Before We Get Started, A Word On Khris Middleton …
Khris Middleton is determined to make me look like a fool this season … and it’s pretty great. I’m all for the Milwaukee Bucks having players that are pretty good. He was a monster yesterday and he did some really nice things. His finish over Marcin Gortat at the rim late in the game was a fantastic example of him doing something that I really didn’t think he had in him.
If Middleton picks up the ability to finish over stronger defenders and create off the bounce a little, he becomes a player with more dimensions than I ever expected. He’s already added the 3-point shot to his arsenal after entering the NBA, so the next step for him would be adding a counter attack for when guys close out hard on him. Given the game he had yesterday and some of the things he flashed, perhaps he’s getting closer to doing that. Huge props to Middleton for being fantastic Saturday night.
I know it made for an entertaining night for me, as he made shot after shot and the group of friends I was with all looked at me with each one with glee in their eyes as I alternately looked shamed, disgusted and gleeful. It’s not that I don’t like Middleton, it’s just that I love to be right. But I’ll accept it when I’m wrong and last night, I WAS SO WRONG about Middleton.
What to Watch For: Bucks
Aside from that, the Bucks looked much more aggressive, athletic and fast on Saturday than they have in some time. That may owe to the health improvement they’ve gradually seen, and perhaps to Zaza Pachulia’s absence. John Henson was fantastic and Brandon Knight made some big plays. Against an unhealthy Brooklyn Nets team, I’d expect the Bucks to keep looking for every easy opportunity in transition they can get and some aggressive early offense opportunities.
What to Watch For: Nets
Sadness, frustration and head hanging.
Just look at the injury report and you’ll see there isn’t much to watch for the Nets. The big question this season has always been, “How will KG look tonight?” and the answer has typically been: “Slow.”
Time – 7:30 PM Central
TV – FS-Wisconsin
Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Zaza Pachulia (sore fight foot; out), Caron Butler (sore right knee; out), Larry Sanders (thumb; out), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out)
Nets: Deron Williams (sprained ankle ; out), Andrei Kirilenko (back; out), Jason Terry (bruised knee ; out), Paul Pierce (broken hand; out)
PG Brandon Knight
SG O.J. Mayo
SF Khris Middleton
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C John Henson
PG Shaun Livingston
SG Joe Johnson
SF Alan Anderson
PF Kevin Garnett
C Brook Lopez
Jeremy’s For Recreational Purposes Only Prediction (aka Betsketball)
Line: Nets -2.5
These Bucks are just unpredictable right now … at least when it comes to the spread. Yes, they typically lose, but it’s hard to tell when they are going to bring a ton of effort and when they’ll roll over. Given the lineups they’ve been playing lately, more young player and energy focused, it seems like a string of games covered is coming.
Naturally, they’ll screw that up for me tonight, but I’ll go with them. Bucks +2.5, under 190.
Record: 12-8 (5-5 ATS and 7-3 over/under)
Choose the Form of the Destructor: Alan Anderson
Times are not good in Brooklyn. Anderson has been playing in the range of 25 minutes per game all season and has seen an uptick over the past 10 games, specifically since Paul Pierce went out. I picked him as The Destructor mostly to illustrate the point that THINGS ARE NOT GOOD IN BROOKLYN RIGHT NOW.
Prediction: Bucks 93 – Nets 88