What to Watch For: Bucks
Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova practiced with the team yesterday and are expected to return today. Sanders has been out since he had surgery to repair a torn ligament from a nightclub incident two months ago. Ilyasova has been out since last week because of a sore ankle.
Per Charles F. Gardner, Sanders is going to be coming off the bench and will be limited to 20 minutes. Ilyasova will start.
For the first time in months, the Bucks will have over a dozen healthy bodies as part of the rotation. Sorely needed for a team that has had three of its last four games go to overtime.
With Sanders return, questions about the Bucks going into the season also return. Can he work with offensively with John Henson? What will his chemistry be with Brandon Knight on pick-n-rolls? Does he have another leap in skill ahead of him?
Before his injury, the answers to those questions were no, who knows, and probably not. Sanders was playing like hot garbage to start the season. Don’t forget it was a positive thing when Zaza Pachulia took Sanders starting spot.
But let’s be positive and assume Sanders gets it together and plays close to the level he played last year. Henson and Sanders together don’t cover up enough holes defensively to make up for the fact that they’re essentially unplayable together until Henson’s mid-range game increases by 30% (Henson is 10-47 from 10-19 ft). Knight is objectively terrible at running a pick-n-roll (0.77 points per possession off pick-n-rolls). So it isn’t even worth running plays that make Sanders valuable on offense. And it seems very unlikely that Sanders will ever get the jump shot or post moves he’d need to make another leap as a player.
Adding an elite post defender with great rebounding potential would be a major boost for most teams. For this team, it just means creates more holes.
What to Watch For: Nets
Brook Lopez is out for the season after breaking his foot last week. Even though the Nets lost their best player that still might not be enough to take the Nets out of the terrible Atlantic Division race.
At least the Bucks aren’t the Nets. The Bucks are bad, but at least they get to hide in their own corner of the universe that no one bothers to look at. The Nets are a train wreck, but have a bunch of national TV games so everyone gets to ridicule them. I almost feel bad for them, but really I don’t. I take much glee in the train wrecks that are the Nets and Knicks. They brought this upon themselves.
Time – 6:30 p.m. CST
TV – FS Wisconsin (local)
Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Gary Neal (plantar fasciitis; questionable), Zaza Pachulia (foot; out), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out)
Nets: Andrei Kirilenko (back; out), Brook Lopez (foot; out)
PG Brandon Knight
SG Giannis Antetokounmpo
SF Khris Middleton
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C John Henson
PG Deron Williams
SG Joe Johnson
SF Alan Anderson
PF Mirza Teletovic
C Kevin Garnett
Jeremy’s For Recreational Purposes Only Prediction (aka Betsketball)
Line: Nets -4.5
I’m back at .500. Back where this madness started. Back where I belong. After today, I’ll probably have dipped below .500 as I search for answers on just how to figure out these Bucks. The Nets are terrible and they just played the other day and their coach hates them and they hate him. There’s no reason that Milwaukee shouldn’t be able to pull this game out, with a finally healthy roster and bodies fresh from many days of rest and food.
Bucks +4.5, over 195.
Record: 17-17 (7-10 ATS and 10-7 over/under)
Choose the Form of the Destroyer: Joe Johnson
Is it just me or has Joe Johnson been killing the Bucks for years? He had some good games to close out the Bucks in the 2010 playoffs. He had a heart-breaking game winner against the Bucks last year. He always seems to have a very dramatic 25 against the Bucks.
Joe Johnson is totally the type of the player that would just own the Milwaukee Bucks. In his entire history of being the most unremarkable player of this generation, the Bucks are the exact type of team he’d amass all his stats against. Why don’t you go pick on a good team for once? Ya goon.