Bucks (3-4) @ Cavs (5-2)
Gametime: 6:00 p.m. central time (FSN-W)
Bucks: Luke Ridnour / Charlie Bell / Richard Jefferson / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Cavs: Mo Williams / Delonte West / LeBron James / Ben Wallace / Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Bucks: Michael Redd (ankle) has missed three straight games and is day-to-day. He practiced on Monday but remains sore.
Cavs: Darnell Jackson is out with a wrist injury.
08/09 Advanced Stats:
Bucks: Offense: 25th (101.4 points/100 possessions) Defense: 13th (102.9) Pace: 10th (93.2)
Cavs: Offense: 5th (110.5 points/100 possessions) Defense: 15th (103.2) Pace: 23rd (90.1)
Mo's house. No doubt the most obvious subplot of tonight's game will be Mo Williams playing against his former club for the first time since the August trade that sent him from the shores of Lake Michigan to those of Lake Erie. Mo's first seven games as a Cav have been somewhat hit or miss: 14.1 ppg, 4.9 apg, 3.3 to, and a .425/.333/1.000 shooting line. Aside from the fact that he's made all 16 of his free throws, his numbers are down across the board thus far, though a) it's still very early and b) he probably doesn't need to put up huge numbers to help Cleveland win games. If he can keep defenses honest with his shooting (likely), not be too terrible defending (less likely), and otherwise stay out of LBJ's way, Mo should fit in just fine. I'd be surprised if he doesn't play well tonight, though the Bucks could also benefit if he comes out too hellbent on doing everything himself.
Is 'Mon the new Mo? Still nursing a sore ankle, Michael Redd is not expected to play for the fourth straight game, which should give Charlie Bell another chance to start and Ramon Sessions the chance to be the Bucks' primary sixth man. Redd's absence also means we'll continue to see Sessions and Luke Ridnour each playing major minutes, which should delay a point guard controversy for the time being. With Redd out and the Bucks needing offense from their bench, Sessions has also taken on a much more free-scoring approach than many had expected following his assist rampage last April. He's now averaging a rather startling 17.2 ppg, 6.2 apg, and 3.6 rpg in five games...which is eerily similar to the 17.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 3.6 rpg that a certain ex-Buck and current Cav averaged last season. No wonder he's so excited to face Williams tonight. Of course, aside from having much better court vision than Mo, Sessions is also much more of a slasher than Mo--his 14 fta against the Suns are nearly as many as Mo has all year. The downside is that Sessions doesn't have anywhere near the mid-range game Mo has developed, and both guys aren't earning their money on the defensive end. Still, no one would have wanted to deal Mo if he was coming off the bench making $700,000, so Bucks fans should be rather thrilled to be getting Mo production without the politics or hefty pricetag.
- Bogut's malaise. What's wrong with Andrew Bogut? Though his scoring (.543 TS%) and rebounding effiiciency (18.4 rebound rate) are up over last year, Bogut's yet to put together more than a quarter or two of good offensive play in a row and on Saturday even his defense--which had been strong thus far--looked porous against a suddenly resurgent Shaq. Some of Bogut's early season frustration can be attributed to foul trouble, which kept him sitting for much of the first two games. It's also led Scott Skiles to be overly cautious with him since, as Skiles has opted on a couple occasions to sit Bogut with two fouls in the second quarter. Still, Bogut's had trouble getting into a rhythm in the post and he's also been slow to adjust when teams have begun doubling him in the post. Nearly 20% of the possessions he's used this season have ended in a turnover, compared to 12% last year, which has been indicative of his difficulty in finding the open man out when help comes. Oh, and shooting 40% from the line? Not cool either. Granted, Bogut's $60 million extension doesn't actually start until the 09/10 season (he'll make $6.3 million this year), but don't expect him to get a free pass from fans if he doesn't come up with some better all-around performances.