[table id=26 /]
Keyon Dooling vs. Jameer Nelson
Nelson is a good matchup for Dooling. He’s small and not overwhelmingly fast, so Dooling should be able to put lots of pressure on him using his length advantage. Nelson knows this offense very well though and always keeps spacing on the court. He’s a very good shooter and certainly someone who Dooling cannot leave to double team Howard should the Bucks choose to do so. Historically, Milwaukee wants to prevent the Magic from getting many open looks outside, so look for Dooling to rarely stray from Nelson.
John Salmons vs. Jason Richardson
Richardson’s numbers have taken a tumble since arriving from Phoenix, but he’s gone from a featured role in the Steve Nash Band to a supporting member of the Dwight Howard’s. He’s a reliable 3-point threat and really thrives when he can bust out on the wing in transition. Salmons has been showing more for the last month or so in terms of playmaking and helping teammates get shots, which has been particularly key in keeping Milwaukee in games with Brandon Jennings out. He’ll have to be at it again. Any fouls Salmons can draw on Howard on drives would be a great help for the Bucks as well.
Luc Mbah a Moute vs. Hedo Turkoglu
Turkoglu has blossomed since rejoining the Magic, rediscovering that point forwardness about him. His assist rate is up considerably and he’s looking a lot like the versatile threat he was before his free agency apparently ruined his career. Mbah a Moute could see some time on a number of different Magic players, but could go a long ways towards stopping the Magic by limiting the multi-dimensional Turkoglu.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Brandon Bass
The play of Bass was one of the reasons the Magic had the luxury of parting ways with Rashard Lewis. He’s hitting better than half his shots this season and is making 84% of his free throws. He’s a reliable mid range shooter and can absolutely finish around the cup. Ilyasova hit a three in last nights game, a shocking occurrence this season. He also hustled and fought for a number of rebounds, displaying the same nightly effort that has him where he is. For as inconsistent as his play is, his effort is never questionable.
Andrew Bogut vs. Dwight Howard
This should be a fun matchup. The league’s two finest defensive big men by virtually any measure, they are sure to make life difficult for each other and any other players entering the paint this evening. Obviously Howard has a significant athletic advantage over Bogut, though Bogut seems to understand where to be defensively a little more judging from his superior charges taken numbers. Ultimately Howard has proven a much more reliable offensive player than Bogut and will likely show that again tonight.
Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Earl Boykins, Jon Brockman and Larry Sanders
Gilbert Arenas, JJ Redick, Ryan Anderson, Chris Duhon and Malik Allen
Arenas hasn’t exactly been resurrected since the trade. He’s still shooting at a sub-40% level and has only taken nine free throws. That’s not to say he can’t impact a game in a significant way though, because he’s always capable, just less so than he once was. Redick and Anderson can shoot very well and Redick in particular gets his shots very effectively in the offensive flow. Brockman’s six point, five rebound outing yesterday was one of his strongest games of the in terms of statistics and in terms of him doing the little things. His energy is always contagious and helps the Bucks through lulls. Unfortunately his talent level often gets the Bucks into lulls offensively.
Prediction: Magic 97 – Bucks 89
Milwaukee has a knack for hanging tough with the best teams in the league on the road and some would say they have a knack for pulling games out. But really they’ve only won big games in Dallas and Los Angeles (I don’t count Atlanta as a tough team on the road with that home court). This one likely won’t be over quickly, and it may not get as ugly late as the Miami game did, but Milwaukee will be hard pressed to top the Magic in Orlando right now.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).