|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|21-22 (13-6 home)
||17-23 (5-16 road)
|January 21, 2010|
|Air Canada Centre
Radio: WTMJ AM 620 TV: No local
|(4th) 111.3 - OFFENSE - 102.9 (25th)
|(30th) 112.9 - DEFENSE - 104.3 (8th)
|(15th) 92.9 - PACE - 93.5 (10th)
Two days since these two last sparred so we'll spare you the traditional scouting report. Thanks to a couple head-to-head wins already, the Bucks are just 2.5 games behind seventh-place Toronto in the standings.
But it's not hyperbole to say that the Raptors are a completely different team at home. The Raptors are 13-6 at home compared to 8-16 on the road, similar to the Bucks. Trouble is, this game is in Toronto, where they have already this month beaten the Mavericks and Spurs.
At the rim.
The Bucks shot 20-29 (.690) at the rim in Wednesday's win, compared to 10-22 (.455) for the Raptors. Keep an eye on that tonight, as the Bucks are typically one of the worst at the rim, the Raptors usually one of the best.
Ball Don't Lie: Halfway through the season, Central Division-style
This game marks the exact midway point for the Bucks, and they are on presently on pace for 35 wins. We predicted 34 in our season preview. And a plurality of you, the voters, chose the 36-40 win range. We are all looking pretty clairvoyant, this win pace doesn't really surprise. Although I don't think anyone foresaw Jennings leading the team in scoring, Jerry Stackhouse playing on the team, Luke Ridnour having Nashian shooting splits
, or Michael Redd getting injured.
The team's Pythagorean Record (18-22) suggests Milwaukee could easily have a win or two more, which makes a lot of sense considering they have been on the losing end of a few last-second losses along with their poor record in close games.
The 36-40 win-range still seems quite likely. The Bucks not only have that brutal west coast road trip out of the way, they play a couple more home than road games from here on. The longest trips now are a pair of three-game roadies: Feb. 25-28 against the Pacers, Heat, and Hawks, and March 17-20 against the Clippers, Kings, and Nuggets.
Draft Express: Brandon Jennings Rookie Retrospective
This really excellent detailed breakdown states a lot of what those of you who have been paying attention know: Jennings attempts difficult shots, struggles to finish at the rim (and on all sorts of two-point shots), is growing more comfortable as a passer, and must improve defensively.
One interesting paragraph among many interesting paragraphs, is how Jennings has fared shooting the ball while guarded versus while open:
An overwhelming 72% of his catch and shoot opportunities come in situations where he has a hand in his face, according to SST. However, in a testament to the way this season has gone thus far, Jennings has made 54% of such attempts, more than 10% better than when left open.
SLAM: H.O.R.S.E is back
Some pseudo-news: All-Star Weekend will feature (well, include) H.O.R.S.E. again. Contestants not yet announced, but Luke Ridnour can't really miss from anywhere. Just sayin'.
Halfway through the season, point guards Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings are still the top rookies. You probably remember the last few point guards to win Rookie of the Year: Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, (co-winner Steve Francis), and Allen Iverson. The latter, of course, being Young Buck's childhood hero and most common comparison.
Before that? Damon Stoudamire, a personal favorite. Mighty Mouse started right away, led his team in scoring, was undersized but quick as can be and had a sweet (if not streaky) lefty shot. You might think you know where I'm going with this now, and you might also think that it is not very flattering to Jennings. But I'm not really going there, and Stoudamire really was something like a phenomenon his first couple years in Toronto, look at those numbers. And sure, Damon's career stats are about as close of a match to Brandon's current ones as I've seen, and they have some similarities in production and in style.
One big difference among many to keep in mind? Stoudamire actually went to Arizona for a full four years before his rookie campaign. Plus, Damon's career-high is 54.