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Game Thread:Â Bucks/Hawks

Bucks (7-9, 4-6 road) @ Hawks (8-5, 4-1 home)

Gametime: 6:00 p.m. central time (FSN-W)

Bucks Position Magic
Luke Ridnour PG Mike Bibby
Charlie Bell SG Joe Johnson
Richard Jefferson SF Marvin Williams
Luc Mbah a Moute PF Al Horford
Dan Gadzuric
C Zaza Pachulia

Injuries:

Bucks: Michael Redd (sprained ankle) and Andrew Bogut (knee) are out. Luke Ridnour (knee) is expected to play.

Hawks: Josh Smith (ankle) is out.

07/08 Series:

Nov 17: @Bucks 105, Hawks 96

Nov 28: @Hawks 96, Bucks 80

Jan 16: @Bucks 87, Hawks 80

Mar 26: @Hawks 115, Bucks 96

08/09 Advanced Stats:

Bucks: Offense: 26th (102.2 points/100 possessions) Defense: 9th (103.4) Pace: 16th (91.6)

Hawks: Offense: 6th (108.9 points/100 possessions) Defense: 22nd (107.7) Pace:22nd (90.5)

Three points:

  • Calling all Dutchmen. The Bucks have yet to play a game with their full rotation, and Andrew Bogut's knee injury means it will be at least another week or so before the Bucks can think about being at full strength again. That leaves Dan Gadzuric and Francisco Elson as the Bucks' lone centers, though Bogut's absence is also likely to inspire Scott Skiles to go small--think Malik Allen or even Charlie V getting some minutes in the middle. Against the Hawks that's fairly do-able since Zaza Pachulia is only starting because Josh Smith has been out with a Redd-like high ankle sprain. Al Horford has been starting at the 4 in Smith's absence but still plays most of his minutes in the middle, where he's a bit undersized.

  • Big Johnson. On paper it's a little difficult to see at first how the Hawks have put together their excellent start to the season: Smith has missed nine games with his ankle injury and Horford's numbers are solid but down from his rookie year, while Marvin Williams and Bibby's numbers are only marginally better than last year. Yet they have the 6th most efficient offense in the NBA thus far, which has helped offset their 22nd ranked defense. That leaves captain Joe Johnson, who has rebounded from a slightly down 07/08 with an excellent start to 08/09: 24.0 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 4.8 rpg while making nearly 43% of his threes.
  • Atlanta's deep threat. A subtle but key difference with this year's Hawks? These kids can shoot. At the moment Atlanta leads the NBA in three point percentage (43%), with Johnson, Bibby (42%), Marvin Williams (52%), and Mo Evans (49%) all hitting at a 40% or better clip. They'll be a good test for the Bucks, who lead the league in three point defense at just 29%. Williams' sudden prowess from deep is the most surprising, as he made just one three pointer all of last year but has stroked 15/29 in 12 games thus far.

Coverage:

Bucks.com / Peachtree Hoops / Hawks Str8Talk