[table id=26 /]
Enemy: Truth About It .net
Keyon Dooling vs. John Wall
The dynamic Wall has been all but forgotten about as a rookie of the year candidate with Blake Griffin putting up a rookie season for the ages and his own injury problems, but he’s still a sight to see. Wall’s creativity was on full display against the Jazz in the Wizard’s Monday win over Utah, as he dished out 15 assists while turning the ball over seven times. He’s prone to mistakes, but he’s even more prone to do great things. His speed could be an issue all night for Dooling and, gulp, Boykins.
John Salmons vs. Nick Young
I’ve been hard on Nick Young in the past. I’ve said he’s an inaccurate gunner who doesn’t look for his teammates whose scoring comes at a cost. Suddenly though, that all looks foolish. Because since the Gilbert Arenas trade, Nick Young is playing the best basketball of his career and looks like a real building block for the Wizards. He’s been doing it for a while, but in the month of January, Young has made 50% of his shots and 47.6% of his threes. He’s averaging 22.5 points over that stretch and the Wizards have gone four and four. As it does for most players, his defense has lagged behind. Young has the team’s second lowest defensive rating (113), but hey, baby steps. Young’s only 25 and seems like he has a few productive years in front of him.
Corey Maggette vs. Rashard Lewis
Lewis has been steady, if unspectacular, for the Wizards since arriving from Orlando. He’s made just about 40% of his threes and occasionally grabbed 10 rebounds while consistently scoring between 10 and 19 points. He’s not going to explode as often as he did back when he played in Seattle and was featured just because he’s on a bad team again. His role probably won’t change much from what it was earlier in the season when he was playing the three for the Magic. Maggette stepped into a starting role on Monday and promptly had his most impressive scoring game of the year (25 points on 11-18 shooting). The bad news? Milwaukee lost by seven. Maggette and Salmons are an interesting team, both occasionally posting up, both getting a lot of plays run for them. Salmons will occasionally use his plays to create for teammates. Maggette will often bulldoze the rim while teammates stand idly by. Sigh.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Andray Blatche
Blatche has been putting up okay numbers this season, but not nearly as easily as he did near the end of last season. After an off-season foot injury, Blatche is shooting just 41.7% this season, well down from his career average of roughly 46%. The biggest drop off for Blatche has come inside 10-feet where he’s down to a 31.5% success rate. Ilyasova typically struggles against big men that can fake and handle the ball, but Blatche often seems to shy away from using his ball handling skills to get by defenders. If he’s attempting long twos or trying to take Ilyasova in the post all night, Milwaukee will be okay with that.
Andrew Bogut vs. JaVale McGee
Luc Mbah a Moute, Earl Boykins, Jon Brockman, Larry Sanders and Chris Douglas-Roberts
Yi Jianlian, Al Thornton, Kirk Hinrich and Trevor Booker
The Wizards primarily go three deep on the bench in Yi, Thornton and Hinrich, but typically bring one big in for a couple minutes, be it Booker, Hilton Armstrong or Kevin Seraphin. One thing it can safely be said the Wizards are not though, is deep. Milwaukee will dig deeper into their bench, but it’s often a byproduct of poor performance of their starters and immediate substitutes. Drew Gooden is questionable, as his plantar faciitis has gotten no better despite his solid play over the past two games. Thornton can score in bunches and Kirk Hinrich is a tough defender, aside from that, a pretty plain Wizards bench.
Prediction: Bucks 96 – Wizards 88
If the Bucks lose to the Wizards, the 0-19 on the road this season, Wizards, it’s probably safe to say this is the worst loss of the season. But Washington is playing better and is certainly looking like a more capable NBA team than they did earlier in the season. The Arenas Weight no longer hangs over their head and a lot of the Wizards key players and young and just keep getting better. The Bucks should be able to wear down the Wizards with their defense, but if Milwaukee isn’t paying attention to details, a loss is absolutely not out of the question. Milwaukee could really use a complete effort, good offense, defense and no lapses in rebounding, to boost their fallen spirits.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).