Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 26-28
New York Knicks (19-35)
Time: 6:30 (CST)
Brandon Jennings vs. Chris Duhon
The last time the Bucks and Knicks met, Duhon had been relegated to the bench and Nate Robinson had made his triumphant return to the starting lineup. Now Robinson has been traded and Duhon’s back in the saddle, which is of course a good thing for the Bucks. Think of Duhon as Jennings, without the same play-making ability and no hope for the future. Expect to see plenty of Eddie House and Sergio Rodriguez running the show next to T-Mac.
John Salmons vs. Tracy McGrady
Skiles said before Saturday’s game that he wanted to get a road and a home game in for John Salmons before he inserted him into the starting line up, so I suspect he’ll be on the court from the tip on Saturday, but with the job he’s done off the bench nothing is certain. McGrady scored 26 points in his first game with the Knicks, even if he was out of gas by the start of OT. McGrady is still finding his legs, but already looks better that Michael Redd did when he was “finding his legs.” Funny how that works out, isn’t it? T-Mac can still pass as well as most guards in the league and is a capable scorer, if not the dynamo he once was. His passing fits well with the group of three-point shooters the Knicks have. Salmons will have to test McGrady and make him work on defense if he’s going to get winded easily.
Carlos Delfino vs. Wilson Chandler
Delfino’s 1-7 outing from deep on Saturday plummeted him down to 34 percent on the month from long distance after a sizzling 40 percent effort in January. If Delfino is hitting threes he brings another dimension to the Bucks game. He’s a perfect outlet for the drive and kick game John Salmons had going Saturday and has to be respected by his defender individually due to his driving prowess. If his three is falling, he’s a downright dangerous offensive player. Chandler is athletic and can get to the bucket, but worries me less now that more talent is around him. Lost in the shuffle he will be I assume.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Danilo Gallinari
Gallinari is the type of power forward LRMAM was made to defend. Primarily a three-point specialist from outside, Gallinari won’t punish LRMAM inside or beat him to the glass very often. LRMAM could have some problems if he tries to leave “The Rooster” early to get to the boards, as the Knicks have some capable passers and could find their sharpest shooter at any moment waiting behind the arc.
Andrew Bogut vs. David Lee
A rematch of a match that didn’t take place. Bogut had to leave the Garden in the first due to the untimely striking of a migraine a few weeks back and Lee went on to drop 30/15. Bogut had scored on his first three attempts and later said he felt like he was going to have a career day, so he’ll get his chance again Monday night. Lee is a power forward that will have loads of problems trying to match-up with the burly Bucks center inside. Lee has great athleticism, but lacks the requisite strength needed to keep Bogut away from his comfort zone around the hoop. It could be a huge day full of baby hooks and drop shots in close for Bogut. Lee could do some damage in transition, but I anticipate Bogut won’t stand for 30 points out of the Knicks center this time.
Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas, Charlie Bell and Jerry Stackhouse
Eddie House, Al Harrington, Sergio Rodriguez and Jonathan Bender
Ersan had a field day with Bogut out of the lineup in the last Knicks-Bucks meeting, so he may have a comfort that will entail good things. Ridnour hasn’t had the same opportunities lately with the shooting guard position become less of an opportunity for him and his shot not falling as consistently. The Knicks additions of House and Rodriguez were wise, as they fit perfectly in the Knicks helter-sketler system. Rodriguez in particular may be starting by season’s end. He’s been aching for an opportunity to run since entering the league.
Prediction: Bucks 109 – Knicks 104
The Knicks are a much more dangerous team than they were when the Bucks last visited New York. McGrady has done so much damage to the Bucks over the years, it’s as if he hates the color green and needs to get revenge. Keeping him from looking too rejuvenated will be a key, as will stopping the Knicks bevy of three-point shooters (Gallinari, House and Harrington in particular) from getting going.