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Bucks/Kings: Preview

Bucks (8-11, 2-9 road, 10th East) @ Blazers (7-12, 7-4 home, 12th West)

Gametime: 9:00 PM CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA LP Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 16th (101.9 pts/100 poss), Defense 28th (107.9 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 9th (.510 rr), Pace 21st (93.2)
Kings Stats: Offense 15th (102.0 pts/100 poss), Defense 23rd (105.7 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 28th (.479 rr), Pace 11th (96.9)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Yi Jianlian / Andrew Bogut
Kings Lineup: Beno Udrih / John Salmons / Ron Artest / Mikki Moore / Brad Miller

Bucks Injuries: Bobby Simmons is not with the team due to personal reasons. Michael Ruffin is out 1-2 weeks with a fractured wrist. David Noel is out with a tear in his wrist that may require surgery.
Kings Injuries: Kevin Martin is out the rest of the month with a groin injury. Shareef Abdur-Rahim is out for the season with a knee injury. Mike Bibby has been out all season with a torn ligament in his left thumb and had his cast removed on Friday.

06/07 Series: 1-1. Both teams held serve at home, the Bucks winning 104-91 on November 4 and the Kings returning the favor 114-106 on January 24.

Key Points:

  • The Bucks come into the game road weary after dropping to 1-3 on their current road trip with last night's loss in Portland. Redd, Williams and Bogut all played over 40 minutes so this is the sort of game where you could see guys come out looking a little listless. That said, a win here could vaguely salvage the road trip and give the Bucks some hope with the two best teams in the East coming up: at home against the Magic on Wednesday and on the road in Boston on Friday. Losing against a depleted Kings squad makes it likely the Bucks will be 8-14 by the weekend.
  • The Kings continue to be ravaged by injuries, with Shareef Abdur-Rahim the latest name to be lost. The Bucks couldn't ask for a better time to catch the Kings, who have lost two in a row and are also missing Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby. That leaves Ron Artest as the team's lone star. Artest is quietly averaging 21 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 4.3 apg thus far, and there's probably no better news than the fact that Artest has been mostly seen and not heard.
  • The Kings lost on Saturday night 101-97 in Denver. Beno Udrih scored 24 and continues to surprise in Bibby's absence, averaging 14.9 ppg in 35 mpg. John Salmons had 25 starting in Martin's place, while Francisco Garcia scored 21 off the bench. Salmons has had a very nice start to the season, averaging 15/5 while posting a PER of over 17--he's never been better than a very mediocre 12.69 over a full season.
  • The Kings have been much better at home than on the road, going 7-4 at ARCO and 0-8 on the road. However, they surprisingly lost to the Clippers in their last home game.
  • With Martin out the Kings don't have many three point threats, nor do they rebound well (28th in the league). Artest, Udrih, Garcia and Salmons have all made 10+ threes this year, but only Artest averages more than one make per game. However the Kings have been much better at getting to the line, and have as many makes (455/566) as the Bucks have attempts (338/455). The Bucks will likely need to control the glass and get second chance opportunities to win.
  • Brad Miller has bounced back a bit from his miserable 06/07 campaign and is averaging 11/8, but his days as one of the league's better centers seem over. And not that he ever was a good-looking dude, but in his headshot he looks like he's wearing a bad disguise. Andrew Bogut has in the past often been compared to Miller, but that's nowhere near the compliment it used to be.
  • Meanwhile, heir apparent Spencer Hawes has been slow to get his bearings in the NBA, missing the start of the season with a knee injury and playing sparingly (10 mpg) since returning.
  • Jim Paschke talked to Bogut this morning about his improved defense (mp3). Jim noted that Andrew is tied for the league lead with 17.  
  • Check out Tom Ziller's great Sactown Royalty for more on the Kings.