On the Wizards: Bullets Forever / Truth About It / D.C. Sports Bog
Two more losses in Philly and Houston made the Bucks' short road road trip seem rather long, but they get a chance to bounce back with a home tilt against John Wall's Wizards, who despite some improved play of late continue to sport the league's only winless road record (0-19).
Are we there yet? The Bucks' schedule was supposed to get easy starting in Philly, but instead it's just been another source of cynicism for the Bucks' faithful. Clearly everyone's frustrated, and the fact that the Bucks still have the league's toughest strength of schedule doesn't offer much near-term relief. Actually winning games would provide some relief, though at 14-24 the Bucks have dug themselves a rather serious hole. The Bucks have lost six of seven and will be desperate to take at least two and preferably all three of their upcoming games against the Wiz Wednesday, in Cleveland on Friday, and then back at home on Saturday.
On the injury front, Brandon Jennings warmed up before the Houston game but Skiles said that he did not expect him back in practice this week. Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino continues to work out but has yet to be cleared for full contact, and I'd hesitate to expect too much of Carlos given how long he's been out. Besides, let's remember that while Carlos is a very good role player and glue guy, he's not the kind of player who can turn the team around on his own. While the Bucks clearly need Jennings and Delfino back on the court, they can't fall into the trap of expecting either guy to be their magic bullet.
Wizards rolling. It's kind of mind-boggling the Wiz haven't squeaked out a road win yet, especially given their rather respectable 12-8 record at the Verizon Center. They come to Milwaukee having won their last two games over the Raptors and (more impressively) the Jazz on Monday. John Wall held his own (19 pts on 12 shots, 15 dimes, 7 to) against Deron Williams (28/11), but he also got another big night from Nick Young (25 on 12 shots) and Andray Blatche (21/11).
Young the Giant. Young has been playing the best ball of his career for the better part of the last two months, including 28 ppg in 42 mpg over his last four. This month he's shooting 50% from the field including 48% from deep while turning it over just 1.5 times per contest--pretty damn impressive.
JS: Maggette moves into starting role
Corey Maggette started at small forward for the second time this season on Monday, leading the Bucks with 25 points on 18 shots in a season-high 39 minutes. Then again, he also tied fellow starters Andrew Bogut, John Salmons and Keyon Dooling with a team-worst -10, reflective of the sluggishness Bogut bemoaned after the game. Part of Skiles' motivation was to avoid yet another slow start offensively, but the Bucks again looked rather JV in scoring just 15 points in the opening quarter, though Maggette delivered nine points on eight shots in just under 11 minutes. Before the game, Charles Gardner reported that Skiles' move to start Maggette was another attempt to give the starting lineup a shot in the arm.
"He's tried to buy into our system," Skiles said. "He's defended individually pretty well. It's time to give him a look.
"We've had many different lineups due to injuries and everything. He's the one guy who has been an NBA starter who has not had an opportunity. He got slowed early in the season because of his injury (off-season ankle surgery).
"We've been pretty patient with some other situations. It's time to get him out there and see what he can do."
Marc Stein writes Maggette's availability was recently discussed with the Mavs, who are currently looking for wing help following the loss of Caron Butler for the season. Looking at the Mavs' other option it seems unlikely they would bite on Maggette without wanting something to sweeten the deal, and that's probably the problem.