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Monday Notes: Pistons top Bucks, Hollinger projections, Skiles' drive

  • Let's be clear: Everyone wins in the MACC Fund Game regardless of the result. That said, the Bucks depart to China still lacking an on-court victory in the preseason after falling to the Pistons 111-99 on Saturday. The preseason continued to reflect the past half-decade for these two franchises, as the perennial Central Division champs improved to 4-0 while the Bucks dropped to 0-4. And while preseason records don't really matter, this game featured Milwaukee at its closest to full strength yet. The starting lineup-- Luke Ridnour, Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Charlie Villanueva, and Andrew Bogut-- is the projected opening night starting five. The Bradley Center denizens witnessed them log heavy minutes, too. A feisty Jefferson finished a team-high +7 in 21 minutes before his ejection following a couple of technicals. Villanueva led the Bucks' way with 26 points and eight rebounds. Off the bench, Matt Freije contributed a quick 11 points on 5-6 from the field in 13 minutes but couldn't share his shooting touch with Ramon Sessions, who hit just 1-7. This is a good time to get a shooting slump out of the way, right?
  • A few Bucks/Pistons game recaps: JS Recap / MLive Recap / AP Recap
  • Always a must-read: John Hollinger's PER projections for the Bucks. The ESPN stat king thinks Andrew Bogut, Michael Redd, and Richard Jefferson will have (slightly) lower PER's than last season. He envisions a tradeoff on the court for Redd.

    The bigger question is how much defending he'll do now that the demanding Scott Skiles is in charge in Brewtown. It's unlikely Redd will be able to slack off the whole game the way he has the past couple years, and that may sap some of his energy at the offensive end.

  • Hollinger's individual player projections: 1-322. Redd checks in first among Bucks at 38.
  • Rob Peterson helps pen a poignant Bucks season preview at NBA.com.
  • Charley Rosen has a question for each NBA team. Just understand that Rosen isn't usually rosey with these...

    MILWAUKEE: Is this the season in which Andrew Bogut's game justifies his overweening self-confidence?

  • Although it's from a fantasy basketball perspective, 82games.com's Eric Wong nonetheless foresees a Charlie Villanueva breakout in 2008-09.
  • Yahoo's Bucks report pegs Villanueva as the team's x-factor.
  • Truman Reed at Bucks.com details Scott Skiles' drive to succeed.
  • Richard Jefferson answers fan questions in the latest Bucks.com mailbag.
  • Next up: Ask Charlie Bell about the upcoming season. It says in one place Richard Jefferson, but worry not, there's good reason to believe this form's for Charlie.
  • Gift Nights at the Bradley Center. As you see, January 9 isn't only Muggsy Bogues' 44th birthday, it's Richard Jefferson Bobblehead night at the BC when the Nets visit.
  • SLAMOnline conducts an atypical interview with lover of all things Milwaukee, Gilbert Arenas.
  • Check out bloggers' Southwest Division previews.