Game 73 Preview: Bucks vs. Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 40-32
Los Angeles Clippers (Kim Hughes) 27-46
Time: 7:00 (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin
Brandon Jennings vs. Steve Blake
Baron Davis is not accompanying the Clippers on their road trip due to back spasms, leaving Blake at the helm. This is significantly good news for the Bucks. Davis is quite physically imposing and really played well the last time these teams met. Blake is more of a fit in kind of guy, rather than a take over kind of guy. He can hit threes and he runs an okay game, but he won’t be able to punish Jennings or harass him too much defensively.
John Salmons vs. Eric Gordon
Both are big scorers and both good defenders, with Davis out the Clippers will probably need a little more from Gordon to pick up the slack offensively. If Delfino doesn’t play, Salmons may be spending some more time at the three again, as the Bucks had a lot of success using Luke Ridnour at the two and Salmons at the three against Memphis on Sunday. Charlie Bell has really been struggling since moving to the bench and can’t appear to get in a rhythm like he once did. If he’s not shooting well, he doesn’t bring a ton.
Carlos Delfino vs. Rasual Butler
Delfino didn’t play in the Bucks loss in L.A. and he may miss Tuesday’s game as well. The Bucks need shooters and playmakers on the court if the Clippers fall into a zone as they did on March 15th, so Delfino’s health could really have an impact on this game. If he doesn’t play and Ridnour’s getting more minutes at the two, it puts the Bucks at a disadvantage defensively, as Eric Gordon’s going to have quite a mismatch on him. If Delfino is playing and is hitting the three, the Bucks are infinitely more difficult to zone.
Advantage: Bucks (if Delfino plays)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Drew Gooden
Gooden played well last game and has been pretty good overall as a Clipper, averaging a double-double since the trade deadline. Milwaukee also struggled with backup power forward Craig Smith, as he was able to use his power advantage to toss around the lanky Bucks fours a little bit. Milwaukee has had trouble with stronger fours that really dig in to their positions the way Smith did in the last meeting or how Zach Randolph did in the Memphis game. Since they last met, Smith’s had a game of 25 points and 10 rebounds, so expect to see plenty of him on Tuesday night.
Andrew Bogut vs. Chris Kaman
Bogut played nearly 45 minutes against Memphis on Sunday, so hopefully he’s still feeling spry after missing last Friday’s game against the Heat with a back issue. He didn’t really make a big impact against the Clippers last game, especially when they went to a zone. Coach Skiles thought that game was the first more passive game Bogut played, where he wasn’t really making quick decisions or taking it at his defenders. He played much better Sunday against Memphis and Marc Gasol, so hopefully he can keep that up against Kaman and the Clippers.
Jerry Stackhouse, Luke Ridnour, Ersan Ilyasova and Kurt Thomas
Travis Outlaw, Steve Novak, DeAndre Jordan, Bobby Brown and Craig Smith
Stackhouse has been pretty miserable as of late. In his last five games, he’s 10-37 from the field and 2-19 from behind the arc. Those are mid-season Jennings bad type numbers. It’s unlikely that Stack is wearing down, as he didn’t come on till January, so this appears to be some different type of lull. The Bucks are going to need to get a lot more out of him going forward though. Thomas played a little bit of the four on Sunday and would be a nice option there against the Craig Smith’s of the world, but then the Bucks would have to go to Dan Gadzuric or Primoz Brezec as backup center, and that looks like something that just cannot happen. Gadzuric hit the bottom of the rim with a layup on Sunday and I’m still tripping over Brezec falling down over his own feet in the lane on Friday. Backup center is a position that will need to be addressed next season.
Prediction: Milwaukee 105 – Los Angeles 95
The Clippers are a brutal defensive team, but you wouldn’t have known it from the last Bucks-Clippers game. That probably hasn’t sat well with Milwaukee and you know it didn’t sit well with Coach Skiles. I’m sure he’ll be reminding the Bucks of their last game against this team and informing them that he hasn’t forgotten about how unacceptable their effort was. If the Bucks win this one, they depart for Cleveland having gone 3-2 on this homestand, which was probably not what they were hoping for this time last week, having just beat the Hawks. But winning homestands are winning homestands and they sure are a lot better than losing ones. The Bucks have plenty to play for Tuesday night.
Categories: Game Previews