Knicks vs. Bucks Preview | Bucks take on Carmelo in Packer country

USA TODAY Sports

One week before the teams meet in their regular season opener, the Bucks head north to Green Bay looking to snap their preseason losing streak against Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.

2013 NBA Preseason
Mil_medium
(0-5, 0-1 home)
vs.
Nyk
(2-3, 2-3 road)
October 23, 2013
Resch Center | Green Bay, WI
7:00 CT
No Local / MSG | 620 WTMJ / Audio League Pass
Probable Starters
Luke Ridnour PG Pablo Prigioni
O.J. Mayo SG Iman Shumpert
Caron Butler SF Carmelo Anthony
Khris Middleton PF Andrea Bargnani
Larry Sanders C Tyson Chandler
2012/13 Advanced Stats
94.7 (3rd) Pace 89.8 (26th)
103.6 (22nd) ORtg 111.1 (3rd)
105.2 (12th) DRtg 106.3 (17th)

Linkage: Posting And ToastingKnickerbloggerBuckets Over BroadwayBucks Game Notes | Knicks Game Notes

Knicks update. The Knicks were without starting guards Ray Felton (hamstring) and Iman Shumpert (elbow) due to minor injuries in Monday's 123-120 double-overtime loss to Toronto, but they got good news yesterday when longer-term injury victims J.R. Smith (knee), Amare Stoudemire (knee) and Kenyon Martin all scrimmaged. None of them will play tonight, but Amare may at least be ready (whatever that means for him at this point) by the opener. Seven Knicks scored in double figures against Toronto, but here's the weird part: Carmelo Anthony wasn't one of them. And I won't bother reading anything into that, BECAUSE IT'S PRESEASON.

So what might be a relevant takeaway from this game, especially given the teams face off in the regular season opener a week from now? Well, Mike Woodson has been running out new acquisition Andrea Bargnani as his starting PF next to Tyson Chandler of late, which is of interest given Anthony was so effective as a small-ball four most of last season. Throw in Stoudemire, Martin and Metta World Peace and you have a rather diverse and complicated frontcourt rotation for Woodson to manage. Let me just say this: the more minutes we see Bargnani soaking up, the better I'll feel about the Bucks' chances both this week and next.

Bucks solider on. O.J. Mayo is expected back for the Bucks after missing Monday's game due to personal reasons, Zaza Pachulia looked solid in bench minutes against the Bulls and Ersan Ilyasova is no longer walking around in a boot. Are things finally looking up for the Bucks on the injury front?

UPDATE: Nope! Brandon Knight is out with a sore hamstring, an injury that has apparently bothered him for much of camp. Let's call it a precautionary move for now. Luke Ridnour starts in his place

Maybe a little bit, though until Ilyasova is back it's hard to really get a clear picture of what the Bucks can actually be this season. In the meantime, I'm not sure I see the Khris Middleton-as-power-forward gambit being worth another start, though it might be a useful look against the Knicks' personnel (whether it's Melo or Bargs at PF). Like many I have my concerns about the spacing dynamics of a John Henson/Larry Sanders frontcourt pairing, but I'd rather try more of that in the preseason--especially with Ilyasova still on the mend.

UPDATE: Middleton will start again, confirming that I don't have a say in the matter. Andrew Gruman reports:

"This is the time to experiment with it," Drew said. "We have to be prepared in the event that we do decide to go that way during the regular season. It's a chance to get another look at it, at least."

The Giannis Effect. Well this could be fun: John Hammond's latest discussion of Giannis Antetokounmpo suggests the Bucks may be ready to take the kid gloves off with their prized 18-year-old. As Steve writes, don't expect Giannis to be playing 30 minutes a night when the games start for real on October 30. But so long as injuries keep Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova on the shelf, odds are that Larry Drew will have reason to keep giving the rookie opportunities to learn on the job. Charles Gardner reports:

"I think he's made the most of his minutes in the preseason," Drew said after a workout Tuesday at Attack Athletics on Chicago's west side. "Still there's a lot he has to learn.

"He has to learn the pace and the speed at this level. We're still trying to work with him from the language side of it, making sure he understands our terminology. I can see at times he's still lost out there, but that's going to be part of it with an 18-year-old kid coming from a different country.

"He has definitely shown some flashes. But we just have to continue to work with him and hopefully he can get to the point where we can get him out there."

For more on Giannis, be sure to check out Jim Owczarski's terrific profile at OnMilwaukee.com. Really, really, really good.

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