Limping to the finish: Bucks – Raptors Preview

Literally the only picture I could find of three players that are likely to play in this game. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Literally the only picture I could find of three players that are likely to play in this game. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

What to Watch For: Bucks

The Bucks’ injury list is expanding daily as they enter the home stretch of the season. Ekpe Udoh and Miroslav Raduljica joined the walking wounded on the bench for Friday’s game against the Bulls, leaving only Zaza PachuliaJeff Adrien, and John Henson in the frontcourt. It seems like that will be the case again on Saturday, which will again test the team’s big men against a deep Toronto lineup featuring Jonas ValenciunasAmir Johnson (questionable for Saturday’s contest), a capable backup in Patrick Patterson, and a Grade-A annoyer in Tyler Hansborough

To be fair, his face alone is quite punchable.
To be fair, his face alone is quite punchable.

Also, as D.J. Stephens’ 10-day contract expired yesterday and apparently won’t be renewed, we’ll all be waiting in breathless anticipation to see who the Bucks decide to bring in for the home stretch of the season. BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION, I SAY.

UPDATE: You can resume breathing. The Bucks have signed Chris Wright to another 10-day contract, which means that the hope for BIG DUNKS is still alive in Milwaukee.

What to Watch For: Raptors

Hey, they’re a playoff team! And they’re actually good for the first time in a while! The Raptors actually improved since their trade of Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings–they were 7-11 (.368) with him and have gone 37-20 (.649) since then on their way to a tie for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. DeMar Derozan has led the charge, averaging a career-best 22/4/4 and providing a scoring compliment to point guard Kyle Lowry (17 points, 7.5 assists per game). Plus, they’re coming off of a spirits-boosting win over the Indiana Pacers and appear to be heating up just in time for the playoffs to roll around.

In the teams’ most recent matchup, Valenciunas made his presence felt down low en route to a double double (17 points, 10 rebounds). With the aforementioned depleted Bucks lineup in play, I expect that he will be able to replicate those numbers tonight.

Logistics

Time – 7:30 CDT

TV – None

Radio – 1250 WSSP

Injury Report

Bucks: Nate Wolters (fractured hand; out), Larry Sanders (loving the dank; out +5), Carlos Delfino (right foot surgery; out), O.J. Mayo (sprained weight-bearing ankle; questionable), Ersan Ilyasova (sore ankle, out), Ekpe Udoh (knees; questionable) Miroslav Raduljica (ankle; questionable).

Raptors: Amir Johnson (ankle; questionable), Kyle Lowry (bruised kneecap; questionable)

Projected Lineups

Bucks: 

PG Ramon Sessions

SG Brandon Knight

SF Khris Middleton

PF Jeff Adrien

Zaza Pachulia

Raptors:

PG Greivis Vasquez

SG DeMar Derozan

SF Terrence Ross

PF Patrick Patterson

 Jonas Valenciunas

Choose the Form of the Destroyer: DeMar Derozan

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(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

He used to be the kind of player that got (figuratively) murdered by the analytics crew, much in the same way that Rudy Gay has. “He shoots too much! He’s not efficient! His shot selection is terrible! Can a team win games with him as their primary scoring option??????” And so on and so forth. He’s silenced some of them in his fourth season, raising his shooting percentage to around 43% (still not very good, but ehhhhh) and being the primary scorer on a Toronto team that’s now headed for a top-4 playoff seed. Since the Raptors’ other primary scorer and ballhandler (Lowry) may not play in this game, we can basically pencil DeRozan in for 28 points, even if it takes him 25 shots to get there.

Prediction: Raptors 105, Bucks 92

Categories: Game Previews

Mitch has been a fan of the Bucks since the days of…

2 Comments

  1. Maybe John Henson will get 30 minutes tonight and be able to play down the stretch if the game is close; but, then again, the Bucks might suit up a ballboy or popcorn vendor to take valuable game experience away from our top pick of two drafts ago.
    But, hey, with all those superior players ahead of John this season, and with all the expert coaching that he’s probably been getting, I’m sure he understands being relegated to an afterthought and left sitting in the backround.
    How soon they forget, or tire of you, or whatever… I’m sure the events of this season have caused John to hold the Bucks in great esteem and deep affection and unwavering devotion. That’s why our Bucks are such a winner!