There is no shoo-in tonight. (via ShoeShamlet)
Bucks (20-23, 9-16 road) @ Blazers (24-16, 14-4 home)
Gametime: 9:00 p.m. central time (FS Wisconsin)
|Luke Ridnour||PG||Sergio Rodriguez
|Michael Redd||SG||Brandon Roy
|Richard Jefferson||SF||Nicolas Batum
|Luc Mbah a Moute||PF||Lamarcus Aldridge
|Dan Gadzuric||C||Greg Oden
Bucks: Andrew Bogut (back spasms) is out.
Blazers: Steve Blake (right shoulder), Raef Lafrentz (right shoulder), and Martell Webster (left foot) are out.
Dec. 9: @Blazers 117 Bucks 113 OT
March 7: Blazers 103 @Bucks 101
08/09 Advanced Stats:
Bucks Offense: 18th (106.5 points/100 possessions) Defense: 10th (106.0) Pace: 15th (91.4)
Blazers Offense: 2nd (112.8 points/100 possessions) Defense: 24th (109.8) Pace: 30th (85.9)
Strange stats. We always note three advanced stats (offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and pace) in our previews. This is a most excellent occasion to reexplain what they mean, because Portland provides a prime (and extreme) example of why basic/straight stats are misleading. Offensive efficiency refers to the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions. You'll notice that Portland scores an underwhelming 97.9 points per game, 17th in the NBA (and right behind Milwaukee) using the basic stat. But, they are the 2nd most efficient offensive team in the NBA. Why? Because offensive efficiency controls for pace. Portland is 30th in pace, meaning they average fewer possessions per game (85.9) than any other team. As such, because they don't have many scoring chances by virtue of their slow pace, they don't score many points. Don't be fooled though, Portland is a premier offensive club. [Think of it this way: a baseball player who reaches base 10 out of 25 times (.400) is better (more efficient) than the hitter who goes 12-55 (.218), despite reaching base fewer times overall, right? It's all about the number of opportunities.] Same thing with these basketball stats. You can apply the same logic to defensive efficiency, of course. The Blazers are 9th in the NBA, allowing only 95.3 points per game. This time, Portland is overvalued rather than undervalued because of their slow pace; they are actually only 24th in defensive efficiency.
Fourth quarter fun. Brandon Roy is really good. And he's even better in the fourth quarter. Roy is third in the NBA in fourth quarter scoring, averaging 7.3 points. He trails only LeBron James (8.3) and Dwyane Wade (7.5). But he shoots a better percentage than either of them in the fourth. And he's far better from deep. Roy's fourth quarter shooting stats: 51.7 FG% and 41.4 3PT%.
Homey. Rookie guards Rudy Fernandez (15) and Jerryd Bayless (14) combined for 29 points off the bench, but Portland lost 102-97 in OT to Charlotte on Saturday. That dropped the Blazers to 10-12 on the road. Unfortunately, the Bucks are in Portland late tonight, where the home team is 14-4. If Milwaukee can do the impossible and lose in L.A. to the Clippers, maybe they can do the impossible again and win in Portland... Or maybe if they can lose in L.A. to the Clippers they have no chance to win in Portland.