Wiz/Bucks: Preview

Wizards (15-15, 6-8 road, 6th East) @ Bucks (12-19, 9-4 home, 12th East) @

Gametime: 7:30 pm CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/Free NBA Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @NBA.com
Bucks Gameday

Bucks Stats: Offense 19th (100.9 pts/100 poss), Defense 27th (107.1), Rebounding 11th (.508 rr), Pace 20th (93.5)
Wizards Stats: Offense 10th (105.3 pts/100 poss), Defense 23rd (104.6), Rebounding 6th (.515 rr), Pace 16th (94.0)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Bobby Simmons / Yi Jianlian / Andrew Bogut
Wizards Lineup: Antonio Daniels / DeShawn Stevenson / Caron Butler / Antawn Jamison / Brendan Haywood

Bucks Injuries: Mike Redd will be a game time decision with a thigh contusion he suffered in the third quarter against Miami. Desmond Mason is out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. David Noel has been out with a wrist injury. Dan Gadzuric apparently has a shoulder bruise.
Wizards Injuries: Gilbert Arenas is out with a knee injury. Antonio Daniels played on Wednesday after missing two weeks with a knee strain. Etan Thomas has been out all season with heart surgery. Darius Songaila missed the last game with an Achilles' injury. Oleksiy Pecherov is out with an ankle injury.

06/07 Series: 3-1, Wizards. The Bucks won at home on December 30, 119-102. The Wiz won 121-107 in Milwaukee on April 1 and won both games in Washington, 116-111 on November 10 and 108-105 on January 3.

Key Points:

  • The Bucks are entering a crucial portion of the season, as they follow this game by playing at Charlotte, at Philly and home against the Heat. Then it's out West, so the Bucks realistically have to get their house in order fast if they want to avoid sinking into the oblivion of the East.  This stretch contrasts when the Bucks had Philly at home, Atlanta on the road, the Knicks on the road, and Detroit at home following their 7-4 start. At that time they were feeling good and wound up losing all four, propelling them into the malaise they've been in since. Now they have to win to stay relevant in the East, and even a sweep of the next four leaves plenty of work to do. Following the next Miami game we should have a better feel for whether the Bucks
  • What's up with Mike Redd? A day after sitting out the fourth quarter and watching his teammates pull out a rare road win against the depleted Heat, Redd reportedly is a doubt for this game due to a thigh bruise, apparently suffered in the third quarter in South Beach. Redd leads the Bucks in scoring at 23.4 ppg along with 4.9 rpg and 3.8 apg, but he's also been a common target of frustration for his tendency to unsuccessfully try to take over games late. The problem is Redd and Mo Williams have been the team's only consistent threats offensively all year, as Bogut has struggled with his confidence of late while Charlie Bell and Bobby Simmons have been in funks all season long. Yi has been good for 10-12 every night, though he hasn't had any explosive performances since his 29 point game two weeks ago. Fortunately Bell, Simmons, and Bogut all showed some signs of life in Miami, and they'll need to keep it up if the Bucks are going to have any chance of winning without Redd. Charlie Villanueva was also among the contributors, though in fairness his inconsistency has included more regular positive contribution than Bell or Simmons, who've been pretty consistently bad.
  • How un-dominant have the Bucks been this season? They have just two double-digit wins all year: the 112-85 thrashing of the Raptors and the 100-86 win over the Magic. Odd that both came against playoff teams. Of course, they still have more blowout wins that Minnesota, which has accomplished the feat just once.
  • The Heat game marked the first time all year Bell and Simmons have scored in double figures in the same game. Pretty remarkable. Simmons was then rewarded by watching from the bench in the fourth, so let's hope he keeps it up and Larry K rewards him for it. Of course, if Redd is out they'll have no choice but to give Simmons big minutes, as Bell and Ivey will fill in the SG minutes and Simmons and likely CV will take up most of the SF minutes.
  • The Wiz are hanging in just fine without Gilbert Arenas, compiling a 12-10 record since Arenas went under the knife in mid-November. Jamison has stepped up, especially on the glass, averaging 21.8/10.8 while Caron Butler is averaging a career-high 22.1 ppg including 50% from the field and 40% from deep, after shooting just 25% from distance last year. Butler's also averaging 6.9 rpg and 4.5 apg, so he's doing more than just filling it up. While Yi seems like a decent cover for Jamison, it remains to be seen if the Bucks will have any answer for Butler. Simmons has been slowed all year by the after effects of his foot injury while Bell gives up lots of size.
  • Brendan Haywood is having a career-year, averaging 10.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 1.7 bpg in just 28 mpg. That's good for a pretty excellent 19.54 PER, which compares rather favorably to Bogut, who's averaging 11.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 1.84 bpg in 33 mpg and a 15.17 PER. His PER is down slightly from last year's 15.54. Bogut's shooting a career-low .503 from the field and .531 from the line, and his nights have been pretty predictable of late: get some good looks early off designed plays to free him close to the basket, then fade into the background, passing a lot from the top of the key where he's no threat to score.
  • The Wiz are coming off a 106-93 home loss to the unstoppable machine that is the Detroit Pistons. Butler had 22/7/6 while Jamison chipped in 21/9 and Haywood 15/10.
  • Bullets Forever has more on the Wiz.
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