Bucks (9-13, 4-9 road) @ Suns (12-9, 5-5 home)
Gametime: 8:00 p.m. central time (FSN-W)
|Luke Ridnour ||PG||Steve Nash |
|Michael Redd ||SG||Raja Bell |
|Richard Jefferson ||SF||Grant Hill |
|Malik Allen* ||PF||Amare Stoudemire |
|Andrew Bogut ||C||Shaquille O'Neal |
Bucks: Charlie Bell (ankle) has missed four straight games and is day-to-day. Malik Allen (ribs) left Sunday's game and is day-to-day.
Suns: Shaq (knee) could be rested ahead of the Suns' game tomorrow in LA. Alando Tucker (knee) is a GTD.
Nov 8: Suns 104, @Bucks 96
08/09 Advanced Stats:
Bucks: Offense: 25th (102.4 points/100 possessions) Defense: 11th (104.7) Pace: 16th (91.7)
Suns: Offense: 8th (108.6 points/100 possessions) Defense: 23rd (109.2) Pace: 14th (91.8)
The Big Efficiency. In the teams' BC meeting a month ago it was all about the Big Cactus. Having rested the night before, Shaq made 12/16 from the field and finished with 29 points and 11 boards in 35 minutes, dominating Andrew Bogut (five points, 2/8 fg, 11 rebounds). Now with the Suns taking on the Lakers tomorrow, the question is whether Porter will once again rest O'Neal on the front end of a back-to-back. One of the main motivations for acquiring O'Neal last year was to better match up with the Lakers big man combo of Bynum/Gasol (who ironically never even played together last season) and Porter has thrice rested O'Neal in this type of situation. The Suns have lost two of three on the first night and won two out of three on the second night, but Porter has yet to tip his hand--you can bet he would love to knock off his former team, but at what cost?
Buck wings. Don't expect Richard Jefferson and Michael Redd to be lacking in motivation for this one. The Bucks' wing combo (combined salary: $28.98 million) might as well have stayed at the team hotel in LA, combining for just five points in 30 minutes of action. LA native Jefferson spent most of his Sunday night in foul trouble, but will have a chance to redeem himself in the state where he played his college ball. The Lakers game notwithstanding, it's been a special trip for Jefferson. Today he took part in the dedication of the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium at his alma mater, the new facility partly financed by RJ's $3.5 million donation. Redd meanwhile always seems to bounce back well from a bad game, but he'll have the ballhawking Raja Bell to deal with.
- The slowing of the Suns. If you follow the NBA you've probably read all about the Suns' decidedly different approach this season, a not altogether surprising development given Mike D'Antoni's departure for New York. The Suns' 12-9 start has had its fair share of growing pains, namely surrounding the resurgence (and increased role) of Shaquille O'Neal, the slight dropoff of Amare Stoudemire (22.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg), and even speculation about Steve Nash looking to bolt for New York when his contract is up in 2010. Gone is the "7 seconds or less" up-tempo style, replaced by a mid-tempo approach that has Phoenix an uncharacteristic 14th in pace. But while the offense is still clicking, the Suns defense--purportedly their achilles heel under D'Antoni--has gotten notably worse. After ranking 17th, 16th, 13th, and 16th in defensive efficiency the past four years under D'Antoni, Phoenix now ranks just 23rd. Perhaps spoiled by four years of the most entertaining basketball this side of the Globetrotters, Porter's Suns were even deemed "unwatchable" last week by Paola Bolvin of the Arizona Republic. We here in Milwaukee know something about unwatchable basketball, so Bolvin might want to stay away from tonight's game.