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Bucks/Blazers: Preview

Bucks (8-10, 2-8 road, 9th East) @ Blazers (7-12, 6-3 home, 11th West)

Gametime: 5:00 PM CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA LP Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 17th (101.4 pts/100 poss), Defense 28th (107.0 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 8th (.510 rr), Pace 21st (93.4)
Blazers Stats: Offense 19th (100.0 pts/100 poss), Defense 25th (106.0 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 27th (.479 rr), Pace 27th (92.3)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Yi Jianlian / Andrew Bogut
Blazers Lineup: Steve Blake / Brandon Roy / Martell Webster / LaMarcus Aldridge / Joel Pryzbilla

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.
Blazers Injuries: Greg Oden is out for the season with microfracture surgery. Darius Miles is technically still a Blazer but hasn't played in over a year.

06/07 Series: 1-1. The Bucks won 102-94 at the BC on December 6, but the Blazers evened the series in Oregon with a 99-95 win on January 21.

Key Points:

  • The Blazers are coming off a 112-106 home win against the Heat. Brandon Roy had 25 while Travis Outlaw added 20 off the bench. Though they're only 7-12, this team has a ton of promise, with last year's rookie of the year Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge taking a huge step forward in his sophomore season. And oh yeah, they should have this Greg Oden kid next year.
  • How do the Bucks guard Aldridge? That's a major question, as Aldridge comes into the game leading the Blazers with 18.4 ppg. If Aldridge is able to bully Yi in the post we could see Bogut switch over, or Larry Krystkowiak could decide to put Bogut on him from the start and dare the Blazers to use Pryzbilla against Yi. Channing Frye has started a number of times this season for the Blazers and plays similarly to Yi, so we could see a lot of Frye/Aldridge at the 4/5 as well. The Bucks have typically been outgunned from three point range this season and having to double the post will open up looks for Webster, Roy and Blake.
  • Interestingly, Desmond Mason was shipped to the Hornets for Jamaal Magloire but ended up back in Milwaukee, and Blake similarly returned to Portland after being traded to the Bucks for Magloire. Blake has supplanted Jarrett Jack as the Blazers' starting PG and is back to playing the efficient style he showed in Portland two years ago, sporting a fantastic assist/turnover ratio of nearly 4:1 (5.5 apg and 1.4 TO in 29.3 mpg).
  • The Bucks will again be without Bobby Simmons, who flew home to Chicago for personal reasons. While Simmons has been far from great this year he's a needed change of pace from Desmond Mason, whose relatively fast start to the season seems like a long time ago. Charlie Bell continues to struggle, his fg% looking like a middle-infielder's batting average (.259), which has further deprived the Bucks of needed punch from the second unit. Bell didn't play at all in the second half of the Seattle game, so Larry Krystkowiak is clearly losing patience with him.
  • Against Seattle the Bucks ran a ton of post plays and Redd still went off for 41, so we'll see if they can maintain that sort of balance. Bogut started quickly but ended up only 6/16, so he'll need to be more efficient if the Bucks are going to win their third road game of the season. Fortunately for the Bucks the Blazers play at a snail's pace. As we saw most obviously against Golden State, the Bucks simply can't run and gun with teams.
  • Check out Blazer's Edge for more on the Blazers. Dave has a pretty good read on the Bucks in his preview.