What to Watch For: Bucks (11-10)
Just four days ago, these two teams played a surprisingly close game that ended in really the only way any of us could have expected:
Now the Bucks have to do it all over again in Dallas against a team that will want to prove that the previous close game was a fluke.
One of the significant contributors to the Bucks’ last loss was the fact that they gave up a whopping 17 offensive rebounds, many of which bounced into the hands of Tyson Chandler during his 18-point, 20-rebound (10 offensive) outing. Because the Mavericks aren’t exactly the type of team you would expect to consistently rein in on defense, the Bucks’ best chance for success is keying in on those defensive rebounding opportunities and limiting Dallas to one shot attempt per trip down the floor. The frontcourt remains thin with John Henson and Ersan Ilyasova not traveling to Dallas and Larry Sanders dealing with an illness, which means that veteran Zaza Pachulia and youngsters Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo will have to step up their energy on the defensive glass if they have a hope of overcoming the Mavs’ firepower.
What to Watch For: Mavericks (15-6)
They get Dirk Nowitzki back for this go-around, which is kind of huge. At least, it is as an upgrade from Al-Farouq Aminu. Parker will be tested on defense, for sure. I feel like “veteran savvy” gets thrown around a lot, but Nowitzki really exemplifies the type – not particularly fast or agile, but someone who’s been around the league and remains a threat to score from just about anywhere on the court. Parker may be able to press his athletic advantage on offense, but how he handles himself against an all-time great scorer will help shed light on where the rookie is defensively.
You should always keep an eye on Monta Ellis, too. Check out the clip at the top of the preview if you’re wondering why. The chip on his shoulder when he faces any of his former teams just seems to get bigger at every meeting.
Time – 7:30 p.m. CST TV – FS-Wisconsin Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova (nasal fracture; out); John Henson (foot; out); Damien Inglis (post-surgery — right ankle; out); Johnny O’Bryant (right knee sprain; out)
Mavericks: Raymond Felton (ankle; out); Dirk Nowitzki (back; probable)
Bucks: Brandon Knight – O.J. Mayo – Jabari Parker – Giannis Antetokounmpo – Zaza Pachulia
Mavericks: Jameer Nelson – Monta Ellis – Chandler Parsons – Dirk Nowitzki – Tyson Chandler
Choose the Form of the Destructor: Tyson Chandler
I think the theory here is that if we just don’t talk about Monta, he can’t hurt us any more. Right?
But even before Ellis hit a crazy buzzer-beater, Chandler had his way with the Bucks’ frontline in these teams’ previous matchup. His 10 offensive rebounds were a killer, especially on a night when the Mavericks weren’t shooting all that well from the field. I’m not sure that either Pachulia or Sanders has the ability to corral him around the basket and keep him away from rebounding opportunities, but if they don’t do something he’ll go right back to work and make it another long night for the Bucks.