News/notes after the jump...
All eyes on us. It's been over a year since the Bucks were deemed worthy of being on the Worldwide Leader, so from a hype standpoint this isn't just another road game. In practical terms...well yeah, it's just another road game. And coming off a tough OT loss in New Orleans, the Bucks would be thrilled to snatch a win in any way, shape or form and end their four game Western trip at 2-2. If they don't then it's not the end of the world, but .500 could be right around the corner with home matchups against the Bulls (Saturday) and Magic (Monday) awaiting.
Stopping KD. I'm not sure there's a practical way to do that, especially if Luc Mbah a Moute misses a sixth straight game with an injured left foot. Durant's insane length means he can shoot over pretty much any forward in the league, so having the 6'6" Carlos Delfino cover him is probably asking for trouble. Nothing personal against Delfino--he's defended pretty well this season by my estimation--but the Bucks' best hope is that Durant falls in love with jumpers and happens to have an off night.
20-year olds. Brandon Jennings has rocketed to the top of everyone's rookie rankings, but he hasn't been immune to taking his rookie lumps. Of course, it's all relative. While Jennings' shooting has been bad over the past two games (10/36) and the turnovers need to come down (five in each of the last two, 3.62/g for the season), he's still contributing in other ways (7.5 apg, 5.5 rpg in the past two).
On the other side, it took third overall pick James Harden 12 games to even score in double figures, but he looks to be coming along just fine as a sixth man. After scoring 24 and 25 in back-to-back games, Harden's scored 10 in each of the last two. Not all 10-point games are equal of course: Harden shot 2/15 including 0/10 from deep against the Lakers before making 4/5 in the Thunder's big win in Utah on Tuesday. Though he's making less than 40% of his shots, nearly half his attempts come from three, where he's stroking it at a 38% clip. So all told, his TS% is still a healthy 53.2% and his PER is an impressive 17+.
Redd. If you've been following the last two games at all, then you know that Michael Redd's return hasn't been the wonder drug we kinda sorta maybe hoped it would be. Everyone was saying the right things as Redd was returning from his ACL surgery in the preseason, but we probably shouldn't be shocked that the combined effect of returning from that injury in addition to his latest patella strain has left him....off. He looks a step slow and his shot hasn't been close to what we're used to, but it's tough to say whether this is some short-term rust or something prolonged. At the very least you'd think his ability to make free throws should come back around (seriously, 1/6 against the Spurs?), but beyond that I'd just like to see him stay in the lineup (as a reserve) for a while to see what he can do when he gets some timing and confidence in his knee back.