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Enemy: Cavs: The Blog
Keyon Dooling vs. Ramon Sessions
It saddens me that Sessions can’t find a good situation. Year after year he’s shuffled off to worse teams, constantly backing up a point guard without a future. Whenever Sessions has enjoyed the luxury of significant minutes, numbers follow. But the one thorn in Sessions’s side has always been his defense. This season, Sessions ranks 368th in the league in points per possessions according to Synergy Sports. Sessions is allowing 1.07 points per possession on defense. Much maligned Bucks backup-turned-starter Keyon Dooling on the other hand, ranks 24th, allowing just .75 points per possession. Some of this has to do with the Bucks being a very good team defense and the Cavs having terrible team defense. But a lot of this has to do with Sessions having never been a good defender and still trying to figure out just what the hell he’s doing on that end.
Chris Douglas-Roberts vs. Manny Harris
Coming into this season, if you told me former undrafted Michigan Wolverine Manny Harris was starting for an NBA team, I’d guess they were the worst team in the NBA. And here we are. Of course, it’s not like CD-R is in a much higher class than Harris, but he’s shown the ability to spark. What’s interesting is just how little the offense focuses on him when he’s in the game as it does on John Salmons when Salmons is in. Sure, Salmons is better than CD-R, but he’s not that much better. CD-R often gets overlooked for one reason or another, only becoming more assertive when he’s gotten a few shots and made them fall.
Corey Maggette vs. Alonzo Gee
Starting Manny Harris and Alonzo Gee is no way to win games in the NBA. Gee isn’t an accurate shooter, but seems to have some potential as a defender in limited minutes. Even veteran defenders who are aware of Maggette’s tricks have been known to struggle with him at times though, so Gee could be in a for a short night if Maggette gets him into early foul trouble. Maggette will be pounding away at the Cavs soft interior early and often, as the Bucks will likely look to him in the first quarter to get the team off to a better start
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Antawn Jamison
John Krolik from Cavs: The Blog of the TrueHoop Network appropriately describes my feelings on Jamison:
He’s a professional, he’s a veteran, and he’s tremendously skilled. However, he’s also a 6-9 volume shooter who doesn’t play defense. He’s Eddie House with 10 extra inches and much better PR. He does not pretend to play defense. He fires up a shot every time he gets a look, and occasionally converts. He exists only to put up numbers and allow more baskets than makes. Watching him has become painful to me.
For a game, with these two teams, Ilyasova seems the better option, if only for his constant hustle on the glass and propensity to annoy and draw charges.
Andrew Bogut vs. J.J. Hickson
Hickson has slid over to center in the absence of the aggravating Anderson Varejao and has seen some things change. Mainly, he’s become much more active on the glass. After averaging as little as 4.3 rebounds in a month earlier this season, Hickson has grabbed 9.8 rebounds per game in January. The Cavs, much like the Bucks, provide ample opportunities for their players to succeed on the offensive glass and Hickson has done so lately, grabbing 3.4 o-rebounds per game this month. Rarely has he had to matchup with a center as talented at rebounding and defense as Bogut though, so that could negate his improvements. Hickson and Bogut are something of a study in contrasts, the agile, quick and athletic Hickson against the lumbering, powerful Bogut. I think Bogut, viral infection and all, has the clear edge though.
Carlos Delfino (!), Luc Mbah Moute, Earl Boykins, Drew Gooden and Jon Brockman
Christian Eyenga, Boobie Gibson, Ryan Hollins and Jamario Moon
The Cavs bench full of athleticism proves that it takes more than athletic ability to be relevant in the NBA. Gibson is the most dangerous man on their bench, capable of great things from behind the 3-point line. Tonight may be the night Delfino finally plays basketball again. He said he’s hoping to suit up and whether it be for one or 20 minutes, was hoping he could contribute something. With Salmons possibly out for his second straight, it will be a welcome sight to see Delfino once again.
Prediction: Bucks 104 – Cavs 86
Milwaukee’s had their gaffes against bad teams this year, Cleveland included, but it is tough to envision them dropping this one. The Bucks defense will keep them in it if their offense abandons them again and the Bucks likely have too much talent to blow a game at the end to these Cavaliers if it’s close in the fourth. I don’t suspect it will be though.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).