Preview | Bucks at Blazers: Worst defense visits best offense

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the four-game road trip out of West figures to be incredibly difficult, even with Portland missing half of their All-Star combo.

2013/2014 NBA Season
Mil_medium
(13-54, 5-27 road)
vs.
Por
(43-24, 24-9 home)
March 18, 2014
Moda Center | Portland, OR
9:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Knight PG Damian Lillard
Nate Wolters SG Wesley Matthews
Khris Middleton SF Nicolas Batum
John Henson PF Dorell Wright
Zaza Pachulia C Robin Lopez
2013/14 Advanced Stats
91.6 (26th) Pace 95.2 (11th)
102.1 (26th) ORtg 111.9 (1st)
111.0 (30th) DRtg 107.4 (19th)

On the Blazers: Blazer's Edge | Portland Roundball Society | The Oregonian

The Bucks make their final trip out west this season, kicking off a four game road trip in Portland Tuesday night. The pacific swing also makes stops at Golden State, Sacramento, and Los Angeles, and is the beginning of a stretch for Milwaukee that has them playing seven of their next nine away from home over the next two-and-a-half weeks.

Lucky break (or no break). Blazers fans were able to breathe a big sigh of relief late last week when it was announced that All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge would only be out a handful of games after suffering "only" a lower back contusion when he fell directly onto his back during a game against the Spurs the week before. Aldridge has already been ruled out by Blazers (and ex-Bucks) coach Terry Stotts for the game against Milwaukee, and will be doubtful for Thursday, but should be fine for late playoff positioning and postseason play. Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge did a great job of consolidating coverage of the injury, including this bit on Aldridge's comments post-injury:

Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports this quote...

"I'm just relieved that it's just a bruise and not a broken tailbone or something," Aldridge said. "It could have been a lot worse. When I was in the air, I didn't know what to expect. When I hit the ground, I was in so much pain that all I could think about was the pain and if it was something serious. To get the MRI back was a relief."

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports these quotes (among others)...

Q: How about now? Feeling better?

A: "I'm better than I was. I'm not back to normal. I'm still on crutches. But it's just because the area was so traumatized that it's taking time to get everything back active and moving good. But I'm definitely better than I was. I couldn't even sit down my first day, my first night, I couldn't sit like this (he was sitting on the scorer's table). So this is improvement."

...

Q: What were your emotions when it all was going on? Were you concerned?

A: "I was mad at first because I felt like it wasn't a good play to make by (Aron Baynes). Because the ball was gone and I had scored, so I was kind of mad that he even slid in there. It couldn't have been a charge. So I was kind of mad at the way the whole thing happened. And then I was also mad because I had energy, and I felt like I was fixing to try to take over the game and be better than I was. So I was just kind of mad that it happened at that time, when I started to feel better. And then I was just concerned, because there was so much pain than I had ever felt before. And it wasn't going away. So I was just freaking out."

Work hard, play hard. Dorell Wright, Aldridge's replacement in the lineup, has played solid basketball since the injury, averaging 14 points in the two contests. His son, however, seems to be getting more attention as the standout athlete in the family, this per Mike Richman of the Oregonian. Sporting a similar hairstyle to Robin Lopez and playing alongside backup point guard Mo Williams' son, it appears that Wright is poised to do big things in his local youth league. Once he is able to dunk, look for the Bucks to make a call for his services.

In or out? Ersan Ilyasova missed Sunday's game against Charlotte with the same ankle injury that has been bothering him all season long after reportedly tweaking it the day before against New York. As Andrew Gruman of Fox Sports Wisconsin reports, it's tough for Ilyasova to play back-to-back right games at the moment, due to the constant problems he's dealing with.

"When you talk about these injuries there are good days and bad days," Drew said. "Do they completely heal? Chances are no because at some point you'll tweak it again. Just because of the constant pounding on the ankle causes things to linger on.

"That is one of the last things you want with that type of injury, for things just to linger on for a long period of time and apparently that is what is happening here."

Ilyasova will travel with the team on the road trip and has not been ruled out for tonight's game, but logic would suggest that John Henson will get the start. Then again, that's been the case this whole season and here we are still wondering why it hasn't happened yet.

Out with the old, in with the new? Our own Frank Madden breaks down the report from Gery Woelfel that Herb Kohl may sell his control of the franchise sooner than anticipated. It's a fair bit of encouraging news for fans, who were mostly of the conviction that this specific process would be dragged out for a little while longer. On the flipside, this would only be the first step in assuring that the Bucks remain in Milwaukee past their lease, which expires in 2017 (in case you had forgotten). There are still issues of forming a worthwhile team and finding them a new home to play in, but as Frank details wonderfully, that process will have to start somewhere, and that one sound decision has the potential to carry over to the other issues connected to the future of the franchise.

While it's difficult to see how any new ownership group could really commit to Milwaukee without a plan for a new arena in place, in the grand scheme of things the two issues go hand in hand. Without a new arena, new owners won't be able to keep the team in Milwaukee forever; likewise, without the energy and liquidity from new ownership, the task of making an arena happen becomes more difficult.

The key figure in all of this will likely be Kohl, who already saved the team from extinction once 30 years ago. To do it again, he'll have to pony up a huge chunk of his own fortune before even a cent of public funding can be brought into play, and the latter isn't a given no matter what Kohl does. Still, Kohl's legacy is in many ways riding on this, and with so much of his wealth tied up in the franchise value of the Bucks, it makes sense that selling off his beloved team may be the necessary first step to ensuring he has the money to build them a new home.

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