Bucks (4-4, 0-4 road) @ Cavs (5-5, 2-2 home)
Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams/Michael Redd/Desmond Mason/Yi Jianlian/Andrew Bogut
Cavs Lineup: Daniel Gibson/Sasha Pavlovic/LeBron James/Drew Gooden/Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Bucks Injuries: Mike Ruffin is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured wrist.
Hawks Injuries: Larry Hughes is out with a leg injury. Anderson Varejao is still out with inoperable hubris. Eric Snow has a left knee injury but has been cleared to play. Donyell Marshall has been out with a wrist injury. Cedric Simmons is probably out with an ankle injury. Rookie Demitris Nichols has not played this season due to a combination of back spasms and being Demetris Nichols.
06/07 Series: The Cavs swept the season series 4-0. Ilhan breaks it down for us.
- The Cavs are coming off a 99-94 home win against the Jazz last Friday, with LeBron James dropping a ho-hum 40/10/9 including 34 in the second half. You know a guy is good when he puts up those kinds of numbers and you don't bat an eye. LBJ is averaging a silly 29/8/8 for the season, but with his 67% clip from the line he's also on pace (at this super-early juncture at least) to continue a very odd trend: King James' free throw accuracy has gotten worse every year he's been in the league.
- While Varejao was probably the Cavs' most versatile post defender last season, don't sleep on the great work Ilgauskas and Gooden have done in his absence. The two are averaging a combined 30 ppg and 22 rpg so far this season, but tonight Dwayne Jones will be their only bench big available. Unfortunately the Bucks don't draw a lot of fouls, but it would be a big help if they could get one of those guys in some early foul trouble.
- The Bucks and Cavs are virtually even in both offensive and defensive efficiency so far this year: The Bucks are scoring 100.5 (18th) and allowing 103.5 pts/100 possessions (21st), while the Cavs are scoring 100.6 (17th) and allowing 103.9 (22nd). Both teams have been rebounding the ball well, with the Cavs third in the league in rebound rate (52.8% of all misses) and the Bucks eighth (51.5%). In contrast to their more plodding half court style last year (90.8 possessions/game), the Cavs are now ninth in the league in pace (97.9) while the Bucks are 26th (93.6).
- Here's a weird stat: despite their five wins, Cleveland has not led going into the fourth quarter of any of its ten games this year. In other words, don't be surprised if it's a close game in spite of the Bucks' eight game losing streak in Cleveland and 0-4 road record thus far.
- Here comes the old debate: stop the superstar or stop his supporting cast? Last year the Bucks were done in mostly by the latter, with Drew Gooden going off for 31/16 (season-highs) in Milwaukee on January 5 after Donyell Marshall dropped 29/10 in the first game in Cleveland. Bron-Bron meanwhile averaged a fairly pedestrian (by his standards) 24/6/8 in the four meetings last year, including an 8 point clunker in the game where Gooden went off. The last time the Bucks beat the Cavs? December 10, 2005, when LeBron scored 52.
- Jim Paschke thinks the Bucks would be best served focusing on stopping the other guys, and also notes Mike Redd hasn't made a three on the road all year (0/15).
- Bogut comes into the game averaging 22 ppg, 11.5 rpg and 4 bpg in the last two games, and his matchup with the plodding Big Z could prove favorable given the way Bogut has been active and finding good spots offensively. He averaged 14/11 in three games against the Cavs last year.
- It seemed last spring everyone was ready to anoint Daniel Gibson the answer to the Cavs' PG woes after a couple great playoff performances, but he's come back down to earth a bit this year, averaging 11/3/3 in extended minutes with Eric Snow hurt. Still, you can't complain about your PG shooting over 50% from the field and long distance.
- Check out Brian Windhorst for all the latest on the Cavs.