Bucks/Grizz: Preview

Bucks (18-30, 5-22 road, 12th East) @ Grizzlies (13-34, 9-17 home, 13th West)

Gametime: 7:00 pm CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 21st (100.6 pts/100 poss), Defense 28th (107.8), Rebounding 19th (.499 rr), Pace 22nd (92.7)
Grizzlies Stats: Offense 16th (103.1 pts/100 poss), Defense 29th (108.0), Rebounding 24th (.489 rr), Pace 7th (97.0)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Royal Ivey / Bobby Simmons / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Grizzlies Lineup: Kyle Lowry / Juan Carlos Navarro / Mike Miller / Rudy Gay / Darko Milicic

Bucks Injuries: Michael Redd has missed four straight with a left knee strain and did not travel with the team. Yi Jianlian is day-to-day with a shoulder injury he sustained on Saturday. Awvee Storey did not travel with the team due to illness.
Grizzlies Injuries: Rookie Mike Conley has missed four straight games with a chest contusion, but is expected to play.

07/08 Series: Bucks 1-0. The Bucks squeaked out a 102-99 win in Milwaukee on November 14. Redd had 31/6/5 while Bogut had 23/12. Rudy Gay scored 26 on 9/15 fg, but had just one rebound and no assists. Desmond Mason hit a mid-range jumper with 14 seconds left and the Bucks breathed a sigh of relief when Pau Gasol missed a potential tying three at the horn.

Key Points:

  • Coming off Saturday's 91-83 home loss to the Rockets (Alex's recap), the Bucks have lost three in a row and will again be without the services of Michael Redd in Memphis. That's not something altogether new, as Royal Ivey has now started 12 games this year due to Redd and Mo Williams injuries. What is new is the possibility that Yi Jianlian will be out due to a shoulder injury he sustained against the Rockets on Saturday. Yi has started all 48 games so far this season, joining Bogut as the only Bucks to not miss a start. Yi's absence would open the door for Charlie Villanueva to start for the first time this season following his 14 point performance (in just 18 minutes) on Saturday. Villanueva has been generally disappointing this season but given Yi's miserable last month the starting unit shouldn't be any worse for the wear with Villanueva in there.  If the Grizzlies stick with their small starting lineup from last game, CV would match up with former UConn teammate Rudy Gay (Edit: Charles Gardner writes they were roommates).
  • Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that the Grizzlies have undergone a major roster shakeup in the past week, beginning with the Pau Gasol trade that brought the team yet another young PG (Javaris Crittenton), Kwame Brown's expiring deal, two first round picks and the rights to Laker draft pick (and Pau's brother) Marc Gasol. They also shipped out disgruntled big man Stromile Swift to New Jersey for Jason Collins. This should be the first game the Grizzlies have their newly acquired players available to them, though at this point we'll guess they stick with the small lineup they used in their last game. While the deal has been universally lauded as a coup for the Lakers, it leaves the Grizzlies in full-on rebuilding mode around Gay (19.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Mike Conley, who has struggled with injuries and remains behind Kyle Lowry at the moment.
  • Another possibility for the Grizzlies' starting options is Hakim Warrick at the PF spot with Navarro moving to the Bench and Miller/Gay shifting to their more natural 2/3 positions.  After spending much of the season on the bench, Warrick has been getting more regular minutes of late; he had 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks against Utah. Last season Warrick scored a career-high 31 along with 13 rebounds in the Grizzlies' 100-94 loss in Milwaukee. He'll likely be forever branded a tweener, but he's been productive whenever he's played over the last 18 months (15.9 PER this year and last).
  • Lost in all the trade talk is what the Grizz have been up to on the court; shockingly, it's not great. Like the Bucks they've lost three in a row, the latest being a 110-91  home loss to Utah on Saturday. The Grizz have been even worse defensively than the Bucks this season but do like to push the tempo a bit, so we'll see if the Bucks look to do more in transition this time around. Especially given they travel to Dallas for a game 24 hours later, the Bucks would be well-served by taking advantage of the Grizzlies' state of flux.
  • With Gasol gone, former first overall pick Kwame Brown comes into town looking to earn a new deal...somewhere. After coming to LA in a sign-and-trade for Caron Butler--not Mitch Kupchak's proudest moment--Brown was occasionally serviceable but ultimately disappointing in LA, his struggles made all the more painful by Butler's development into an all-star in Washington. In Memphis he joins fellow lottery bust Darko Milicic, who's averaging just 6.5 ppg and 5.7 rpg on 44% shooting from the field and 45% from the line. While he does average 2 bpg, Milicic has generally been a disappointment since signing his three year, $21 million deal with Memphis this summer. It will be interesting to see if Gasol being out of the picture allows Darko more of an opportunity to show his stuff; he's had back-to-back double-doubles with 14/16 and 12/12 against Denver and Utah. Bogut had one of his better games of the year against Memphis in November, but if memory serves me correctly much of that damage came with Milicic on the bench.
  • Bogut is coming off a solid performance on Saturday, when he scored 21 points against Yao (a foul-plagued 12 point effort) and the Rockets. However he needed 20 shots to score those 21 points, tying his career-high for fga in a game. Bogut's 16/10 averages in January were easily his best overall numbers in 2+ years as a pro, and he'll likely have to shoulder the offensive burden again with Redd out. Meaning it would be a great time for Bogut to start improving on that career-low free throw percentage (.545).
  • Check out 3 Shades of Blue and Chris Herrington at Beyond the Arc for more on the Grizz.
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