Another night, another sizable opponent: Bucks – Grizzlies Preview

The Memphis Grizzlies are a very fun team to play with in the video game NBA 2K15. For more on that subject, and this game actually, the latest Bucksketball Podcast awaits you.

Anyway, the Grizzlies will be in Milwaukee tonight, pushing around the Bucks and learning whether or not the Bucks will push back.

What to Watch For: Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks rotation is the newest Transformer. Is a Transformer reference cool? No? Oh. Okay. Moving on.

For the third time in six games, the Milwaukee lineup looked different as the official tossed up the jump ball Friday night. Much to the surprise of Bucks fans, Kendall Marshall got the call as a starter alongside Brandon Knight in the Bucks backcourt. Marshall had played just 11 minutes this season before Friday’s game and did not play in either of the two previous games. The player apparently most affected by Marshall’s increased minutes? It wasn’t fellow point guard Knight, rather it was swingman Khris Middleton. Only about a week after being an opening night starter who was prominently involved in Milwaukee’s offense, Middleton failed to get off the bench against the Pistons

Head Coach Jason Kidd told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that injury was not a factor in Middleton’s absence Friday night:

“He’s not hurt,” Kidd said of Middleton. “We’ve got a game (Saturday) so he’s got to be ready. When you go with a lineup, someone is going to have to sit. But we’re all professional. There’s a lot of games, a lot of minutes to be played, so Khris will be ready to go (Saturday) if he’s called upon.”

Kidd has said repeatedly that everyone needs to be ready and that the players on the court have to play with high energy all the time if they expect to stay on the court.

“If you look at the minutes, it’s been pretty much spread out,” Kidd told reporters before Wednesday’s game against Chicago. “We’re playing a lot of guys right now. We’re going to change the lineup a little bit. For the most part, the guys that have been on the floor have been productive. Again, our energy and effort has to be high with whoever is on the floor.”

Be ready for another lineup change. Always be ready.

What to Watch For: Grizzlies

We’ve written frequently in the recaps and previews up to this point about how sharp the Bucks have looked defensively. We’re still working with a small sample size, one that includes some bad offensive teams mind you, but the Bucks seem like a very good defensive team.

Well, while the Bucks seem like a good defensive team, the Grizzlies are a good defensive team. I don’t write that to slight the Bucks. They’ve played hard and have at least one foundational piece of a great defense (Larry Sanders). But they don’t have the history.

The Grizzlies have an extensive defensive history that supports the current team’s defensive dominance case. Over the last four seasons they’ve ranked: 8, 2, 7 and 9 in defensive rating. The two players who seem to have contributed the most to that success, Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, are still prominently involved, and the Grizzlies are as good as ever. They are currently second in defensive rating, allowing just 94.3 points per 100 possessions.

I don’t suspect the Bucks will get to 100 possessions against the Grizz tonight. I also don’t suspect they’ll get to 94 points.


Time – 7:30 p.m. CST  TV – FS-Wisconsin  Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Damien Inglis (foot, still out); Johnny O’Bryant (knee, remains inactive)

Grizzlies: Nah man.

Projected Lineups

Bucks: Brandon Knight – Kendall Marshall – Jabari ParkerErsan Ilyasova – Larry Sanders (BUT REALLY WHO KNOWS, RIGHT!?)

Grizzlies: Mike Conley – Tony Allen – Courtney Lee – Zach Randolph – Marc Gasol

Choose the Form of the Destructor: Vince Carter

Carter isn’t playing much for the Grizzlies. He’s averaged just 14.3 minutes per game off the bench. At least as of a month ago, Carter wasn’t too worried about the minutes though. It’s highly likely that Carter knows he’s around for April and May, not November and December. The Grizzlies have consistently been an underwhelming 3-point shooting team and its been a bit of a thorn in their paw (BECAUSE BEARS!) come playoff time. So Carter won’t have many spots to pick in the regular season.

Maybe tonight though. Memphis is on the second night of a back-to-back and he played only 19 minutes against the Thunder in Oklahoma Friday night. Gasol logged 41 minutes in a game that went down to the buzzer. Conley played 35 minutes. Lee played 35 minutes. The Grizzlies may look for a bit more from their bench on Saturday night. And we’ve seen Carter deliver when his team needs it before.

It may still be too early for Vinsanity this season. But I’m on the lookout.

Prediction: Points Will Be Scarce, But Memphis Will Have More

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