The Midwest will be won: Bucks – Wolves Preview

It could be a big ... Knight ... for Brandon. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
It could be a big … Knight … for Brandon. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

What to Watch For: Bucks

Kevin Love is a phenomenal basketball player. He grabs tons of rebounds, makes all kinds of shots, shoots free throws and generally is one of the best offensive players in the NBA. But he’s not a great defender. In fact, the Wolves are without much of a rim defender at all. This could lead to a big night for the Bucks that are best at getting to the rim. Which Bucks do that best, you ask?

Brandon Knight – 5.3
Nate Wolters – 4.2
O.J. Mayo – 3.2

Surprisingly, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging only 1.6 drives per game, though he has been much more active lately, specifically yesterday against the Nets when he scored a career high 16 points. I expect Knight, Giannis and Wolters to be most set on driving for Milwaukee, with Mayo prepared to shoot on the outside.

What to Watch For: Wolves

Love scores a bunch of points and grabs a bunch of rebounds with some regularity. He’s coming off a 25 point, 11 rebound night against the Wizards. He’ll probably have numbers that are pretty similar.

While Milwaukee struggled badly defending the 3-point shot against the Nets, they likely won’t have to worry as much about the long ball against the Wolves. Minnesota has made just 33.4% of its 3-point attempts this season, good for only 26th best in the league. Despite the poor outside shooting, Minnesota has the league’s 10th best offense, which is powered by a strong transition game and the dual post-up threats of Love and Nikola Pekovich. Watch them.

Logistics

Time – 7:30 p.m. CST

TV – FS Wisconsin (local)

Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Gary Neal (plantar fasciitis; questionable), Zaza Pachulia (foot; out), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out)

Wolves: Chase Budginer (knee; out), Ronny Turiaf (elbow; out)

Projected Lineups

Bucks: 

PG Brandon Knight

SG Giannis Antetokounmpo

SF Khris Middleton

PF Ersan Ilyasova

C John Henson

Wolves:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

Jeremy’s For Recreational Purposes Only Prediction (aka Betsketball)

Line: Wolves -7.5

Over/Under: 203

The symmetry! After one of the world’s rarest sights yesterday, a Wolters 3-pointer, I was successful on hitting the over, though he was unable to bring the Bucks within 4.5 to give me the ability to hit against the spread. So I’m still at .500. But I’m feeling optimistic about tonight, in the sense that I think the Bucks will lose and it won’t be a great game. Milwaukee has struggled in back-to-backs more often than not this season and the Wolves surely see this game as an opportunity to keep the good times rolling.

Wolves 7.5, under 203.

Record: 18-18 (7-11 ATS and 11-7 over/under)

Choose the Form of the Destroyer: Luc Mbah a Moute

Back, ready to destroy an avenge. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Back, ready to destroy an avenge. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mbah a Moute was a man who did not want to play with the Milwaukee Bucks last season. Or the season before that. Probably. He seemed bummed out when reporters talked to him. He fought injuries. He didn’t seem to enjoy his time on the court or his teammates. I suppose playing with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings could do that to the best of us, especially when we’re facing medical malfunctions.

The injuries and unhappiness seemed to aid the stagnation that was enveloping Mbah a Moute’s career. He never really advanced past defensive leader, though he flashed a couple post moves in his last season in Milwaukee. Ultimately, he’ll be remembered as a standout defender on the Fear the Deer team and a guy who didn’t want to have his contracted matched when the Bucks prevented him from leaving as a restricted free agent in 2011.

Tonight though, he’ll have his chance to thwart the Bucks and take joy in their defeat. He may even score a basket!

Prediction: Wolves 99 – Bucks 89

Categories: Game Previews

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

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