Game 54 Preview: Bucks vs. Clippers

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Enemy: Clipperblog

Point Guard
Brandon Jennings vs. Baron Davis

It’s safe to say Davis cares again.  In seven February games he’s averaging 19 points and 8.6 assists on 44.1% shooting overall and 41.4% shooting from three-point range.  If Jennings put up numbers like that for a month in the next year, I’d eat a shoe.  Even for a guy coming back off an injury Jennings is struggling.  In his own set of seven February games, Jennings has yet to score more points than attempt field goals in a game.  His best effort was 10 points on 10 shots against the Pacers on Saturday evening.  It’s been a long month.  Oddly enough, despite their completely opposite efforts, both Jennings and Davis have watched their teams limp to a 1-6 month.

Advantage: Clippers

Shooting Guard
John Salmons vs. Randy Foye

Salmons has shot better than 40% twice in February, while Foye has done the same just three times.  Neither has been good.  The problem for the Bucks is that Salmons has three years and a lot of dollars left on his contract.  Foye is merely a fill-in for the injured Eric Gordon.  His lack of production is more of a case of him being asked to do more than he’s capable.  Foye’s probably still a capable backup combo guard, good for 20 minutes a night or so.  Perhaps that’s where Salmons is heading himself.

Advantage: Bucks

Small Forward
Carlos Delfino vs. Ryan Gomes

Corey Maggette’s lower back injury during Saturday night’s game has him day-t0-day.  He could be back for Monday night’s game, but he looked pretty sore on Saturday.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see him sit this one out.  If he can’t go, Delfino will likely step into the lineup and minutes will filter down.  Oddly enough, Milwaukee could really miss out on some three-point shooting if Maggette is unavailable.  He’s made eight of 16 three-point attempts this month, and six of 10 in his last two games.  Delfino has struggled with his shot since returning from injury last month, making just 22 of 80 threes (27.5%).  Gomes percentages from all over the court this month, 50-53-92, are due to take a tumble, but he certainly deserves a bit of defensive attention for his recent play.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Blake Griffin

There is an 11 minute highlight clip on Youtube dedicated to Griffin’s first game against the Bucks.

Advantage: Clippers

Andrew Bogut vs. DeAndre Jordan

Jordan was as destructive around the rim in Los Angeles as Griffin was when the Bucks traveled there at the end of January.  After a strong January, Jordan’s minutes and numbers have fallen off a bit this month.  He’s grabbing just 4.9 rebounds per game in February after averaging 9.7 a month ago.  The Bucks floor based big men may be just what Jordan needs to get going again.  While Milwaukee’s been looking for someone to establish themselves as a consistent threat on offense every night, Bogut hasn’t gotten much of a chance.  He’s twice failed to attempt more than 10 shots in his last five games and his high has been 15.  For whatever reason, Milwaukee struggles to get the ball to him consistently throughout games.

Advantage: Bucks

Keyon Dooling, Earl Boykins, Jon Brockman and Luc Mbah a Moute


Eric Bledsoe, Brian Cook, Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu

Two benches full of holes.  Milwaukee lacks anything in terms of true big men, with the 6-8 Mbah a Moute essentially being their lone effective post defender off the bench.  Dooling and Boykins are competent guards, but neither can provide much on the wings.  Chris Douglas-Roberts is still on the Bucks, but has disappeared from the rotation, having last played meaningful minutes when Milwaukee had just 10 players available in Phoenix.  Clippers rookies Bledsoe and Aminu have been up and down.  Cook and Diogu are fringe rotation players, though Cook can get hot from the outside.

Advantage: Clippers

Prediction: Clippers 97 – Bucks 90

L.A. is just 4-20 on the road, but you can bet they’ll see this as a huge opportunity.  Things kind of fall apart for the Clippers after Griffin and Davis, but those two alone may offer too much for the Bucks.  Milwaukee would love for just two players to be consistently productive for them on a night to night basis the way Griffin and Davis are.  They’ve searched for that all year, and have yet to find anyone to step up.  Maggette has been the closest offensively, but he’s now dealing with a back strain and has struggled on defense.  Without him though, they may not have enough punch on offense yet again to top the Clippers.

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

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