Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 12 – 16
(Likely) Inactives: Joe Alexander, Roko Ukic and Dan Gadzuric
Charlotte Bobcats (Larry Brown) 11-17
(Likely) Inactives: Tyson Chandler, Alexis Ajinca and Acie Law
Time: 6:00 (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin
Brandon Jennings vs. Ray Felton
We may be forced to wait until Michael Redd is gone to see Brandon Jennings blossom once again. It’s not so much the misses that have been troubling out of Jennings lately, it’s the passiveness. It’s almost as if he’s trying to over pass to Redd because he knows that’s the only way he’ll get out of Milwaukee. The Bucks could sorely use some more decisive drives out of Jennings though. With Redd on the court, he’s been reduced to a perimeter passer and shooter. There has been very few moments of drive and kick or drive and drop passes to Bogut. And the pick and roll that once worked so well with Andrew Bogut has become woefully ineffective lately. Just one of the many things going wrong in Milwaukee as of late. Oddly enough, Jennings is still taking care of the ball and racking up assists, so it’s hard to complain too much. But the Bucks need him to do so much more than just manage the game.
Michael Redd vs. Stephen Jackson
Word is that Jodie Meeks might get a start on Monday night, and in that case Redd will likely slide over to the two and the Bucks will likely start out poorly again, as Redd cannot hang with Gerald Wallace and Meeks likely will have trouble against Stephen Jackson. Coach Skiles was asked before the game Saturday if Redd and Jennings were a tough fit together because they both needed the ball to be effective, here was his response:
I’ve never understood what that means because who doesn’t need the ball? Even if I drive down the lane and I throw a lob up to Bogut he has to catch it and dunk it to be effective. At some point it has to be in his hands. So I’ve never understood what that means aside from a stiff who’s just out there screening for everybody, and then you can’t have him in the game because he can’t make a basket.
When the Bucks were then getting blown out midway through the second quarter later that evening I looked down at Michael Redd’s line to see 2-9 shooting, four points and zero rebounds/assists/steals. So unless Michael Redd was shooting, he literally was doing nothing to help the Bucks. I think that might be someone being ineffective without the ball. The Bobcats have been riding Captain Jack for over 40 minutes a night and he seems to have free reign on offense. It hasn’t resulted in a lot of great nights, but the Bucks defense of recent memory could help him with that.
Carlos Delfino vs. Gerald Wallace
Wallace’s rebounding is hard to keep considering an anomaly at this point. He’s still at 11.9 rebounds per game after never eclipsing eight a night before this year. The most logical explanations for the board boon would be the Bobcats generally poor team shooting percentage of 43.8 and the loss of Emeka Okafor to New Orleans. Tyson Chandler has been playing hurt and only grabbing around eight rebounds a night, leaving lots to be grabbed. Whether it’s Delfino, Redd or Meeks that gets stuck on Wallace they’ll have their hands full with him on offense and defense. In Charlotte’s visit to the Bradley Center last month, Wallace seemed content to shoot jumpers, but I don’t expect that same Wallace to show up at home.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Boris Diaw
After squaring off with the rebound hungry DeJuan Blair on Saturday, I’m sure Ilyasova will be much happier facing Diaw, who’s considerably more at home floating around the perimeter and acting as a point forward. Blair never stopped working for rebounds and was an absolute load to keep off the glass. Ilyasova has been in a fierce tailspin of late and his confidence looks to be at an all-time low. The pump faking is back in full force and that never results in anything good for him. He’s at his best when he’s decisive and shooting on catches.
Andrew Bogut vs. Nazr Mohammed
I’d feel a lot better about Bogut’s chances in this game, and every game, if he could develop anything from 15 feet. It’s so hard for him to be consistent when only relying on baby and sweeping hooks. It may not seem like it, but those are incredibly tough shots and always leave him out of position when it comes to rebounding. It’s hard to ever be consistent or dominant with those as your only moves and that’s why we see some game where Bogut can shoot 14-18 and others where he ends 6-20. That’s just the kind of swings that hook shots allow for. He’s never going to get easy dunks, but if a team had to respect him from 15 feet he may have an easier time getting to the basket. Bogut has a good chance to be effective against this team, especially with Tyson Chandler out. Mohammed has remarkably shot over 60 percent this year and has pretty much played out of his min, but doesn’t bring a lot on defense.
Jodie Meeks, Luke Ridnour, Hakim Warrick, Kurt Thomas and Charlie Bell
Derrick Brown, D.J. Augustin, Stephen Graham and Ronald Murray
Not a lot here for the Bobcats as they play two of their starters over 40 minutes a night. It’ll be interesting to see how Jodie Meeks does after a very strong game against the Spurs. He’s probably the Bucks most athletic guard and would be well served to take it to the hoop more often and up his aggressiveness. Hakim Warrick played well Saturday, but it was mostly garbage jumpers that happened to fall, not exactly the blueprint to success for him.
Prediction: Bobcats 99 – Bucks 89
The Bobcats are 10-4 at home coming into this game, so it’d be quite an upset if the typically terrible road Bucks can pull this one off. Heading to Orlando next doesn’t bode well for Milwaukee either. This week could be an especially long one for Milwaukee Buck fans, as the playoff spot the Bucks have been fighting to hold onto may fall out of their hands before Saturday’s game at home against the Thunder.