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Enemy: Forum Blue and Gold
I also did a Q and A with the Land O’ Lakers blog at ESPNLA.com. Check it out.
Keyon Dooling vs. Derrick Fisher
Dooling had a moment in the Portland game. He hit three shots in a row, he dunked on Nicolas Batum (kind of), he looked like he may be able to make this thing work after all. It was only a moment though. Soon enough, Earl Boykins had entered the game and taken over the point and Milwaukee watched their deficit grow and grow. Dooling isn’t able to get into the paint the way Brandon Jennings was, and if his jumper isn’t falling he doesn’t offer a ton offensively. He’s not a bad defender though, and plays a smart game. Fisher shoots threes and knows where to be.
John Salmons vs. Kobe Bryant
We’re past the point of wondering whether or not John Salmons has figured things out just because he played a good quarter/half/game the last time the Bucks had a game. It’s a safe bet to assume Salmons will at some point drive the 183 people who watch Bucks games crazy this evening. The hope is that he’ll do more good than bad, but there’s going to be an awful lot of offense running through Salmons with Jennings out, and that just doesn’t seem like such a great idea. Hopefully he’ll get hot. Kobe Bryant plays basketball really well and surely will do so again on Tuesday against the Bucks.
Chris Douglas-Roberts vs. Ron Artest
Artest, while not as quick as he once was, could still give CD-R problems on the defensive end with his size and strength. CD-R doesn’t leave opponents in his dust as much as he leaves them wondering how he managed to get around them and get off such a bizarre looking shot that ended up going in. That type of game seems tailor made for Artest to defend. Milwaukee would love another strong shooting night from CD-R from behind the arc, as they made just four threes in Portland. When the Bucks haven’t shot threes well this season, they’ve rarely competed. That will likely hold true against the Lakers.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Lamar Odom
While Ilyasova struggles figuring out his place with the remade Bucks, Odom has been thriving for the Lakers coming off his strong World Championship’s performance. Oddly enough, Ilyasova played some of his best basketball this summer for Turkey in the same tournament, but has been unable to carry that success over. He’s struggling in every facet of the game and when Drew Gooden has been healthy and breathing over his shoulder for minutes, he’s often appeared to let that take him out of his game. Playing while looking over one’s shoulder isn’t a recipe for success.
Andrew Bogut vs. Pau Gasol
Even if Bogut is able to stop Gasol, the Lakers have such an incredible collection of talent and size up front that they are very likely to dominate the Bucks on the offensive glass just the way the Jazz have this season and how Portland did Monday night. Milwaukee is one of the league’s better rebounding teams this season, but they’ve really struggled against the bigger front lines. Bogut likely won’t be overwhelmed by Gasol, but he can only do so much. Offensively, Milwaukee needs a lot more out of Bogut than five points on seven shots as they got Monday against the Blazers.
Drew Gooden, Earl Boykins, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jon Brockman
Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Andrew Bynum and Matt Barnes
It’s not enough that the Lakers starers all are more talented than Milwaukee’s, but their bench features players who may start for the Bucks. Brown lit the Bucks up in Milwaukee and surely will see his share of attention from the defense. Boykins was a certifiable disaster against the Blazers and is best suited for the limited duty he won’t be allowed with Jennings out. Brockman has seemingly leapt over Larry Sanders for playing time, which is ironic, because Brockman can’t actually leap while Sanders could probably literally jump over Brockman.
Prediction: Lakers 100 – Bucks 80
To Sacramento on Thursday! Anything will be possible there. Virtually nothing good is possible in L.A. this evening.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).