rodrigue Beaubois becomes a Tony Parker or a Rajon Rondo doppleganger, we’ll have hundreds of opportunities to freak out and then mellow out when it comes to his potential. Beaubois is going to make mistakes, and he’s going to do some things incredibly well.
Carlos Delfino vs. Shawn Marion
Delfino was sidelined with a stomach ailment against the Warriors on Saturday, but should return against the Mavs. Marion was one of the big acquisitions the Mavericks made this off-season in an attempt to make another run with Dirk. It’ s just too bad they didn’t acquire the Marion of five years ago. Since Marion has left Phoenix, his numbers have plummeted and his value has declined. With a game based largely on athleticism and tempo, age and new teams have not been kind of Marion. In Phoenix he was able to run around, shoot the occasional three, block shots and play passing lanes. Virtually every play was played at 100 miles per hour in the helter skelter system Mike D’Antoni ran. Since then he’s been in systems that don’t play to those strengths and it’s rendered him much less affective. After leaving Phoenix he’s still yet to shoot over 50%, his three point shooting has dropped from a typical rate of 33% to 20% in all games played post Phoenix (28-139) and his blocks and steals have come down from 2 and 1.5 per game to the current rate of 1.3 and .9. At least Dallas has three more years guaranteed with him. Still, he’s better than Delfino. Per dollar though, not so much.
Hakim Warrick vs. Dirk Nowitzki
What’s that Hakim Warrick? You have trouble defending forwards who can shoot from the outside and use their size on you? Well, Dirk Nowitzki shouldn’t be too much to handle then, right? You get the picture. Dirk probably saw all the hoopla surrounding Jennings’ 29 point quarter and scoffed, since he did the same thing only a few weeks ago. Expect Dirk to see lots of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, mixed in with some Ersan Ilyasova and Warrick.
Andrew Bogut vs. Erick Dampier
Bogut and Dampier share the bond of having been ridiculed by Shaquille O’Neal together. Shaq once called Dampier “Erica” and then referred to Bogut as “the white Dampier”. Ass. Bogut isn’t getting mixed up with the Dampier’s of the world anymore. The Aussie has had double doubles in four of his last five games and has been the juice to Brandon Jennings’ gin in each of the rookie’s explosion games. The teammate highlight of the Bucks season to date was Jennings alley-oop to Bogut during the third quarter of the Warriors game. At the rate he’s going right now, Bogut is going to make people look hard and long at him for a spot on the Eastern Conference all-star team. Dampier? He missed Sunday’s game with an illness and may or may not play against Milwaukee. He continues to rebound and block shots (nearly at career high rates), including one 20 rebound game this year already. If Bogut can keep him off the offensive glass (if he plays) it’ll go a long way towards getting the Bucks a win.
Luke Ridnour, LRMAM, Ersan Ilyasova, Jodie Meeks and Dan Gadzuric
Jason Terry, Jose Barea, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden and Quinton Ross
Terry can still score. But it’s possible the Bucks will luck out and get Bad Jason Terry on Monday. Bad Jason Terry has played the last three Maverick games. He’s shot 37% (13-35) and averaged 13.3 points per game. Good Jason Terry played the three games before that. He shot 71% (27-38) and averaged 26 points per game. After Terry the Mavs bring Jose Barea, once referred to as “The Spanish Iverson” for his quickness and instant offense at a diminutive stature. Humphires was a surprise during the pre-season and actually is giving them quality minutes as the primary back-up to Dampier. Oddly enough, Drew Gooden got the start over Humphries on Sunday when Damp was unavailable. Gooden is a flakey, poor defending power forward who masquerades as a center and occasionally scores. Ross is the defensive stopper, so expect him to get a few minutes on Jennings at some point. If Jodie Meeks is able to start knocking down some of the open looks he’s been getting, the Bucks bench becomes some what formidable. Ersan has been providing the same scrappy hustle play all year and they get maximum effort out of everyone. Meeks has been the most aggressive offensive player off the bench, but has been a little short on a lot of his shots. I expect him to have made the necessary adjustments and play well Monday.
Prediction: Bucks 93 – Mavs 84
There is no way the Bucks allow a big offensive outing out of the Mavericks Monday after the way Golden State torched their previously bullet proof defense in the last game. Hearing Skiles harp about that for the last two days has likely got the players excited to go Monday night. Also on Milwaukee’s side? History. The Bucks are a tidy 25-6 all time against Dallas at home including only three losses in the last 20 years. The story Monday will be about whether the Bucks were able to contain Dirk Nowitzki and make the other Mavs step up. Coach Rick Carlisle has already had to call out the Mavs on their effort level, something you probably won’t be hearing about in Milwaukee this year.