Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The Milwaukee Bucks (13-10) will appear on ESPN for the first and only time this season (barring any rescheduling) when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (16-6) at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. tip).
|2012/2013 NBA Season|
|Dec. 19, 2012|
|FedExForum | Memphis, TN|
|8:30 p.m. CT|
|ESPN / 620 WTMJ|
|Brandon Jennings||PG||Mike Conley|
|Monta Ellis||SG||Tony Allen|
|Marquis Daniels||SF||Rudy Gay|
|Luc Mbah a Moute||PF||Zach Randolph|
|Larry Sanders||C||Marc Gasol|
|2011/12 Advanced Stats|
|93.5 (6th)||Pace||89.9 (26th)|
|102.4 (23rd)||ORtg||106.2 (11th)|
|103.2 (9th)||DRtg||99.1 (1st)|
The Milwaukee Bucks will play in primetime on ESPN for the only (pre-scheduled) time this season on Wednesday night, when they tip off against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FexEx Forum at 8:30 p.m. CT. The Bucks will be playing the second game of a back-to-back (they dispatched the Pacers on Tuesday), while the Grizzlies have been resting since the they knocked off the Chicago Bulls at home on Monday night. The Bucks are 2-2 when playing without any rest, while the Grizzlies are a sterling 8-2 when playing after one day of rest.
The last national TV game didn't go very well for the Bucks. They suffered a 102-81 loss to New Orleans Hornets playing without No. 1 pick Anthony Davis in a game that certainly did not dazzle or excite the NBATV audience. The first meeting with the Grizzlies on Nov. 7 may have been worse than the Hornets game. Memphis shot 53 percent from the field and cruised to a 108-90 win in that contest, thanks in part to 50 points on 21-of-32 shooting from Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Marreese Speights.
The onus is on the Bucks to prove the team deserves recognition and attention from the national media. Wins against respectable opponents help to earn a team that type of attention, so taking down the Grizzlies on their home floor could be a big step for Milwaukee. It's silly to think the Bucks could provide a definitely answer on which direction they are heading, but it sure would be nice to see them take at least two steps in the same direction.
As we ponder what the Bucks will do with restricted free agent Brandon Jennings, possible free agent Monta Ellis, presently rich Ersan Ilyasova and other expiring veterans in the offseason, Kevin Lipe of Straight Outta Vancouver indirectly reminds us all why wise spending is so important when it comes to building towards sustainable success:
The Grizzlies have a several players making a lot of money next year. For the 2013-14 season, Rudy Gay will be making $17,888,931; Zach Randolph will be making $17,800,000; Marc Gasol will be making $14,860,523; and Mike Conley will be making $8,000,001. The year after that, Gay and Randolph have player options for $19.3 million and $16.5 million respectively, Gasol makes $15.8 million and Conley makes $8.6 million.
To put it simply, something has to give. That's $58 million tied up in four players, and that's not including Tony Wroten's rookie deal, team options on Josh Selby and Quincy Pondexter, Marreese Speights' player option, or Hamed Haddadi's $1.3 million. The Grizzlies are a small market team with a new ownership group. Unless they're willing to go far into the luxury tax to keep the entire core together, somebody's going to have to go eventually.
Be sure to check out Straight Outta Vancouver for more on the surging Grizzlies.
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