Charlie V usually has his mojo working against his old team
Raptors (2-0) @ Bucks (1-1)
Gametime: 7:30 p.m. central time
Bucks: Luke Ridnour / Michael Redd / Richard Jefferson / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Raps: Jose Calderon / Anthony Parker / Jamario Moon / Chris Bosh / Jermaine O'Neal
Bucks: Luke Ridnour has been playing but struggling with a sore back.
Raps: Jamario Moon has been bothered by an Achilles injury but has not missed a game.
November 5: @Bucks 112, Raps 85
January 25: @Raps 106, Bucks 75
April 9: @Raps 111, Bucks 93
07/08 Advanced Stats:
Bucks: Offense 21st (105.3 points/100 possessions) Defense: 30th (112.8) Pace: 17th (91.3)
Raps: Offense 9th (110.2 points/100 possessions) Defense: 13th (107.0) Pace: 23rd (90.2)
- Opening Up. You'll be seeing red at the BC tonight, as the Bucks will debut their new red alternate jerseys for the first time. I like that they've got "Milwaukee" across the front, but I can't figure out if I'm a fan of them or not--I'm sure I'll appreciate them more if they bring a win. You can also still get great seats at a discount--hey, it'd be more fun if the city was really excited about the Bucks, but at least the fans that are left can get good tickets to any game they want. Silver linings, right?
Tired Raps? As much as we complain about the Bucks' brutal early schedule, for one night at least they should be the more rested team. While the Bucks have had two days off following their 98-87 road win in Oklahoma, Toronto played their home opener last night, needing overtime to down the Warriors 112-108. Chris Bosh took over late in the game, scoring 31 and 9 including a sick drive and dunk on Andris Biedrins with less than a minute left. The Raps also got 19 points (8/10 fg) from Andrea Bargnani--a couple days after getting 0 points from him in their opening night win in Philly. Meanwhile, Jose Calderon had a typical Jose Calderon game: 16 points, 13 dimes, and just one turnover.
Bargnani has been coming off the bench now that Jermaine O'Neal has moved north of the border, but they alternated offensive and defensive possessions during crunch time last night, with Bargnani often trying to post smaller Warrior defender. While Bosh, Jose Calderon, and Anthony Parker all logged 40+ minutes last night, O'Neal played 34 minutes but managed just five points and six boards.
Matching Up. On paper the Bucks don't seem to match up particularly well against the Raps. While Bogut usually has his way with smaller centers, O'Neal has the size and strength to defend him straight-up, not to mention make Bogut work on the other end. Villanueva always seems to have an extra hop in his step against his former club, but it's difficult to see him keeping Bosh from putting up big numbers as well. Getting JO into foul trouble could be a big boost, as a Bargnani/Bosh combo would open things up offensively for Bogut while also allowing Bogut to try his hand at defending Bosh in the post. Bogut obviously doesn't have the speed to shut down Bosh, but at the very least he could use his strength to force him into more of a perimeter game. I'm also curious to see Luc Richard Mbah a Moute get a chance to guard Bosh--he'll obviously give up both some length and strength, but he might be Skiles' best option from a purely defensive standpoint. The taller Francisco Elson could also be an option, though he's DNP'ed the first two and I'm not sure Skiles will divert much from the 10-man rotation he's established in the first two.
On the wings, the Redd/Jefferson combo got it going in Oklahoma City, but Jamario Moon is an athletic, defensive role player who could make life a bit difficult for Jefferson. The Redd/Parker matchup is the most obvious one favoring the Bucks, though Parker is always liable to get hot from the outside (a career 43% shooter from deep and 60% in two games this year). At the point, Calderon is one of the league's most efficient floor generals, so Ridnour and his balky back will have their hands decidedly full. Don't be surprised to see Charlie Bell again playing some PG. Neither team has much depth, but aside from the hit-or-miss Bargnani the Raps also have the best three point shooter in NBA history in Jason Kapono.