Grit and grind against grin and bear it: Bucks – Grizzlies Preview

Marc Gasol returned on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Marc Gasol returned on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

What to Watch For: Bucks

December 23 was the last day the Bucks lost and lost by fewer than nine points. Since that day, the Bucks have played nine games, lost eight games and lost by nine or more in each of those losses. The Bucks have been bad all season, but we’re seeing a whole new side of bad now. If the Bucks make it through this game without any ejections or in-fighting, that’s the new measure of success.

John Henson will probably play 30 minutes, which will at least be something different, as he’s been out most of the new year. The combination of him and Larry Sanders is still one we haven’t seen often, but we should have ample exposure against a hulking Grizzly front line on Wednesday. But that may all be for naught when Sanders gets kicked out 45 seconds after tip when someone on the Grizzlies asks him why he has a glove on his hand.

I guess you’ll be fortunate to watch the Bucks at all. Here in 2013 2014, it’s a privilege to be able to watch the basketball team in your city on television.

What to watch for: Grizzlies

Marc Gasol is back! He returned from a knee injury against the Thunder with 12 points in Memphis’s 90-87 victory. Gasol is a load and a clever passer both from the low post and the high post. He’ll find at least one cutter backdoor against the Bucks on Wednesday and he’ll probably do it more than that.

Gasol will be paired again with Zach Randolph, who is certain to bully Sanders into a technical foul. Then we’ll be subjected to everyone’s opinion on Larry Sanders, which will either be: HE IS OUT OF CONTROL AND THAT’S ENOUGH or HE’S GOT FIRE or HE’S WORKING ON IT, GET OFF HIS BACK.

Regardless of his temper, based on how he’s actually played this season when he’s been playing (9.2 PER) Sanders already looks destined to go down in the history books as another Bucks mistake … and he hasn’t started his contract yet.


Time – 7:00 p.m. CST

TV – FS Wisconsin (for once)

Radio – 620 WTMJ

Projected Lineups


PG Brandon Knight

SG Khris Middleton

SF Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF Ersan Ilyasova

C Larry Sanders


PG Michael Conley

SG Courtney Lee

SF Tayshaun Prince

PF Zach Randolph

C Marc Gasol

Choose the form of the Destructor: Jon Leuer

Leuer, launching. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Leuer, launching. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Against the Pistons on January 5, he scored 23 points on 8-13 FG (2-2 3FG) with eight rebounds. He’s only received modest playing time in the last three games and with Gasol’s return, his playing time may be even more limited going forward, but this seems as good of a night as any for him to play well again. The Bucks are pathetically terrible and surely every player in the league is looking forward to the opportunity to earn some minutes with a big night against them.

Leuer used to play at Wisconsin and for the Bucks, so he’s potentially got more motivation than the average player along with that same knowledge that the Bucks are a door mat, waiting to be trampled. Here come the mid-range jumpers.

Prediction: Grizzlies 117 – Bucks 79

Categories: Game Previews

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  1. Thanks Jeremy for the 38 point loss prediction. I think we are starting to finally deal with reality around here!!!

    Note- If Larry Drew has not been ordered to play the journeymen in hopes of trading them ….then he should be fired immediately. If he is game planning for actual winning basketball it is more than obvious he doesn’t have a clue what to do with this team.

    Butler, Mayo, Luke and on most occassions Ersan look like D league players on a night to night basis. Yet they continue to get minutes.

    All at the expense of Nate, Middleton, Henson (should get 30 every night)and the Big Serbian. Who in their right mind thinks this way unlesss it’s coming from high above?

    • Middleton leads the team in minutes played and was inserted back into the starting lineup. He’s been shooting .172 the past 3 games, so it’s not like he’s been playing “actual winning basketball” as of late. Maybe people make constant jabs about not playing Middleton enough because he becomes completely invisible on the floor at times. Henson, whom just came off an injury, is playing 28.2 MPG, but of course, with Sanders back, his minutes will shrink a bit. Butler, Mayo, Ridnour, and Ersan don’t really effect Raduljica’s and Henson’s playing time as much as Sanders.

      Thinking that playing a certain lineup will turn these guys into a winning basketball team is naive. Playing Nate Wolters in place of Ridnour and a Henson/Raduljica combo in place of Sanders/Ersan isn’t going to flip flop this team into the dreaded 8-seed contender that everyone seems to hate.

  2. “Here in 2013, it’s a privilege to be able to watch the basketball team in your city on television.”

    Are you refusing to recognize it’s 2014 because the Bucks have gotten SO bad since the new year?

    • Haha. Chalk that up to not writing dates out anymore. I wish I were in fifth grade, using notebook paper and putting the date at the top right of the page every day again. By week two of the New Year I made no more mistakes.

  3. aValpo…you make some valid points in your post.
    I’m inclined to disagree on Middleton playing time,before our genius of a coach benched the BEST SCORER on the team-Middleton’s numbers were AWESOME. Since returning to the starting lineup,he is NOT so good- COACH MADE BIG MISTAKE MOVING HIM TO BENCH!!!! When a player is stroking it well,you don’t take his opportunities away. That was just insanity…UGH!!

    • Middleton was still getting over 20 MPG… the only game he didn’t was the big win vs LA. It’s not like he was getting DNP-CD’s that made him rusty. I disagreed with Drew’s decision to bench Middleton for Ridnour, but I don’t think Middleton is that big of an impact player to sway the team one way or the other (see his 17 Min game where the Bucks won by 15)… at least, I don’t think it warrants caps-lock and four consecutive exclamation marks.

  4. All I know is Drew is being paid millions to coach the team. I think it’s easier to point out the problems. I mean some are glaring mistakes. But, He’s dealing with second rounders. Michael Redd would have been a late first rounder in these guard heavy drafts. More emphasis on a shooter. So he’s working with first year players, a few second rounders, and aging veterans. Playing vets can help younger players learn. I’d say give him the season before you judge this vets vs young argument. If it shows that he played vets too much over the whole season, then it seems like he’s trying to farm wins. If he lets the young guys play good minutes but limited minutes, that’s great. That mean’s he’s trying to teach the young men. So let him have at least a couple of years before you call for his head. Drew does fine with his rotations more than other coaches, looks for mismatches with as little talent as he has. Not potential but current ability. These guys are aging or young and raw. Not an easy roster to win with. But a great roster to build upon. A top 5 pick could land us one of two very efficient wing scorers. Jabari Parker is literally the zippo to the molotov. It doesn’t guarantee a winning team. But, it can take a high potential team +1 years to add a young scorer to be back in the playoff hunt. As well as the tools to push for deep playoffs within 3-4 years.