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Game Thread 2: Pistons/Bucks



1-1 (1-0 road) 0-1 (0-0 home)
October 31, 2009 - 7:30 PM CT
Bradley Center
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FS Wisconsin HD

Probable starters:

Rodney Stuckey PG Brandon Jennings
Ben Gordon
SG Michael Redd
Tayshaun Prince SF Carlos Delfino
Charlie Villanueva PF Kurt Thomas
Ben Wallace
C Andrew Bogut
103.4 (16th)
Off 87.8 (29th)
95.3 (4th)
Def 101.1 (9th)
86.6 (30th)
Pace 98.0 (3rd)

The return of Charlie V. OK, so he was back in town just over a week ago as well, but the difference is that now it's for real. Charlie's first two games of the season haven't been anything to write home about, as CV has made just 6/19 shots for 15 points in 51 minutes. We've all seen that CV before, which was a big reason why the Bucks said thanks but no thanks this summer. Still, Villanueva's way too explosive not to have his breakout game soon, and if his hot nights against the Raptors are any indication, he certainly likes playing against his former teams.

One key question is who the Bucks will match up against Villanueva. I haven't seen anything yet about Kurt Thomas going to the bench for this game, but Warrick, Ilyasova, or Mbah a Moute would all seem like better matchups to start this one. Warrick might be the best choice since he can both keep up with Villanueva athletically while also drawing fouls on him on the other end. Skiles could also go with Ilyasova, who looked to have a nice understanding with Jennings last night, though he also had his share of shaky moments. And Mbah a Moute could be saved to chase Ben Gordon (23.5 ppg), who has been coming off the bench but will start in Rip Hamilton's absence. Starting a more mobile PF would also free up Thomas to backup Bogut and minimize the amount of time Dan Gadzuric is on the floor. Never a bad thing.

BJ vs. the world. Brandon Jennings' debut deservedly raised eyebrows around the league, but Stuckey/Will Bynum certainly looks like a tougher matchup than Lou Williams provided last night. Stuckey has a significant size advantage while Bynum also gave Jennings problems in the preseason.

Big Ben/Little Ben. Bogut will look to bounce back from a bad night in Philly against Ben Wallace, a guy he's historically seemed to struggle against. Perhaps more concerning is how well Bogut deals with playing 30+ mpg on a back-to-back.

But the real dangerman for Detroit is Ben Gordon, who always seems to kill the Bucks. Gordon has averaged 21.3 ppg in his career against the Bucks, nearly 3 ppg better than his career number, and put up 23 ppg last year with the Bulls.

Delfino Debuts. After serving his one game suspension last night in Philly, Carlos Delfino makes his Bucks debut tonight against the team he started his NBA career with, matching up against Prince, a guy he went head to head with in practice for two seasons. We know Delfino's not a world-beater, but watching Mbah a Moute brick jumpers last night underscored how much the Bucks need someone at the small forward spot who can be a credible scoring threat. Mbah a Moute could certainly start at some point, but he needs to show some consistency from 18 feet--or be surrounded by better scorers. I don't think we'll be seeing the latter anytime this season.