Bucks/T'Wolves: Preview

Bucks (26-55, 7-33 road, 13th East) @ Timberwolves (21-59, 14-26 home, 14th West)

Gametime: 8:00 PM CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA LP Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 22nd (102.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 30th (109.9), Rebounding 11th (.506 rr), Pace 15th (93.8)
Timberwolves Stats: Offense 27th (100.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 27th (109.0), Rebounding 19th (.499 rr), Pace 13th (94.2)

Bucks Lineup: Ramon Sessions / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Timberwolves Lineup: Marko Jaric / Randy Foye / Kirk Snyder / Ryan Gomes / Al Jefferson

Bucks Injuries: Mo Williams is out with an abdominal strain. Yi Jianlian is out with a sprained MCL. Charlie Bell is out with a right knee sprain.

Timberwolves Injuries: Sebastian Telfair has missed the last month with an ankle injury.

07/08 Series: Bucks 1-0. The Bucks beat Timberwolves 95-92 on December 15.

Key Points:

  • After their first six games in April, the T'Wolves have bounced back with road wins on back-to-back nights in Orlando and Memphis.  In Memphis the Wolves pulled down 62 rebounds as four players has double-digit boards, including Kirk Snyder's 22/11 and Al Jefferson's 21/10.
  • Way back in December the Bucks edged Minnesota at the Bradley Center, getting 22/13 from Yi Jianlian and 32 points, six rebounds and nine assists from Mike Redd. Meanwhile, Craig Smith had 30/10 and Al Jefferson 23/15 for Minnesota. The loss dropped Minnesota to 3-19, while the Bucks improved to 10-13. Since then Minnesota has gone 18-40; the Bucks just 16-42.
  • The main reason to watch the Bucks this month: Ramon Sessions. After his Bucks' record 24 assists, 20 points and eight rebounds on Monday, Sessions' April averages are up to 10.0 ppg, 11.0 apg and 4.7 rpg.
  • Everyone thought the Celtics robbed Minnesota in the Garnett trade, but Al Jefferson has certainly held up his end of the bargain by averaging 21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg and 1.5 bpg on  .503/.724 shooting. While we won't claim Big Al is at KG's level quite yet, he's not that far off from Garnett's 22.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg and 1.7 bpg last year. Not a bad 23-year old to build around.
  • Yi Jianlian's dropoff in 2008 has caused occasional second-guessing of the Bucks' decision to take Yi sixth overall. But while fellow lottery picks Thad Young and Al Thornton have come on strong in recent months, Corey Brewer--another guy who worked out for the Bucks and went one spot later to Minnesota--has struggled most of the year. Brewer is averaging 5.7 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 23 mpg while shooting 37% from the field, but fortunately Brewer's a much better defender than scorer.
  • UPDATE: Royal Ivey has been suspended three games for hitting Aaron Gray in the junk on Monday. I remember a play where Gray went down by the baseline in pain, but don't recall seeing any replays. As noted by JS commenter Octopus Jonny (outstanding name, btw), Gray nailed Ivey with a big pick the last time the teams met in Chicago. Royal's the biggest flopper on picks I've seen--his technique usually involves throwing his arms up, stopping his upper body while his legs keep going and cause him to fall over like he was shot, Looney Tunes-style--but that pick really did seem to catch him off guard. Shocking that none of his teammates warned him. Either way this suspension is totally irrelevant from a practical perspective, but it does mean Ramon Sessions will probably have to play close to 48 minutes given the absence of Mo and Charlie B. How about 27 assists, Ramon?
  • For more on Minnesota, check out our new SBN blog brothers Canis Hoopus and Twolves Blog
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