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Blazers/Bucks: Preview

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Blazers (31-30, 9-21 road, 10th West) @ Bucks (23-38, 17-12 home, 12th East)

Gametime: 7:30 PM CT
TV: FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA LP Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 19th (102.1 pts/100 poss), Defense 29th (108.8 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 17th (.502 rr), Pace 20th (93.3)
Blazers Stats: Offense 15th (103.6 pts/100 poss), Defense 19th (104.8 pts/100 poss), Rebounding 24th (.486 rr), Pace 29th (90.7)

Bucks Lineup: Royal Ivey / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Charlie Villanueva / Andrew Bogut
Blazers Lineup: Steve Blake / Brandon Roy / Martell Webster / LaMarcus Aldridge / Joel Pryzbilla

Bucks Injuries: Michael Redd left the game on Wednesday against the Sonics after being inadvertently hit in the nose and is expected to play. Mo Williams missed the Sonics game with an abdominal injury. Yi Jianlian missed the Sonics game after exiting on Sunday against the Pacers with a twisted left ankle and is out.
Blazers Injuries: Greg Oden is out for the season with microfracture surgery.

07/08 Series: 1-0 Blazers. The Blazers won 117-113 (Frank's recap / my recap) in overtime on Dec. 9.

Key Points:

  • The Bucks are coming off a 118-106 win over the Sonics on Wednesday in which Mo Williams and Yi Jianlian didn't play and Michael Redd left in the third quarter. The depleted Bucks received solid production from unlikely sources in the team's highest scoring output of the year, writes Charles Gardner.

    Redd collided with Durant late in the third quarter, and it appeared the two players hit heads. Redd was immediately taken to the locker room. A cut on the bridge of Redd's nose required six stitches, according to a Bucks spokesman. With Redd out for the entire fourth quarter and Mo Williams sidelined by an abdominal strain, Ivey and Charlie Bell formed the Bucks backcourt. Ivey finished with nine points and seven assists in 27 minutes in a starting role, and Bell had 17 points, five assists and three steals in 30 minutes.

  • Tom Enlund explains how Charlie Villanueva jump started the big Bucks scoring night. Indeed, Villanueva notched 15 first quarter points, on his way to 32, shattering his previous season-high by 11 points. For such a gifted offensive player, it's pretty amazing that Villanueva scored 20 points this season only twice before Wednesday's game. His 32 points were five more than he had scored in the previous four games. Villanueva also made 3-6 from outside, one more than he had made in the past six weeks. We love the inside-outside threat; just don't get carried away, Charlie.
  • The Suns beat the Blazers 97-92 on Wednesday after leading by 23 points early. Brandon Roy scored 25 points but the other four Blazers starters (Steve Blake, Martell Webster, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Joel Przybilla) combined for just 25 points. The Blazers have lost two in a row and 10 of 13. In the absurdly competitive Western Conference, this cold streak has pretty much ended any hope of Portland reaching the postseason. Nonetheless, this season has been a smashing success for the Blazers, who were predicted by many to spend year one with (but without) Greg Oden near the bottom of the standings.
  • Power forward Chris Wilcox, averaging 13.1 on the season, was held to just seven points on 2-7 shooting on Wednesday. Villanueva will have the difficult task of guarding Lamarcus Aldridge tonight against the Blazers. Aldridge, the second overall draft pick in the 2006 draft, is averaging 16.9 points, trailing only Rudy Gay (20.0) and teammate Brandon Roy (19.5) in scoring among 2006 draftees.
  • The star matchup comes at shooting guard where Michael Redd lines up against Brandon Roy. Roy is averaging 27.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in his brief, two-game career against the Bucks so far. Last year's Rookie of the Year had a career high 12 assists a week ago on Feb. 29 against the Lakers and has 17 assists and three turnovers in his last three games.
  • Someone keep an eye on James Jones. The sharpshooter is converting on 48.8 % of his three point attempts this season, and after missing most of February, has returned to hit 4-7 from outside in the past three games. The Bucks allow opponents to shoot 38.0 % from outside, second worst in the NBA.
  • Travis Outlaw comes off the bench to score 13.7 points per game, making him the team's third highest scorer. Despite starting only twice this season, he has scored in double figures 24 of the past 26 games, including five 22+ points games in that span.
  • The Blazers have a better home record (22-9) than the Suns (21-9), Hornets (21-10), and Magic (18-11), among many other teams, so the Bucks are catching them at the right place in the Bradley Center. The Blazers are just 9-21 (.321) on the road, while the Bucks are 17-12 (.586) at home this season. Then again, the Bucks are only 8-19 (.296) against teams from the Western Conference.
  • The Blazers rank last in the NBA in steals per game, with 5.7. Roy, with 1.1 per game, is the only Blazer averaging a steal per game. While not exactly ball hawks, the Bucks are better, averaging 6.5, led by Mo Williams' 1.3.
  • Blazer's Edge is a great source for more on tonight's opponent, including a preview. OregonLive also has a very good Blazers blog.