News/notes after the jump...BucksRaptors
No way, Jose. Jose Calderon did not travel with the team to Milwaukee, meaning Jarrett Jack will get a second straight start at the point. Statistically, Jack has been about what you would have expected when he signed his rather inflated four year, $20 million deal: enough threes and free throws to score with solid efficiency (54.5% TS), high turnover rate (13.4%), and the ability to occasionally score in bunches. Minnesota saw the best of him last night, as he went off for 17 points (11/12 ft), eight assists and seven boards. And in case you were wondering, those free throws are the part that worry me most.
Bosh & Bargs & Bogues. I've always loved Chris Bosh's game, and this year the dude's taking it to another level: 24.3 ppg (on 57.1% TS), a career-high 12.3 rpg, a miniscule 7.2% turnover rate. And while I've never been a fan of Andrea Bargnani's game, I'll freely admit he's also putting together his best year as a pro. Aside from upping his scoring average modestly (16.7 ppg), Bargs' rebound rate (11.1%) has now improved beyond his usual "solid small forward" level to darn near "elite small forward" level. Not bad! Well, actually, still very bad for a 7-footer, but...better.
Still, even with both guys playing well you wonder whether it's a pairing that makes sense in the long term. The Raps have already committed to Bargnani long-term (five year, $50 million extension last summer), and with Hedo Turkoglu and Jack taking up another $70 million on their long-term deals, there's not much room for the Raptors to maneuver if they change their mind. Bosh will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so his opinion is the most important one at this point, and it's far from clear whether he'll re-up or seek greener pastures elsewhere.
As for this game, the Bucks will no doubt hope to get Bogut going in the post against the weaker Raptor defenders, while the Raps will try to use their mobility to get Bogut out of his comfort zone on defense. I wouldn't be surprised if Ilyasova ended up chasing Bargnani around the perimeter a bit with Bogut trying to contain Bosh in the high post (read: conceding the mid-range jump shot). On the bench, Rasho Nesterovic has gotten spotty minutes this season but would be the obvious choice if Jay Triano needs somebody to stand up to Bogut on the block.
Turkish Delight. They probably won't guard each other too much, but Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilyasova will likely be attracting plenty of eyeballs in Turkey when they face off for the first time this season. The interesting part is that Ilyasova's probably been the more useful player so far this year--despite earning less than a quarter of his more famous 30-year old countrymen. While Turkoglu has the better TS% (57.1 vs. 54.0%) and assist rate, Ilyasova's both scoring and rebounding at a much higher rate (19.1 pts, 12.1 rebs/40 for Ilyasova vs. 16.5 and 5.8 for Turkoglu). Granted, I'd feel a lot better watching Hedo take shots late in games than anyone on the Bucks, but let's focus on the bright side, please.