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Game Thread: Rockets/Bucks

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vs.

31-20 (13-14 road)
24-29 (14-9 home)
February 9, 2009 - 7:00PM CT
Bradley Center
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FS Wisconsin

Probable starters:

Rafer Alston
PG Ramon Sessions
Tracy McGrady
SG Luc Mbah a Moute*
Shane Battier
SF Richard Jefferson
Luis Scola
PF Charlie Villanueva
Yao Ming
C Francisco Elson
108.0 (14th)
Off 106.8 (18th)
104.8 (5th)
Def 107.0 (13th)
90.3 (19th)
Pace 91.5 (14th)
26.5% (17th)
OReb 28.8% (7th)
75.1% (4th)
DReb 74.7% (11th)

08/09 Series:

Dec 31: @Rockets 85, Bucks 81

Injuries

Rockets: Joey Dorsey (plantar fasciitis) and Luther Head (foot) are not expected to play.

Bucks: Michael Redd is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Andrew Bogut is out for two months with a stress fracture in his lower back. Luke Ridnour is out one month with a broken thumb.

Three Points

  • New Bucks? We got our first look at the post-Redd, post-Bogut, post-Ridnour Bucks on Saturday and while the outcome (a loss) was expected, the performance itself was anything but. Ramon Sessions (44 pts, 12 dimes) managed to one-up his 20/24 game from last season while Charlie V put up 33 for good measure. Unfortunately, the Bucks gave the Pistons too many second chances and, combined with great shooting nights from Rip Hamilton (38) and Rasheed Wallace (27), that meant a defense which hemorrhaged points. It's reasonable to expect that the new Bucks are going to be a defensively-focused team, but they'll have problems in that area so long as they can't keep opponents off the boards.
    Who's at 2? Scott Skiles boldly threw Luc Mbah a Moute back into the starting lineup at shooting guard against Detroit and he did a nice job containing the much smaller Rodney Stuckey while he was in. With Keith Bogans in the fold, Skiles' options at the 2 are a bit more open now but all of them take on a more defensive character. Charlie Bell gives the Bucks a second ball-handler who can defend and hit jumpers, Mbah a Moute provides the best defensive versatility against bigger guards, and Keith Bogans is similar to Bell except he's taller and not a guy who can bring it up the court.

    While I like the idea of sending Mbah a Moute out to cover the 6'8" T-Mac, Bogans and Bell might make more sense offensively because of their ability to space the floor. Playing Mbah a Moute with Sessions can be a bit difficult since neither guy hits threes, and with Sessions' ability to penetrate it certainly helps to have teammates whose three point shooting ability can keep defenders from sagging into the middle for help defense--and punish them if they do.
    Trouble in Clutch City? After acquiring Ron Artest this summer, the Rockets entered the season as a favorite darkhorse for a title run, and thus far they've pieced together a solid 31-20 mark that leaves them 6th in the West but just a half game back of the Hornets for 4th. More worrying, however, is the talk of locker room factions. It started weeks ago with rumors of a rift between Yao and McGrady, and now Ron Artest has decided to join the fray by publicly calling out T-Mac's defense. Head over to the Dream Shake for more on the Rocket soap opera.

Coverage:

Bucks.com / The Dream Shake