Game 50 Preview: Bucks vs. Raptors

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Enemy: Raptors Republic

Point Guard
Brandon Jennings vs. Jose Calderon

Jennings is searching for anything positive right now, while Calderon is possibly being showcased to entice bidders looking for a point guard.  Quite a match-up in Milwaukee Tuesday night.  You have to think eventually Jennings will regain his form and toss a bunch of points up on the board, right?  The Raptors, with their friendly defense, seem like a good team for Jennings to recapture his mojo against.

Advantage: Bucks

Shooting Guard
Carlos Delfino vs. DeMar Derozan

After a rough first month of the season, Derozan has begun to come into his own a bit in Toronto.  Six times in January Derozan scored better than 25 points and for the month he averaged 18.5.  His athletic gifts are on par with the league’s best athletes and he’s learning how to put them to good use.  He’s still not much of a complete player; his rebound rate has dipped this season and is far lower than it should be for a player with his leaping ability and his assist rate isn’t very good, though it’s improving.  He is certainly a player on the rise though, something that can’t be said about many Bucks.

Advantage: Raptors

Small Forward
Corey Maggette vs. Sonny Weems

Weems has struggled with injuries a bit this year, which may be the cause for the dip in his field goal percentage.  He seemed on the verge of becoming a reliable scoring option off the bench last season, making better than 50% of his shots, but this year he’s fallen to 44% shooting and hasn’t made up for that elsewhere.  As a scorer, Weems has some skill.  But that skill isn’t strong enough to stand alone.  If Weems wants to last more than a few more years, he’ll have to patch up the various holes in his game.  Athletically he could be a shut-down wing defender, but that would require a pretty dramatic shift.  It seems unlikely that will happen.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Amir Johnson

Johnson has slowly, slowly, very slowly, learned how to limit his fouls a bit so he can stay on the court long enough for his impact to be felt.  He’s down to 5.1 fouls per 36 minutes, improvement for a guy who once averaged 6.8 per 36.  He’s scoring a career high 10.4 points per game on a solid 59.6% shooting.  Johnson plays to his strengths and doesn’t often try and do too much.  Ilyasova had a very good shooting January, and while his accuracy has eluded him in two of his past three games, he’s been consistent as a rebounder.  Against a glass cleaner like Johnson, Ilyasova will need to contribute on both ends.

Advantage: Bucks

Andrew Bogut vs. Andrea Bargnani

Bogut’s still dealing with a sore knee, elbow, body – insert whatever part you’d like and it probably hurts on Bogut – but he had a very strong first half against Detroit.  Shots didn’t come as frequent or with the same success for him in the second half though.  Against a power forward playing center like Bargnani, Bogut should always been a featured option throughout the game for the Bucks.  Bargnani had 30 points against the Wolves in Toronto’s last game, but that total came on 26 shots.  The masses seem to be losing patience with “El Mago” thanks to his defensive deficiencies and pathetic rebounding numbers.

Advantage: Bucks

Luc Mbah a Moute, Keyon Dooling, John Salmons, Larry Sanders and Chris Douglas-Roberts


Julian Wright, Ed Davis, Trey Johnson and Alexis Ajinca

Milwaukee’s rotation was shortented dramatically in the loss to the Pistons Saturday.  Sanders, CD-R and Earl Boykins only entered mid-fourth quarter after the starters showed virtually nothing for an entire game.  Whether Coach Skiles will attempt to keep it short again remains to be seen.  Much like the starting unit, the Raptors bench has some serious athleticism, but not much else.  Johnson, a D-League call-up, could be a spark.

Advantage: Bucks

Prediction: Bucks 108 – Raptors 102

I told the guys at Raptors Republic the Bucks would win, so I’ll stand by it here.

But I’m not super confident.  Toronto tossed a big monkey off of its back when it beat Minnesota to snap a 13-game losing streak four days ago.  The team bonded over bowling in Milwaukee last night and could be feeling loose enough to get out and run effectively on the Bucks.  If Toronto is able to do that, they could steal one in Milwaukee against a reeling Bucks team.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog  Follow him on Twitter.  Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).

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