News/notes after the jump...
Both teams are coming off tough losses last night, the Bucks wilting in the final five minutes in Toronto while some porous Minnesota defending in the final seconds allowed James Posey to give the Hornets a 96-94 win in New Orleans. Kevin Love returned after sitting out two games with illness, narrowly missing a double-double with 13/9 off the bench. I've got him listed in the starting five above but haven't seen a confirmation of that. The Wolves had been going with a Wikins/Ryan Gomes pairing at the forward spots, but you'd think they'll want to get Love's automatic double-double (15.5 ppg/12.2 rpg!) back in the starting lineup as soon as possible. That gives the Wolves a fearsome offensive twosome at the 4/5, as Al Jefferson is looking more like the Big Al of old this month: 21.6 ppg, 11.6 rpg and 52.2% shooting. Coming off ACL reconstruction a year ago, Jefferson has improved his scoring, rebounding and fg% each month this season.
The Wolves' decision on Love could also impact the Bucks plans--they went small in Toronto with a Delfino/Mbah a Moute starting forward combo, but I'm not sure the Bucks want to mess around with Luc trying to guard the bigger Love. Then again, I'm not sure any of the Bucks' PFs can check Love down low, so we could see Skiles opt for a Bogu/Kurt Thomas combination at times when Jefferson/Love are both in the game. Remember that Minny's big men dominated the Bucks' frontcourt in the preseason and that was part of the reason Skiles started Thomas at PF to start the season.
Jonny Flynn had the clear edge in the box score when these teams met in November, but most of his points came in the final minutes as Jennings was watching the Bucks' win from the sideline. While we all know Jennings' shooting has cratered noticeably, Flynn's splits have been less spectacular but slightly more consistent. Neither rook has found his stroke in January, however, as Flynn is shooting 38% and Jennings (gulp) 29.6%.
Alexander makes D-League debut
Joe Alexander came off the bench for Fort Wayne last night, scoring 13 points (4/9 fg, 5/6 ft) along with six boards and five assists in 24 minutes.