What to watch for: Bucks
Through three games, the Bucks are ranked dead last in rebounding rate – only rebounding 43 percent of all missed shots. Their struggles will continue as Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders join Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight on the injury list.
As reported by Andrew Gruman from Fox Sports Wisconsin, Ilyasova aggravated his right ankle and is questionable. Even if he does play, he is limited to 25 minute. Sanders is hopeful to play. He has a swollen thumb from playing Saturday against the Toronto Raptors.
The easiest way for the Bucks to improve in rebounding is for Ilyasova and Sanders to get healthy and for Sanders to work through his early season struggles. Until then John Henson and Zaza Pachulia will have to shoulder the rebounding burden. The near-comeback against Toronto happened because Henson and Pachulia were able to swing the rebounding advantage back to the Bucks. Still, the duo is better getting second unit minutes. As starters, they’ll be a bit outmatched especially if Henson isn’t hitting his shot from 16 ft.
What to watch for: Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers have brought back Mike Brown. In turn, Mike Brown has turned the Cavs back into a Mike Brown team: excellent defense paired with an uninspiring offense carried by an otherworldly talent. After four games, the Cavs are second in defensive rating and last in offensive rating. Four games is a small sample size, but I’m willing to bet that the Cavs will stay top 10 in defense and bottom 10 in offense as long as Brown is the coach.
Nate Wolters is going to have his first real test against Kyrie Irving. Irving isn’t playing at his All-Star level self yet, but he’ll get there. The point is to not help him get there. Wolters and the rest of the Bucks defense will have played an exceptional game if Irving simply doesn’t have his first monster game of the season.
Bucks: Larry Sanders (thumb; day-to-day), Ersan Ilyasova (sprained ankle; day-to-day), Luke Ridnour (back; day-to-day), Brandon Knight (hamstring; day-to-day
PG: Nate Wolters
SG: OJ Mayo
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Larry Sanders
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Dion Waiters
SF: Earl Clark
PF: Tristan Thompson
C: Anderson Varejao
Choose the Form of the Destroyer
Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are going to feast upon all the rebounding the opportunities the Bucks are going to leave them.
The Bucks first half deficits haven’t been because of hot shooting by their opponents. They just can’t end any possession by grabbing the rebound. The Cavs are top 10 in rebounding rate. They’ve been monstrous on the defensive boards and less impressive grabbing offensive boards. But Thompson and Varejao are talented offensive rebounders.
Rudy Gay and Vitor Faverani have both posted 15+ rebounding games against the Bucks. Faverani and Amir Johnson already have 5+ offensive rebound games against the Bucks. That’ll continue tonight. Expect the Cavs to have a huge advantage there.
I was at the Bucks first game against the Cavs last year. It was awesome.
This game won’t be as excellent. The Cavaliers defense is legit. Even though their offense is poor, the Bucks can’t seem to end possessions.
Cavs 92 – Bucks 87