Game 51 Preview: Bucks at Wizards

(The folks at Stubhub were kind enough to offer up some tickets for Saturday night’s Bucks-Pacers game in Milwaukee.  Head on over to the Bucksketball Facebook page and see what you have to do to win.

PS. It’s Kareem Bobblehead Night.

– JS)

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Enemy: Truth About It

Point Guard
Brandon Jennings vs. John Wall

Expect big assist numbers and a few turnovers from Wall.  Expect neither from Jennings.  Whereas Wall runs and guns in an offense ranked 11 in the NBA in pace, Jennings is the captain of a cruise ship, rather than a speed boat.  Jennings low assist totals have something to do with his team’s lower than average shooting percentage, but they also have to do with the Bucks offense in the half court.  A lot of times Milwaukee has other players handling the ball aside from Jennings, whose drives through the lane are rarely accompanied by a cutting teammate.  There aren’t a lot of half court offense assist opportunities for the Bucks young point guard.  In Washington’s offense, Wall certainly is creating more and finding teammates on the go.

Advantage: Wizards

Shooting Guard
John Salmons vs. Nick Young

Salmons may be a little more complete than Young, a lot more complete actually, but he isn’t scoring as reliably.  Young seized the opportunity that opened up when Gilbert Arenas left and has been pouring the points in ever since. He’s boosted his monthly scoring output from 13.2 to 18.3 to 21.1 and finally to 22.7 in three February games.  His assist and rebound totals have remained meager though.  Young can get buckets, but that’s about it.  Say what you will about Salmons offensively this season, he’s always going at it on defense and chipping in a few rebounds and assists every night.

Advantage: Wizards

Small Forward
Corey Maggette vs. Rashard Lewis

Maggette runs into the rim.  Lewis launches errant three-point shots.  Both aggravate a lot of people, neither is especially good at defense.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Andray Blatche

After a rough January, February has started out a little better for Blatche.  He’s made better than 50% of his shots in three February games after hitting just 40.9% in January.  He’s a jump-shooting, ball-handling big man.  But he has the size and strength to go inside and finish around the hoop too.  His bad habits and general disinterest in winning basketball are what holds him back.  Too bad they are probably fatal flaws, because he’s very talented.  Ilyasova quietly had a smart game against the Raptors.  He spent most of his time attempting to hound Andrea Bargnani into bad shots and misses, but he didn’t take any silly shots and rebounded well defensively.  It wasn’t the biggest scoring game he’s had recently, but it was a smart game, something Ilyasova doesn’t always have.

Advantage: Bucks

Andrew Bogut vs. Javale McGee

Both Bogut and McGee had little statistical impact on the game the last time these teams met, but Bogut’s defense isn’t somethign that’s so easily tracked.  Any time Bogut meets a guy like McGee, a dunking, shot-blocking highlight machine, he typically ends up getting the better of him.  Milwaukee didn’t go to him often enough last time and could look to establish him early again tonight before eventually looking elsewhere.  That strategy worked against Toronto, as Bogut scored six points early and just eight the rest of the way.  He certainly has the size to get McGee deep enough that his shot-blocking is nullified.

Advantage: Bucks

Keyon Dooling, Carlos Delfino and Luc Mbah a Moute


Kirk Hinrich, Al Thornton, Hilton Armstrong and Trevor Booker

In his search for consistency and wins, Coach Scott Skiles has shortened his bench up the last two games, playing just three players primarily.  Milwaukee’s finally fairly healthy 50 some games into the season and Coach Skiles wants to try and keep his best players on the court as much as possible.  How long this will last is anyone’s guess though, as Skiles has always been fairly finicky with his rotations.

Advantage: Wizards

Prediction: Bucks 93 – Wizards 82

Milwaukee’s defense seemed re-energized against the Raptors and that should carry over against a Wizards team that’s lost seven in a row.  If Milwaukee can force turnovers and take advantage, they will be in good shape.  If the Wizards are able to get out and run off misses and Milwaukee complies with another sub-40% shooting night, things could tip in the favor of Washington.  Milwaukee must make some shots to prevent Wizard breaks.

Categories: Game Previews

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1 Comment

  1. Two questions:
    1. Brandon Jennings seems to be struggling to get around picks. I noticed him trailing Calderon a lot last night. Is that bad defense or by design? If the former, Jennings seems like he’s really not making an effort to stay in front of his man through screens. If the latter, please explain how that’s part of Skiles’s defensive scheme.

    2. Related to your point about Jennings and assists. Can you explain or illustrate why or how Skiles’s offense moves the ball around in such a way that Jennings doesn’t put up offensive numbers like some of these other point guards? Do most PG assists come in transition situations? Under Skiles in Phoenix, Jason Kidd put up above average assist totals. Is his offense a lot different than it was in Phoenix?