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Knicks/Bucks: Milwaukee hoping to get back on track against improved Knicks

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2010/2011 NBA Season


2-5 (1-2 home) 3-3 (2-1 road)
November 9, 2010
Bradley Center
7:00 PM
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Brandon Jennings
Raymond Felton
John Salmons
SG Landry Fields
Luc Mbah a Moute SF Danilo Gallinari
Drew Gooden
PF Amare Stoudemire
Andrew Bogut
C Timofey Mozgov

(29th) 96.6 - OFFENSE -  105.7 (14th)
(6th) 100.3 - DEFENSE - 103.2 (8th)
(25th) 91.4  - PACE -  98.1 (4th)
On the Knicks:

Posting & Toasting / KnickerBlogger

On the Knicks. They're 3-3 and playing better defense than offense right now, so maybe time's are a-changing with Mike D'Antoni's bunch in the Big Apple. Among the early seasons surprises has been second round swingman Landry Fields, who has claimed a starting spot and is shooting .556/.462/.750 for 8.7 ppg in 25 mpg. But the real danger might be the Knicks' bench, which now features their second and third leading scorers. Amare Stoudemire hasn't been lighting it up without Steve Nash (42% shooting, 19.5 ppg) but reserves Toney Douglas (16.5 ppg) and Wilson Chandler (16.3 ppg) are helping pick up the slack.

Jennings' aggressiveness. Paul Imig has a good read over at Fox Sports on Brandon Jennings' early season frustrations with the Bucks' sputtering offense

"I feel like I'm being more tentative now, but I feel like I need to be more aggressive and shoot a little bit more," Jennings said. "I don't shoot as much as I did last year. I think I should though now, now with the fact that we're 2-5. Maybe I need to go back to that way." 

I'm not sure if the problem is as simple as Jennings not shooting enough--just getting more shots up isn't necessarily a great solution for a guy who was one of the least effective scorers in the NBA a year ago. The bigger issue is staying aggressive and creating chances off the dribble and in P&R, whether it's for himself or teammates. For all his quickness, Jennings seems to let guys get past him with far more regularity than he beats them, a problem that has been common to the team and was on clear display Saturday night. Whereas the Hornets could regularly get the Bucks' defense to collapse on dribble penetration, the Bucks seemed incapable of getting by their defenders, whether one-on-one or in P&R. In short, the Bucks' offense is no good right now.

"We've got to get more efficient at what we're doing," Skiles said. "Our high pick-and-roll game is operating at about 30% (efficiency) and nothing looks good right now.

You would hope it's more a matter of execution than the Bucks simply not being good enough to create quality shots, but the answer is probably somewhere in between. And as the point guard, the issue is most acute with Jennings, who in spite of his penchant for dribbling in circles has improved his finishing markedly around the hoop and has upped his volume of shots there as well. Those are certainly good signs. But another issue is that he hasn't been punishing teams for going under screens and slacking off on the perimeter--something he was doing with ridiculous efficiency a year ago around this time.  At the end of the day, the challenge for Jennings is knowing when to pick his spots. As bad as he was putting the ball in the hoop last year, Jennings had a flair for making shots when they mattered while also making sure the Bucks' other scorers got their touches. Some nights Jennings won't need to shoot as much, but as the guy running the offense he has to decide on the right balance. The common thread is staying aggressive and forcing defenses to react to him--if that means shooting more, so be it. 

Carlos probable. The Bucks were without Carlos Delfino for the second half against New Orleans, but Charles Gardner reports that Scott Skiles lists him as probable for tonight's affair against the Knicks. Given the Bucks' complete inability to put the ball in the hole, now is not exactly the best time to lose their only consistent three point threat. 

UPDATE: As discussed in the comments below, Delfino has bee ruled out tonight and is not expected to travel to Atlanta for tomorrow's game either. The injury doesn't appear serious, but it dates back at least a week and he's been playing through it.