Nets (32-47, 12-27 road, 10th East) @ Bucks (26-53, 19-20 home, 13th East)
Bucks Stats: Offense 22nd (102.1 pts/100 poss), Defense 29th (109.3), Rebounding 12th (.506 rr), Pace 17th (93.7)
Nets Stats: Offense 25th (101.2 pts/100 poss), Defense 21st (106.4), Rebounding 13th (.504 rr), Pace 15th (93.9)
Bucks Injuries: Mo Williams has missed three four straight games with an abdominal strain. Yi Jianlian is out for the season with a sprained MCL. Charlie Bell is out with a right knee sprain. Charlie Villanueva missed the team's game last night against the Celtics with a strained hamstring. Jake Voskuhl is day-to-day with a sore ankle.
Nets Injuries: Josh Boone missed the team's game on April 9 with a tweaked knee.
- Last night, the Bucks fell 102-86 to the Celtics in Boston. The loss was their fourth in four tries against the team with the best record in the NBA. Less understandably, a loss tonight to the Nets would also make it a clean sweep and four losses against a decidedly mediocre opponent.
- The Nets officially joined the Bucks in the lottery with their 113-85 loss to the Raptors last night. They actually held a 30-18 lead after the first quarter but coincidentally got outscored 30-18 in the fourth quarter, and lost by 28 in the middle quarters. It's the first time the Nets have missed the postseason since 2001. Vince Carter led the Nets with 21 points and six rebounds.
- Carter has historically caught a lot of flak for his work ethic, performance in crunch time, and lack of a warrior mentality. At this point however the bad talk is a whole lot more hyperbole than reality. The Nets have disappointed this year, but Carter has stayed healthy and played quite well. He's averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.2 steals, along with very solid shooting percentages: .454/.350/.815. His 7.8 Roland Rating also speaks to how important he is to his team. Julian Garcia writes that Carter has been playing the entire year with a sprained ankle too. And rather than sulk since Jason Kidd's trade, he's assumed a leadership role.
Another factor that led to his better play, in addition to his improved health, is that Carter seems to have elevated his game in an effort to take on more of a leadership role since Jason Kidd was traded.
Indeed, Carter has only gotten better since losing one of the finest passing point guards ever. He's putting up particularly gaudy numbers in his last ten: 27.4 points on .485/.438/.844.
- This isn't breaking news, but the Bucks aren't exactly money in clutch time. We've witnessed some late-game heroics but for the most part the Bucks have struggled down the stretch. By one measure, scoring differential, the Bucks are the fourth worst fourth quarter team in the NBA, at - 1.8. By another measure, percentage of quarters won, the Bucks are the second worst fourth quarter team in the NBA, winning 36 % of their final periods.
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