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Bucks/Nets: Preview

Bucks (22-35, 6-24 road, 11th East) @ Nets (25-32, 14-16 home, 8th East)

Gametime: 6:30 pm CT
TV: League Pass/Free NBA Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 20th (101.8 pts/100 poss), Defense 29th (108.4), Rebounding 19th (.500 rr), Pace 22nd (92.9)
Nets Stats: Offense 25th (99.9 pts/100 poss), Defense 21st (104.9), Rebounding 7th (.511 rr), Pace 15th (93.5)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Nets Lineup: Marcus Williams / Vince Carter / Richard Jefferson / Nenad Krstic / Josh Boone

Bucks Injuries: Ramon Sessions has recovered from his broken hand, but is unlikely to be active.
Nets Injuries: Devin Harris is a game-time decision because of his ankle injury.

07/08 Series: Nets 2-0. The Nets downed the Bucks 97-95 on December 29. The Bucks got 59 points from Redd/Mo but basically nothing else from the rest of the team. Kidd had 17 points and 15 assists for the Nets. The Nets took the first game in New Jersey 87-80 on January 29. Jefferson had 20, Carter 16/11/5 and Kidd 9/5/11, while the Redd-less Bucks were led by Royal Ivey's 19 points. Never a good sign when Royal's your best player.

Key Points:

  • The Bucks were just a half game behind the Nets in the standings when the teams last met a month ago in New Jersey, but since then the Nets have gone 7-6 while the Bucks are just 4-8. Fortunately for Milwaukee they've turned things around of late, winning three out of four against playoff teams. Tuesday's home win against Cleveland was by far the most dramatic, as Redd buried a buzzer-beating three to win it. However, all three Bucks wins have come at home, where they've been respectable for most of the year. The road has been a very different story, as they've won just six times in 30 games.
  • Since the big Jason Kidd trade the Nets are 2-3, including a 102-92 loss at home to Orlando on Tuesday. The centerpiece of the Kidd deal from a Nets' perspective, Wisconsin native Devin Harris, has yet to play for the Nets because of an ankle injury but he's listed as a game-time decision tonight.
  • With Kidd gone and Harris injured, Marcus Williams has seen his playing time spike, averaging 33 mpg in the past five games. In that span he's put up 11.8 ppg and 6.8 apg.
  • Vince Carter has stepped up in Kidd's absence, averaging 24.5 ppg, 8 rpg and 6.3 apg on 50% shooting in the past four games. He's logged 40+ minutes in each game.
  • As we discussed before the Cavs game, the Nets have arguably been among the luckiest teams in the league this year, winning 13 of 17 games decided by five points or less. Based on their scoring differential, you'd expect the Nets to win only a third of their games, but instead they're 25-32 (.439) and sitting in the eight spot in the East.
  • Josh Boone has posted back-to-back double-doubles, averaging 15.5 ppg and 12 rpg on 13/15 shooting from the field the past two games.
  • Yi Jianlian and Sean Williams were among the most talked-about rookies of the first half, but both have lost their starting jobs and are struggling through the dog days of their rookie year. Williams played just five scoreless minutes on Tuesday and hasn't blocked a shot in four games. Yi meanwhile has played just 25 minutes combined in the last two games, and took just one shot in the Cavs game.
  • It's not just Yi who's seeing less court time, as Larry Krystkowiak is playing his starters extended minutes in recent games. The Bucks bench has been atrocious all year, so it's tough to fault him:

    "We’re finding a little bit of consistency," said Krystkowiak. "When they’re playing the way they’re playing, it’s hard to take (the starters) out of a game. It’s not a knock on our bench at all. The last couple games we’ve had that momentum in the fourth quarter and it’s hard to pull them out. But if we were in a situation where we’re playing four in five nights or three in four nights, you might have to approach it a little different."

  • Check out Nets Daily and Nets Blast for more coverage of the Nets.