Bucks (7-5, 1-4 road, 5th East) @ Hawks (5-8, 3-3 home, 11th East)
Bucks Stats: Offense 12th (104.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 24th (106.4), Pace 23rd (93.4), Rebounding 9th (.513 rr)
Hawks Stats: Offense 19th (101.3), Defense 20th (104.5), Pace 30th (92.0), Rebounding 19th (.497 rr)
Bucks Injuries: Mike Ruffin is out 2-4 weeks with a fractured wrist. Desmond Mason and Mo Williams played yesterday despite ankle injuries. David Noel will have his wrist examined later this week but he was headed to the D-League anyway.
Hawks Injuries: Acie Law is out with a sprained ankle. Speedy Claxton and Lorenzen Wright have yet to play this season because of a sore left knee and plantar fasciitis, respectively.
06/07 Series: The Bucks won two of three, winning in Atlanta last November before the teams traded home wins last April. The November victory was a costly one however, as Charlie Villanueva suffered the shoulder injury that eventually ended his season. Since neither team was all that interested in winning the last two games, we probably don't need to rely on those numbers too much.
- This is the first rematch of the season for the Bucks, having beaten the Hawks 105-96 in Milwaukee less than two weeks ago.
- The Hawks were coming off a draining double-OT loss last time out, so even the return of Josh Smith (38 points) wasn't enough to overcome their tired legs. This time out both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back, the Bucks coming off their disappointing home loss to the Sixers and the Hawks coming off a 90-78 loss to the Bulls in Chicago.
- As Bogut goes, so go the Bucks. The Bucks are 6-0 when Bogut scores 12 or more points and 4-1 when he records a double-double. In seven wins Bogut has averaged 14.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and 2.4 bpg on .564 fg% while in the five losses he has averaged 8.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 1.6 bpg on just .362 fg%. The Aussie logged 21/10 and four blocks in the earlier meeting, and could definitely use a similar performance from him this time out. However, Bogut has also been much better at home than on the road: 13.9 ppg and 8.9 rpg on .539 fg% compared to 9.4/8.2/.408.
- Horford is starting again after briefly losing his center spot after Zaza Pachulia returned from leg injuries. That would match up the rookie from Florida against Andrew Bogut and leave Yi Jianlian to deal with Josh Smith. Horford is neck-and-neck with Yi in my ROY standings, averaging 8.5 ppg (.500 fg%), 10.2 rpg and 1.4 bpg in 32 mpg. Yi meanwhile is averaging 10.1 ppg (.425 fg%), 6.1 rpg and 1.3 bpg in 26 mpg.
- Josh Smith was the danger man last time out, but he's been struggling mightily from the field, shooting just 37% including 2/14 last night. Still, he leads the league with 3.7 bpg so expect Yi to get packed at least a couple times if he tries to drive the lane.
- Joe Johnson as usual leads Atlanta in scoring with 22.6 ppg, but his accuracy has been down so far this season (.421 fg/.316 3fg vs. .471/.381 last year). Mike Redd did a nice job holding him to 14 in the first meeting between the teams.
- The Bucks should get a boost by having Bobby Simmons back on the bench. Simmons missed last night's game reportedly due to a family illness. Hope all is well, Bobby.
- Professional Buck hunter Tyronn Lue is now coming off the bench in favor of Anthony Johnson at PG. Lue averaged 18.7 ppg and 6.7 apg in three games against the Bucks last year, and scored 10 points on 5/7 fg in the first matchup this year.