Bucks/Cavs: Bucks get a test against the best

2009/2010 NBA Season

Cle_medium


Mil_medium
58-16 (32-4 road)
vs.
41-32 (15-21 road)
March 31, 2010
Quicken Loans Arena
6:00 PM
Radio: WTMJ AM 620 TV: FSN-Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Mo Williams
PG Brandon Jennings
Anthony Parker
SG Charlie Bell
LeBron James
SF John Salmons
Antawn Jamison
PF Luc Mbah a Moute
J.J. Hickson
C Andrew Bogut

(4th) 111.6 - OFFENSE - 104.6 (23rd)
(7th) 103.5 - DEFENSE - 102.9 (4th)
(25th) 91.0 - PACE - 92.1 (18th)

Linkage

Fear The SwordCavs The Blog / Cleveland.com

News/notes after the jump...

Hello, Cleveland! What do the Cavs do well? Um, how about...everything? The Cavs and the Magic are the only teams ranked in the top ten of both offensive and defensive efficiency, though if you want to nitpick then you might point out they don't force turnovers (26th in opponent turnover rate) and are below average on the offensive glass as well (21st offensive rebound rate). 

OK, so no team is perfect, but the Cavs have been close to it at home this season, compiling a league-best 32-4 record in Cleveland.  Their last home loss was against the Nuggets on February 18, as LeBron's downright silly 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists weren't enough in a 118-116 OT defeat.  Interestingly, they only started the season 2-2 at home, dropping the opener against Boston and a one-point loss to the Bulls.  So since November 5 they're a staggering 30-2 at the Q.  This is a very roundabout way of saying the Bucks are going to need a hell of an effort to win tonight, which of course you already knew.

Back-to-Back.  The Bucks' degree of difficulty tonight is even higher given they're playing their second game in 24 hours, though for some reason that hasn't bothered the Bucks much this season. Milwaukee has won 11 of 17 games on the second night of a back-to-back, including eight of their last ten.  One of those was the Bucks' 92-85 home win over Cleveland on March 7, though that win came with a major caveat: LeBron didn't play.

The fact that Milwaukee rested their starters in the fourth quarter of last night's win doesn't hurt either--only Charlie Bell (38 minutes) played more than 29 minutes.  That's especially good news for Andrew Bogut (25 minutes last night), whose numbers drop off noticeably when he doesn't have at least one day of rest: 13.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 47.1% shooting.  It's also worth noting that the comfortable win over the Clippers was the Bucks' first win by more than an eight point margin since March 5, when they throttled the Wizards 102-74.  The Bucks weren't bad in that span by any stretch--they won eight of eleven games--but it's encouraging to see them put away a lesser team early.

Big Rotation.  While LeBron will be back, defensive ace Anderson Varejao is expected to miss his second straight game with a strained hamstring.  J.J. Hickson is still starting as a slightly undersized center, so expect the Bucks to at least try to go at him with the bigger Bogut--we'll see how much Cleveland looks to double.  The Cavs also re-signed Zydrunas Ilgauskas a week ago (he's averaging 20 mpg since his return), so they can get bigger (and slower) in a hurry as well.

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