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Game Thread: Bucks/Raps

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22-27 (9-19 road)
19-28 (9-12 home)
January 30, 2009 - 6:00PM CT
Air Canada Center
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FS Wisconsin

Probable starters:

Luke Ridnour* PG Jose Calderon
Ramon Sessions SG Anthony Parker
Richard Jefferson
SF Jamario Moon
Charlie Villanueva
PF Chris Bosh
Francisco Elson
C Andrea Bargnani
106.3 (19th)
Off 107.5 (15th)
106.4 (13th)
Def 109.6 (26th)
91.7 (13th)
Pace 90.5 (18th)
29.2 (5th)
OReb 22.7 (29th)
74.6 (10th)
DReb 72.5 (21st)

08/09 Series:

Nov 1: Raps 91, @Bucks 87

Jan 5: @Bucks 107, Raps 97

Injuries

Bucks: Andrew Bogut is expected to come off the bench after missing eight games with back spasms. Luke Ridnour is probable after suffering a bruised nose and mild concussion against Indiana on Wednesday. Michael Redd is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL.

Raptors: Kris Humphries is out with a broken leg.

Three Points

  • Return of Bogut? Tom Enlund reports that Andrew Bogut will likely see some limited burn off the bench tonight, a welcome sight given how the Bucks have struggled without him.

    Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Bogut would play in 3-to-5 minute increments and be limited to no more than 20 minutes. Bogut has missed the last eight games with a lower back injury.

    Francisco Elson will make his first start as a member of the Bucks, replacing center Dan Gadzuric in the lineup. Elson has played more minutes recently, going 35 minutes in the Bucks' victory over Sacramento on Saturday and playing 28 and 19 minutes, respectively, in their losses earlier this week.

    Bogut played rather well in the three games following his last return from back spasms, and given the Bucks' weakness in the middle even a little Bogut should be a big boost. Jermaine O'Neal recently returned to the Raps lineup and has also been coming off the bench, but that has more to do with his inability to outshine Andrea Bargnani. While O'Neal's first year in Toronto has been marred by injuries and inconsistent play, Bargnani has finally gotten his act together in the last month. Starting at center in O'Neal's absence, the Big Italian still doesn't rebound but he's scoring with tremendous efficiency this month: 20.0 ppg on .495/.486 shooting in 35.8 mpg.
  • One up, one down. While the Bucks have lost two straight since Michael Redd went down for the season, the Raps are now getting healthy and winning games. Jose Calderon and Jermaine O'Neal are back--the former being more important than the latter--and they've now won three in a row, bringing them two within two games of the final playoff spot currently held by the Bucks. Still, things are so congested in the East that the Raps are still just 13th in the conference, so it's anybody's guess who sneaks into the playoffs and who ends up in the mid-lottery. I expected big things from the Raps before the season started and I'm still feeling pessimistic about the Bucks' chances of holding them (among other teams) off for the last spot.
  • Taking it on the...nose. While Charlie Bell managed to keep playing after taking Kevin Love's monster elbow to the face on Monday, Luke Ridnour had less fortune in Indiana, suffering a bruised (and bloodied) nose and a mild concussion to boot. He is listed as probable for tonight's game; if he's out then Scott Skiles could either replace him with Lue and keep Sessions at the 2 or he could move Sessions to the 1 and insert Bell at 2.

Links

Bucks.com / Ted Davis Podcast / Raptors HQ / Raptors Republic / Doug Smith / RaptorBlog / DinoNation