Sonics/Bucks: Preview

Sonics (16-44, 6-23 road, 13th West) @ Bucks (22-38, 16-12 home, 12th East)

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

Bucks Stats: Offense 19th (102.0 pts/100 poss), Defense 30th (109.0 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 17th (.502 rr), Pace 23rd (93.1)
Sonics Stats: Offense 30th (97.4 pts/100 poss), Defense 20th (105.0 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 13th (.505 rr), Pace 5th (98.8)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Sonics Lineup: Earl Watson / Kevin Durant / Jeff Green / Chris Wilcox / Johan Petro

Bucks Injuries: Yi Jianlian exited in the third quarter against the Pacers on Sunday with a twisted left ankle and is day-to-day.
Sonics Injuries: Robert Swift is out with a torn meniscus.

06/07 Series: 1-0 Sonics. The Sonics beat the Bucks 104-98 on Dec. 7 in Seattle.

Key Points:

  • What happens when the NBA's worst offensive team (Sonics) plays the NBA's worst defensive team (Bucks)? We'll see tonight! The interesting part here is that the Sonics (worst offensive team) score more than the Bucks, and the Bucks (worst defensive team) don't allow as many points as the Sonics. Confused? The Sonics play at a much faster pace, inflating the number of the points they score in a given game. And the Bucks play at a relatively slow pace, meaning their point-per-game defense is a generous representation of their truly bad and inefficient defense. However, per possession rates reveal the truth: in this more revealing respect, the Sonics score fewer points than anyone, and the Bucks allow more points than anyone.
  • The first time these teams met this season, Michael Redd had one of his finest games of the year, going for 41 points including 4-8 from outside and 13-14 from the line. He also didn't commit a turnover. Not to be outdone, rookie Kevin Durant put up 35 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in carrying the Sonics to a win. About three months later, these two shooting guards are still scoring big: Redd is averaging 30.6 points in his last five games and Durant is averaging 21.2 in his last five. The key for both of them has been their ability to get to the line and convert. Redd has made 47-59 (.796) free throws in the last five games and Durant has made 36-40 (.900) at the line in the same span.
  • The Sonics are coming off a 100-97 loss to the Pistons last night. The Sonics took a 41-28 lead into the second quarter, but missed 10 of their first 11 shots to open the fourth quarter. Earl Watson led the Sonics with 23 points on 8-14 shooting along with seven assists. The Sonics were done in partly as a result of their ineffective bench, something the Bucks can relate to. The Sonics bench shot 4-17 (.235) from the field and scored 11 points in 67 combined minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bench play is giving the Bucks splinters according to Charles Gardner.

    Yi admitted it has not been easy to come off the bench after starting the first 48 games of the season and playing major minutes in numerous games.

    "It's not the same; it's two different feelings," Yi said. "When you're coming off the bench, you've got to be ready at any time to bump up the team's performance and help where you can, and work your hardest for the team at that point in the game."

  • This might be the last chance for Milwaukeeans to catch the Seattle Sonics at the Bradley Center. The Sonics appear destined for Oklahoma City, the place where the displaced Hornets played for part of last year. Supersonic Soul is still encouraging people to help Save the Sonics (and Storm).
  • As a TrueHoop reader pointed out, the official Sonics website is flashy, but barely mentions the city of Seattle. Coincidence?
  • I gave Kevin Durant my first place vote for Rookie of the Year in the latest Blogger MVP/ROY Rankings, (new installment set for March 10 release) but there is a group of players that aren't that far behind in my mind. And that's somewhat surprising. TrueHoop, armed with David Thorpe's knowledge, writes about Durant not always living up to the impossibly huge expectations. Yet the Sonic rookie is not sure how he could be better.

    By a million statistical measures Durant has been pretty much just bad, although there are a lot of mitigating factors, including his youth, his young team, and the fact that for some reason he is playing out of position at shooting guard.

    So there have been a lot of people saying he's not what he could be. And now he's talking back.

  • The Sonics are a young bunch, with only recent additions Donyell Marshall (34), Adrian Griffin (33), and Francisco Elson (32) being over 28 years old. The starters average 25 years, with Earl Watson (28) leading the way. Kevin Durant (19), Jeff Green (21), Chris Wilcox (25) and Johan Petro (22) round out the green starting five.
  • The Sonics allow the second most steals in the NBA, averaging 8.8 per game. They also turn the ball over 15.6 times per game, worst in the NBA. Despite this, the Sonics keep their cool; they have just eight technicals this season.
  • Check out Supersonic Soul for more on the Sonics.
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