Nuggets update. Winners of 21 of their last 24 games, Denver can clinch home court in the first round with a win tonight, though like the Bucks they're also battling injuries as they get ready for the postseason. With starting small forward Danilo Gallinari (torn ACL) already done for the season, the Nuggets lost starting power forward Kenneth Faried to a nasty ankle injury on Sunday against Portland. Still, George Karl's bunch cruised to their franchise-record 55th win on Sunday and will be desperate to win their remaining two games in order to avoid either the Clippers or Grizzlies (both a game back at 54-26) in the first round.
On the plus side, starting point guard Ty Lawson (plantar fasciitis) is back in the lineup and French rookie Evan Fournier (24 points in Gallinari's stead) acquitted himself rather brilliantly in his second start against Portland.
Hurting Bucks. No word as of yet on the return of Larry Sanders (back) and Brandon Jennings (sore Achilles), both of whom are listed as doubtful for tonight's game. Marquis Daniels is also a question mark, so for now we've got the same starters we saw Saturday in Charlotte.
Sanders suffered a nasty fall after colliding with Faried in mid-air when the teams met before the all-star break in Denver, an injury that opened the door for Sam Dalembert to score a career-high 35 points against the Nuggets. Yes, the same Dalembert whom the Bucks were reportedly loathe to deal at the deadline but hasn't played in the last six games despite Sanders missing most of the last three. Glad that worked out.
Update #1: According to TMJ4 sports anchor Lance Allen, coach Jim Boylan has indicated that Jennings will play tonight but Sanders remains "very questionable". No word on whether Jennings will start.
Update #2: Jennings will start while Monta Ellis will play despite an illness that caused him to miss shootaround. Unfortunately the one player who won't be available is also the Bucks' most valuable one: Larry Sanders.
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels and Luc Mbah a Moute will all play tonight according to Coach Boylan. #MILvDEN— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 15, 2013
Home. It's fan appreciation night at the BC tonight, though it'd be nice if there had been more to appreciate this season. Milwaukee has lost eight in a row on the road, but I'd argue it's their middling home record which has been the bigger issue this season. Even if Milwaukee loses its final road game of the season in Oklahoma City this week, they'll finish just two games off the road pace (18-23) they had in the 46-win season of 09/10. The big difference is that the Bucks actually won home games that year, taking 28 of 41 at the Bradley Center. This year they've hovered around .500 for most of the season and need a win tonight to match the ho-hum 22-19 record they put up in 10/11. Last year it was more of the same, as the Bucks were just 17-16 in Milwaukee.