Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 0-1
Atlanta Hawks (Mike Woodson) 1-0
Time: 6:00 PM (CST)
TV: NBA TV and FS Wisconsin
Keys for the Bucks
Avoiding a 20 point first half deficit
That’s obvious enough, right?
Must force turnovers
In the Bucks 30-19 third quarter victory on Saturday night, they forced four turnovers. That doesn’t sound like anything to take notice of, but for a team that averages just 12 turnovers a game, four in a quarter is higher than average. Milwaukee was only able to score four points off those turnovers, but it’s important that Milwaukee continues to give themselves opportunities to score after Atlanta’s miscues. Winning the turnover battle and moving the ball well have always been good signs in Milwaukee wins this season.
Regain some control of the paint
The Hawks are so good at blocking shot , it would go a long way towards a Bucks victory if Milwaukee was able to chip in to some of the Hawks dominance inside. In the last two games against Milwaukee, Atlanta has blocked 22 shots. If the Bucks were able to use some of that aggressiveness against Atlanta via pump fakes and clever moves at the hoop, Milwaukee may be able to get to the foul line more. Players have to play within themselves though, so this may be a task best handled by John Salmons and maybe Brandon Jennings. Unfortunately for the Bucks, for all Atlanta’s shot-blocking, they were sixth from the bottom in the league in free throws allowed.
20 3-point attempts seems an okay number for the Bucks. Six makes is a little low though. Salmons’ 0-5 effort and Carlos Delfino’s miss on his only attempt from distance seem aberrations. The Bucks will need to hit threes if they want to win. It’s a crucial part of their post-Andrew Bogut identity, like it or not. If Milwaukee makes 10 threes, they’ll at least be in it all night Tuesday.
Can I Get A …
I have my iTunes on random and Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A…” just came on. It reminds me of something I was longing for after Saturday’s game. I was asking Can I Get A better game Tuesday from Carlos Delfino? Ty over at Courtside Analyst broke Delfino’s game one down well: “Had Carlos Delfino shown up at all, the Bucks probably would have won.” Well, that’s simple. The multi-dimensional Delfino we’d all grown to love over the last seven months was nowhere to be found against the Hawks. There was no attacking Mike Bibby, no creating off the dribble, not even any 30-foot three point shots. Where had Carlos Delfino gone? If Milwaukee can get Delfino to return with a strong game, something like 15 points, seven rebounds, a few assists and two to four three point shots made, they’ll be much better off. As much as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is out on the floor with Delfino, it just makes it all the more important Delfino is delivering on offense, since The Prince is so offensively challenged. But there’s more to Delfino.
I think Delfino is getting an unfair amount of the blame for the Hawks supposed “success” in the post in game one.
I was buying into it originally too, but now that I’m seeing numbers and watching the tape again, I’m asking myself, just how well did the Hawks do in posting up the Bucks in game one?
The Hawks posted up on 18 occasions, connecting on just 6-18 field goals. The Hawks most significant matchup problem for the Bucks, Josh Smith, was just 2-6. Yes, Smith was getting looks inside, but it’s not like he brutalized the Bucks when looking back on it. And Smith is only shooting 42.5% on possessions in which he posts-up this season, does that sound terrifying?
I’d expect Coach Skies to leave Delfino on him and hope for another night like the one Smith had Saturday. If Smith goes just 2-6 on post-ups, Milwaukee limits the turnovers that turn into easy buckets for the Hawks, can force a few more Atlanta turnovers and get a typical game out of Carlos Delfino, I think we might have a lot of very surprised fans walking out of Phillips Arena late Tuesday evening.
(And yes, that’s a lot of ifs.)