Raptors vs. Bucks Preview: Ekpe Udoh! Ben Uzoh! Beno Udrih!

2011/2012 NBA Season

vs.

22-42 (10-22 road) 30-33 (16-15 home)
April 23, 2012
Bradley Center
7:00 PM CT
Radio: 1250 WSSP TV: FS Wisconsin ALTERNATE
Probable starters:
Ben Uzoh PG Brandon Jennings
DeMar DeRozan SG Monta Ellis
Alan Anderson SF Luc Mbah a Moute
Amir Johnson PF Ersan Ilyasova
Aaron Gray C Drew Gooden

(26th) 100.8 - OFFENSE - 106.4 (10th)
(14th) 105.1 - DEFENSE - 105.9 (18th)
(26th) 89.2 - PACE - 93.6 (3rd)

On the Raptors: Raptors HQ / Raptors Republic / RaptorBlog

The playoff formula for the Bucks is simple: win their final three games (vs. Tor, vs. Phi, @Bos) and hope Philly loses all three of theirs (@NJ tonight and @Det, with a visit to the BC sandwiched between). So while it already feels like the Bucks' playoff hopes are toast, any combination of Bucks loss or Philly win from here on out will make it official.

And when that happens I'll shut up about it and we can focus on the stuff everyone really wants to talk about--the draft, free agency, and all the trade shenanigans and front-office upheaval that may come with it. But for now the Bucks' aim is simple: win at home tonight against the depleted Raptors and hope to fight another day.

Update: Ted Davis tweets that Carlos Delfino (groin) will miss another game while Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) and Monta Ellis (hand) are game-time decisions. Mbah a Moute has been starting in Delfino's place, so if he is out it would presumably mean actual minutes for Tobias Harris tonight.

Rumormill heating up. The Bucks are likely in for some major changes this summer, and it could start in the front office.

Bucks.com: Bucks find fourth quarter rhythm
In his second piece at Bucks.com, the comparable Alex Boeder looks at the Bucks' fourth quarter renaissance. Sixth best fourth quarter team in the NBA? Yep.

Injuries. The Raptors are among the slew of teams in tight battle for the #3 to #9 lotto spots, meaning that Bryan Colangelo likely has no interest in seeing his team win tonight. The Raps are just two games behind the Hornets for the 3rd slot in the lottery order but also two games ahead of the 9th seeded Pistons--in other words, every loss counts. On that note, Toronto has lost three straiight and scored 72 and 73 points in the last two games.

I'm guessing the players are less excited about adding a high draft pick, but the problem is that not many Raptors are even left on Dwane Casey's bench. Andrea Bargnani has a calf injury that will shelve him the rest of the season (tanker's calf perhaps? Deron Williams may have a similar affliction), Jerryd Bayless is out with an obligue injury, and Jose Calderon's eye injury will likely keep him out the remainder of the season.

That leaves the Raptors' remaining point guards as Ben Uzoh and...uh, Gary Forbes? In case you're curious, Forbes is a 6'7" small forward, so it should be rather interesting to see how the Bucks decide to match up with the 6'3"-and-under brigade of Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and Beno Udrih getting most of the backcourt minutes these days. By the way, this means that the opposing PGs in the last two Bucks games will have been Ben Uzoh, Sundiata Gaines and Armon Johnson. Just sayin'.

Name game. There's a damn good chance that Ben Uzoh, Beno Udrih and Ekpe Udoh are all on the court at the same time tonight. Tickets still available, friends!

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