Nets (13-16, 6-5 road, 9th East) @ Bucks (11-17, 9-3 home, 11th East)
Bucks Stats: Offense 18th (101.2 pts/100 poss), Defense 27th (106.8), Rebounding 12th (.506 rr), Pace 18th (93.6)
Nets Stats: Offense 25th (98.8 pts/100 poss), Defense 16th (103.7), Rebounding 8th (.512 rr), Pace 24th (92.6)
Bucks Injuries: Desmond Mason is out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. David Noel is out with a wrist injury.
Nets Injuries: Nenad Krstic is out rehabbing his knee. Antione Wright has missed the last three games with an ankle injury and is out.
- The last time the Bucks played the Bulls, they followed it with probably their best game of the year in a 112-85 drubbing of the Raptors. (Frank's recap/my recap) Then again, last time the Bucks beat the Bulls. This time, the Bulls won. (my recap)
- The Nets came from behind to beat the Wizards 109-106 last night. They've also won three of four. The Bucks are happy to come home, where they are 9-3, but the Nets actually play better on the road than at home. They are one of eight teams in the NBA with a winning road record, at 6-5.
- Mo Williams played well with a 15 point/one turnover game against the Bulls. He must stay in top form in this showdown against a future Hall-of-Fame point guard. And hopefully he can put last night's officiating behind him before stepping on the court tonight.
"Look at the replay," Williams said. "Tell them to look at the replay. I really would like them to look at the replay and I can give them my phone number so they can call me and apologize. The whole world saw it."
- Jason Kidd is having another exceptional season, doing a lot of everything, leading the Nets in assists, rebounds, and steals. His rebounding clip is the best of his career, and he hasn't averaging more assists since the 1998-99 lockout season with the Suns. His scoring is down, but remains in double-digits, making him a nightly triple-double threat. Amazingly, all that separates him from averaging a triple-double is 1.3 rebounds per game. Kidd has made the All-Defense 1st or 2nd team nine times in his career. Last season however, Williams lit up the Nets for 25.0/5.3/6.0 on 51.9 % shooting in three games. Of course, Kidd played his part in the point guard offensive fireworks, averaging 18.7/7.3/10.7 on 53.8 % shooting against the Bucks.
- Despite having one of the greatest pure passers in history, the Nets rank last in the NBA in turnover ratio. And while you'd think the Kidd/Carter/Jefferson trio would like to push the ball, the Nets are just 24th in pace. Their offense is gearing up lately though. They've scored at least 100 points in five of their last seven games, after hitting the century mark just once in their previous seven tries. Carter is averaging 24.8 points in his last ten games, good enough for eighth in the NBA in that span.
- This game features a pair of rookie power forward success stories in Yi Jianlian and Sean Williams. Both supposedly entered the draft with baggage: Yi because of his geographic preferences and Williams because of his marijuana habit. Chosen 6th and 22nd overall respectively, they have rewarded the faithful managements in Milwaukee and New Jersey by earning starting roles. And while that is in part due to the lack of competition in the frontcourt, it's an accomplishment nonetheless. They are both comfortable in the open floor, and similar in size, with Yi at 6'11" and 238 pounds and Williams at 6'10" and 235 pounds. But there are more differences than similarities. One might be troubling for the Bucks: Williams blocks a lot of shots, and Yi gets a lot of his shots blocked. Williams ranks 2nd in the NBA in blocks/48 minutes with 5.09. Not bad for a rookie, right? Meanwhile, Yi has 35 % of his close shots blocked. Thankfully, 68 % of Yi's attempts are jumpers, while 32 % come from inside. In this regard, Williams is almost the exact inverse, as 33 % of his attempts are jumpers, and 67 % of his shots are from inside.
- Speaking of the Nets' frontcourt, it's virtually nonexistant offensively. It would be easy, but wrong, to criticize the Big Three for the slow start, as the supporting cast has been mostly dreadful. Williams has been great, but he's very limited offensively, and is still just a rookie. Yet his modest 7.4 point average makes him easily the top scoring threat down low. Somehow the Nets have assembled a frontcourt consisting of truly incapable offensive players in Malik Allen, Josh Boone, Nenad Krstic, and Jamaal Magliore, and Jason Collins, the latter two being epically bad. Unfortunately for the Nets, they need some big guys on the court, despite their negative impacts. To make matters worse, Krstic, a potentially strong offensive talent, is out after returning too early following his torn ACL last year.
- Richard Jefferson was a McDonald's All-American, a college star with Arizona on a national runner-up, and played an important role in propelling the Nets to the Finals twice early this decade. But this year, he's on another level. Routinely overshadowed by Carter and Kidd in the Nets' Big Three, Jefferson is hard to ignore now. He ranks 6th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 25.0 points. And he's capitalized on his premier athletic ability by becoming one of the most aggressive players in the league, as evidenced by leading the NBA in free-throws made, with 252. Bobby Simmons will need a lot of energy and surely some strong help defense to slow Jefferson.
- Check out Nets Daily and Nets Blast for more coverage of tonight's opponent.