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Game Thread: Bucks/Mavs

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33-23 (19-8 road)
28-31 (11-20 road)
February 25, 2009 - 7:30 PM CT
American Airlines Center
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FS Wisconsin

Probable starters:

Jason Kidd
PG Ramon Sessions
Antoine Wright
SG Luc Mbah a Moute
Josh Howard
SF Richard Jefferson
Dirk Nowitzki
PF Charlie Villanueva
Erick Dampier
C Francisco Elson
109.1 (10th)
Off 107.8 (16th)
107.3 (14th)
Def 107.7 (15th)
92.0 (14th)
Pace 91.9 (15th)
26.3 (17th)
OReb 29.1 (5th)
74.4 (10th)
DReb 73.9 (15th)

08/09 Series:

Jan 21: @Bucks 133, Mavs 99


Bucks: Michael Redd is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Andrew Bogut is out with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Mavs: Jason Terry is out with a broken hand.

Three Points

  • Thinking Playoffs. Just like when they met a month ago at the BC, the Mavs and Bucks are occupying their respective conferences' 8th and final playoff spots. Of course, the Mavs are five games up in the win column and eight better in the loss column, so the Bucks should still count themselves lucky to be in the East.

    The Mavs are just a game up on the Suns for the last playoff spot, but also just 3.5 games back of the Nuggets for the 3rd best record in the conference. Needless to say it's shaping up to be another interesting year in the West. The Bucks meanwhile are just a game up on the Bulls and two games up on New Jersey. With new acquisitions John Salmons and Brad Miller not quite back from injury, I'd pinpoint the Bulls as the bigger threat from here on out, though having Vinny Del Negro at the helm won't do them any favors.

    But Charles Gardner writes that the Bucks are focusing on the teams ahead of them, not behind.
    The 76ers and Detroit Pistons each have 27-28 records and are just one game ahead of the Bucks (28-31). On Tuesday, the Pistons lost their seventh consecutive game with a 103-91 defeat at Miami. The 76ers' loss at New Jersey was their fourth in a row.

    "What we're trying to do is look forward," Skiles said. "We're a game out of sixth; we can get to sixth. What we want to focus on is trying to move up."

    No arguments here, though I've been so pleased with the Bucks' competitiveness of late that I'm not quite ready to get greedy.
  • Road Kill. Since losing, well, practically everyone, the Bucks have been highly dependent on the scoring of Charlie Villanueva, who's responded by posting his two best months as a pro. In 26 games in 2009, CV is averaging 20.7 ppg and 7.0 rpg while shooting .498/.434/.838 from the field. However, Ty noted recently that Villanueva is a different player at the BC compared to on the road.
    Part of the reason I'm expecting a post-AllStar upswing from Charlie Villanueva is because of the 26 games remaining, 16 are at the Bradley Center. Villanueva is FAR better at home than he is on the road. Last night was evidence of that. He was demolished by Antonio McDyess, after he had played a fairly respectable home stand.

    Basically, it boils down to scoring. On the road this season, Villanueva's Effective Scoring average per 48 minutes (Pts - FGAs - .5FTAs / mp *48) is a dismal -0.8. Once you get him to the Bradley Center that shoots up to an outstanding +5.5. He just can't make shots on the road.

  • Mavs' Home Cooking. The Mavs are coming off a 93-76 humbling in San Antonio last night, so the Bucks can only hope they bring some of that sluggishness to tonight's tilt in Dallas. The Mavs have won 19 of 23 home games since starting the season 0-4, but will be without supersub Jason Terry, who broke his hand two weeks ago and is likely out for another month.

    With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili sidelined, Tony Parker pick-and-rolled Jason Kidd and the Mavs to death with 37 points (26 in the first half), so the Bucks will probably look to do the same with Sessions and Villanueva. Sessions went 7/7 from the field in the Bucks' cakewalk 133-99 win over the Mavs last month, so a repeat performance will probably be necessary if the Bucks will have any chance of sweeping the season series.

    The Bucks will also be hoping Dirk Nowitzki stays in his slump for at least another game--he's now 15/46 from the field in his last three.

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