Bucksketball Podcast

‘Nothing Easy’ heads to the Big Easy: A Bucks — Pelicans Preview

| March 7, 2014

Category: Game Previews

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Tyreke Evans climbs over Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

What to Watch For: Bucks

The Bucks are 2-21 against the Western Conference this season and one of those wins came against the Lakers.

Nate Wolters has averaged fewer than 20 minutes per game in the six games since Ramon Sessions arrived via trade, but it’s hard to argue with the results: both point guards are playing well, and the Bucks are faring better than they have all season. Wolters, in particular, is shooting well (16/29, 55.2 FG%) over the same stretch.

In fact, Wolters seems to have found his three-point stroke. In February and March, Wolters has made 8-of-19 three-point attempts, after making only 3-of-29 of his long-distance tries prior to that. The Bucks will need him to shoot a bit in this game, because they cannot afford to have an extra defender clogging the paint when they will already have to overcome the interior presence the NBA’s best young shotblocker: Anthony Davis.

What to Watch For: Pelicans

Since the last time these two teams played on February 12, the Bucks are 3-5 and the Pelicans are 1-8, with the lone win coming in their most recent game Tuesday against the Lakers. In the same span, Alexis Ajinca notched his first two career double-doubles.

It used to be fairly routine for All-Star quality big men to average 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 3+ blocks per game, but no one has done it since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 1999-2000. Anthony Davis (20.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.9bpg) is on the verge of being the first to do it in over a decade AND being the youngest player to ever pull off the feat.

He’s really good.

Logistics

Time – 7:00 p.m. CST

TV – Fox Sports Wisconsin

Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Ekpe Udoh (right knee swelling, questionable), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery; out), Larry Sanders (face surgery; out)

Pelicans: Ryan Anderson (herniated disc; out), Jrue Holiday (right tibia stress fracture; out), Jason Smith (right knee cartilage; out)

Projected Lineups

Bucks: 

PG Nate Wolters

SG Brandon Knight

SF Khris Middleton

PF Ersan Ilyasova

Zaza Pachulia

Pelicans:

PG Brian Roberts

SG Eric Gordon

SF Tyreke Evans

PF Anthony Davis

Alexis Ajinca

Choose the form of the Destroyer: Tyreke Evans

Evans drives. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

One of the key determinants of the last Pelicans/Bucks game was Brian Roberts using his dribble to set up teammates.

But if you look at the NBA’s StatVU numbers, it’s Tyreke Evans who produces most for the Pelicans off of drives. He ranks fourth in the NBA in team points per game off drives (11.0) — and he usually does it coming off the bench. In this game, he’ll likely start and he will be starting opposite Khris Middleton, who had trouble stopping Rudy Gay off the bounce Wednesday.

Part of the reason for Evans’s steadfast willingness to attack the rim is that his jump shot is worse than mine. If the Bucks have an interest in winning, they will take note of the numbers, sag toward the paint off Evans and let him have any outside shot he wants.

Prediction: Bucks 103 – Pelicans 99

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About the Author ()

Husband. Father. Blogger. Retired mathlete. I covered Larry Sanders' "Three Thumbs Up" game as credentialed media -- and failed to see well enough to witness the thumbing as it happened. On Twitter, I'm anaheimamigos.

Comments (3)

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  1. L says:

    I wish this were the more likely projected lineup:

    PG Brandon Knight

    SG Khris Middleton

    SF Giannis Antetokounmpo

    PF Ersan Ilyasova

    C John Henson

    w/ Nate Wolters the first guard off the bench for either guard position and Jeff Adrien backing up Ilyasova and Miroslav Raduljica backing up Henson.

    • ryguy says:

      Yep, totally agree!

      • Sfisch says:

        I just have this feeling that for now it’s better for Giannis to come off the bench, but still to get 24-36 minutes depending on how he’s doing.
        Also, I’d like to see Miroslav get a few starts at center, with John starting for the rest of the season at power forward, and Jeff Adrien getting a good look off the bench. I’d give Zaza and Ers important but limited minutes, maybe 20 per game apiece.
        It would be great if Brandon and Khris each played 30-36 minutes, with Nate as a priority off the bench, and good time for Ramon.