In the first matchup of the season, the Bucks pulled away at the BC with a 28-12 third quarter after trailing at halftime to the Nets, who were 0-11 at the time. Chris Douglas-Roberts got his: 31/10/3. But Andrew Bogut, Carlos Delfino, and Luke Ridnour all chipped in with nice games. Regardless, quite a lot has changed since that game -- for both teams...
Not really new, but new from the last time these teams met. Star point guard Devin Harris is back for New Jersey -- he actually returned the very game after the first one against the Bucks. He's settled in nicely, but life without Vince Carter has forced him to shoulder even more of an offensive burden, contributing to a career-low 39.1 field goal percentage. Harris' eFG% (which adjust for three-pointers by using the formula: FG + 0.5 * 3P) is all the way down to 41.4 (almost as bad as Redd's 39.4 eFG%).
The former Wauwatosa East standout can still play some ball though -- he just put up 22/5/6 against the Cavs on Sunday and is among the league leaders making 5.4 free throws per game. That could spell trouble for Brandon Jennings and the foul-happy Bucks.
Also back for the Nets is former Buck first-rounder Yi Jianlian. Prior to a 2-13 night against Cleveland, Yi was actually very good since returning from injury: in the previous four games he averaged 22.5 points and 6.8 rebounds on .541 / .400 / .800 shooting. Yikes.
Bucks change too
Michael Redd and Luc Mbah a Moute were out for the first game against the Nets. And Carlos Delfino (remember him?) was one of the stars of the night, going for 21/4/6 including 4-8 on threes. Delfino, who had played 82 games each of his past two seasons in the NBA and ranks second on the team with 27 starts, didn't play for the first time this year, against OKC. Here is what I wrote after the Lakers game a few weeks ago:
CD. Stands for Carlos Delfino, but could be Coach's Decision after this one.
Okay, probably not, but Skiles has been known to take starters and turn them into DNP-CD's (see: Bell, Charlie) without much warning.
He of the 0-2 with zero points and five turnovers, be wary.
It took a little while, but Skiles doesn't mess around, and Delfino only had one strong game in his previous nine, as the team also happened to go 1-8 in that stretch. Will be interesting to see if he gets a look considering his big game the first time around against New Jersey. If I had to guess, I would say Skiles will give him a few minutes early.
NBA.com: Jennings named December Rookie of the Month
Congrats to Young Buck for winning the honor again. He really spoiled us in November, but before the season I doubt many would have argued about his December line: 16.7 points, 6.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds on .376 / .324 / .848 shooting.
The dip in three point shooting accuracy (from .493 in November to .324 in December) was a major downgrade, especially as Jennings actually shot more from outside in December (33-67 in Nov. and 23-71 in Dec.) despite having far less success. And that is even more striking when you see that he shot many fewer two-pointers in December (63-158 in Nov and in 80-202 in Dec.). Maybe getting too comfortable with the outside shot? We hope he starts regularly attending the Luke Ridnour School of Floaters, because right now he has a tough time finishing around the rim consistently.
Another thing: Jennings is going to win a couple more of these in the East, in part because he's supercool, in part because there are no other good rookies in the conference. Jonas Jerebko? Taj Gibson? Tyler Hansbrough? Umm?