This guy could be a problem.
UPDATE: Drew Gooden has been suspended for tonight’s game due to Monday’s flagrant foul, according to Sam Amick. This could result in more minutes for either Jon Leuer or some minutes for Jon Brockman.
After dropping their opener Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks are back at it 7:30 PM Tuesday evening with their 44th home opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves took both pre-season games from the Bucks this year, one decisively and one thanks to a late run against the end of Milwaukee’s bench.
Both teams sit 0-1, the Bucks after a frustrating loss to the Charlotte Bobcats and the Wolves after an encouraging defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both the Bucks and Wolves had one point leads at some point in the fourth quarter. The Wolves can chalk up letting theirs slip away as meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Hell, they might have two franchise guys and those guys are learning to win together.
Meanwhile the promise of a new season has already given way to pessimism among many in Milwaukee. Logically, it was a grand reach to assume this Bucks team would be something special, something beyond slightly above average. But the summer has a way of building up hopes that players are suddenly going to transform into something they haven’t been. Monday served as a realization that this city’s two stars probably aren’t really stars at all. Still. And if they aren’t, this team becomes dramatically less interesting.
It’s amazing how different 0-1 can look.
Watch These Guys, Not Other Guys
- Ricky Rubio (duh)
See video above. And when you’re done watching, remember how fun it was when the Bucks had that exciting rookie point guard the league was buzzing about two years ago. Then hope that guy comes back to Milwaukee at some point, preferably tonight.
Rubio is as exciting as Jennings once was, but in a completely different way. Jennings’s forced shots will likely be Rubio’s forced passes this season. But teammates can live with that, it gives them motivation to keep getting up and down the court.
- Kevin Love
While the Bucks were figuring out rotations and trying to get everyone active in the pre-season, Love was gobbling up rebounds, tossing in threes and dominating everyone in site. Love is a nightmare match-up for the Bucks: Too quick for Andrew Bogut, too strong for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (if he is even active). This is the kind of night when Drew Gooden needs to be really good, as he and Ersan Ilyasova will probably spend the majority of the evening splitting time on Love.
Milwaukee’s help defense will need to be much better than it was Monday.
The Timberwolves are athletic, and when Rubio is on the court to conduct their circus of tools, they can be very dangerous. Milwaukee wants to push the pace, but Minnesota can’t exist without pushing the pace. If the Bucks are missing shots and Kevin Love is grabbing boards, the Wolves break could be a huge problem for Milwaukee.
It’s always a key that Milwaukee finds a way to string together made shots, but that’s going to be as imperative against Minnesota as it is against anyone. Misses are the momentum the athletes on Minnesota need.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.