The Bucks don’t do a lot of back to backing, at least they haven’t yet this year. After the up-coming couplet with Toronto, the Bucks have double takes with Miami and Washington later on this year. In the interest of avoiding repetitiveness, this preview is intended to cover the both of the Raptors games. In reward for your going along with this, I’ll do my best to cook up a fun little feature in lieu of a preview before the Raps game on Friday.
Milwaukee Bucks (16-23)
(Probable) Inactives: Francisco Elson and Joe Alexander
Toronto Raptors (21-21)
(Probable) Inactives: Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Reggie Evans
Dates: 1/20/2010 & 1/22/2010
Time: 7:00 (CST) & 6:00 (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin & None (Boooo)
Brandon Jennings vs. Jarrett Jack
Jennings is coming off a statistically aesthetically pleasing game against the Rockets. This is no small feat, as he hasn’t done a lot of fine box score work in the past month or two. It will be fun to see how he performs against a larger guard coming off a strong game. Jack checks in at 6’3, 202 pounds and has taken the reigns as the starting point guard in Toronto after the team’s upswing under his guidance with Jose Calderon out for a while in the last two months. Since the start of December, Jack has been up around 50 percent shooting and hitting nearly 40 percent of his threes. He also provides more defense than Calderon, who has never been known as a lockdown defender at the point.
Charlie Bell vs. DeMar Derozan
Bell may be hearing footsteps and if he’s not now he could be soon. When Scott Skiles was first asked about Jerry Stackhouse he said he’d be active immediately and was brought here to play. Now, he didn’t say Stackhouse would be starting or anything like that, but given the meager production the Bucks have gotten out of their two guards and Bell’s in and out of the rotation leaps this year, who knows what will happen by next or even this weeks’ end. When Bell is playing to his strengths (catching and shooting and not dribbling the ball) and afforded a good match-up (teams with small shooting guards or the slower type if they are sizable) he can be effective. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for him to flourish on both sides of the ball for lots of minutes. DeRozan is a difficult match-up for Bell, athletic, long and attacking when he’s involved. This could prove difficult for Bell.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Hedo Turkoglu
Much like most of the Raptors, Turkoglu struggled mightily against the Bucks in the Raptors last venture to the Bradley Center in early December. I like to attribute at least some of those struggles to LRMAM, who may be the perfect defensive counterpart for Turkoglu. Mbah a Moute is as lengthy as Turkoglu and equally as quick. If stopping Turkoglu is an important part of shutting down a potent Toronto offense, then the Bucks have an early lead on slowing them. Tukoglu is a very good distributor and meshes well with a shoot first point guard who certainly will never be known as a world class ball distributor.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Chris Bosh
There certainly is some mystery to Ilyasova’s nine minute performance on Monday. He didn’t play bad or good, he was just there and I guess that’s not enough to earn playing time these days, especially with Hakim Warrick’s recent resurgence. Whether Ilyasova or Bogut defend Bosh will probably dictate how he operates, he’ll likely head inside more on Ilyasova than he would on the stronger and larger Bogut. Bosh has a terrific mid-range game and is having a career year in terms of scoring and rebounding. He’s also getting to the line nine times a game and hitting 78 percent of them and, if you haven’t heard, the Bucks have a problem with allowing that sort of thing.
Andrew Bogut vs. Andrea Bargnani
Bogut may have an issue chasing Bargnani around the three-point line, but he should be able to muscle up the Italian for some easy buckets inside. I guess this is going to be an interesting battle between flawed number one picks not capable of carrying teams by themselves. The difference between these two is one is proficient offensively with consistency and the other gets it done on the glass and defense every night. Personally, I’ll take the Bucks end.
Hakim Warrick, Luke Ridnour, Carlos Delfino, Kurt Thomas and introducing … JERRY STACKHOUSE
Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson, Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright
The Bucks powerful bench is among the highest scoring units in the league thanks largely to Warrick and Ridnour. Whether or not Stackhouse can shore up the wing deficiencies they’ve had sans Mike Redd. Calderon is as good of a shooter as any player in the league and could probably still be starting in the league for a good team so long as it was the right one. Johnson isn’t blocking as many shots as he used to, but he’s still fouling at an insane pace. Neither Belinelli or Wright can get their shooting percentages over 40, which actually makes them perfect candidates for a job with the Bucks any day now.
Prediction(s): Bucks 107 – Raptors 105 & Raptors 111 – Bucks 98
No team needs a home game like the Bucks right now, given the pains they had on their marathon trip out West. That alone should be enough to get them a W against a fairly average Raptors squad, right? Given the inconsistencies the Bucks have endured for the large part of this season though, I wouldn’t take that for granted.
The road may yet again prove to be a different story though. The Raptors traditionally have a very supportive home crowd and their typically solid home win totals reflect that. 13-6 at home this year and 8-15 on the road tells the tale of this year’s Raptors.