Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 41-32
Cleveland Cavaliers (Mike Brown) 58-16
Date: March 31st, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin
Brandon Jennings vs. Mo Williams
Williams struggled mightily in the Cavs trip to Milwaukee in early March, scoring just seven points while shooting 3-17 from the field. Even worse, he was dealing with a hot shooting and especially lippy version of Brandon Jennings. Jennings, sporting a red Mohawk that had Lebron James calling him “The Rooster” torched the Cavs for 25 points and many more than 25 words for the Cavs typically chipper bench. There was no dancing from Cleveland on that dark day in Milwaukee. But Williams and the Cavs will surely be looking for some redemption, largely at Jennings expense Wednesday night. Whether or not Jennings will be ready to back up the chatter from his last performance will be an interesting subplot.
John Salmons vs. Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker is a reliable shooter and he’s got some size for a two guard. Aside from that, there appears to be some question about whether or not the Cavs are better off with him getting minutes or the duo of Boobie Gibson and Jamario Moon. Moon is crazy athletic and Gibson’s hitting nearly 43% of his threes, so they both offer something. Parker kind of offers less of each of what they best offer, but more of the other things they don’t so much offer. It’s a conundrum. Moon might see a lot of time trying to keep Salmons from getting in the paint and to the basket, where he’s been at his best for Milwaukee this year.
Carlos Delfino (hopefully) vs. Lebron James
James was said to be especially displeased with Jennings display. Watch out.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Antawn Jamison
Jamison lit up Milwaukee last game, hitting shots from all over to the tune of 30 points. I doubt he’ll replicate this performance, but he bears watching nonetheless. Jamison has been a surprisingly good three-point shooter for the Cavs, hitting 42.9% in the month of March, but equally as surprisingly bad at the free-throw line, hitting only 39% of his freebies in the month. LRMAM has been struggling lately, but his minutes being down probably has as much to do with an uptick in Ersan Ilyasova’s production this month as it has to do with his own shaky play. Jamison is a good size matchup for LRMAM though. But believe that LRMAM will see his share of minutes on Lebron Wednesday.
Andrew Bogut vs. J.J. Hickson
Hickson’s seen some time at center with Shaquille O’Neal out of the lineup and could see some time against Bogut, but I don’t think he really wants it with Bogut down low. Anderson Varejao is questionable for Wednesday’s game and without him Cleveland is left with only Illgauskas and Hickson to stop Bogut. Hickson is simply too little and Big Z is simply too slow. Bogut should have an advantage all night, if Varejao doesn’t go.
Jerry Stackhouse, Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour, Charlie Bell and Kurt Thomas
Delonte West, Leon Powe, Zydrunas Illgauskas and Jamario Moon
The Cavs have a deep bench, boasting a little size, some three point shooting and athleticism. Plus Delonte West destroys the Bucks. Rarely is the Bucks bench so outmanned like they will be against Cleveland Wednesday night. And it’s the second game of a back-to-back on the road. Sigh. Fortunately, the Bucks got another great game out of Ilyasova against the Clippers and had a rebound game from Stackhouse. The Bucks will need all hands on deck against the Cavs.
Prediction: Cavaliers 98 – Bucks 90
Cleveland is either the best or second best team in the East. The Bucks are somewhere between third and sixth best. Unfortunately, the divide between the top two teams and the rest of the East is Grand Canyon sized. Pulling this one out, against a Cavs team that may not be too pleased with the Bucks (Jennings specifically) may be too much to hope for.