On the Nets: Nets Daily / Nets Are Scorching
The Bucks hope to have Brandon Jennings back in uniform for the first time in six weeks when they return to the BC looking to make it seven wins in a row against the New Jersey Nets. Both teams played Friday night, but while the Bucks scraped out a surprising 116-110 shootout in Toronto, the Nets lost by 34 in Indiana.
Jennings in? Skiles told the JS yesterday he expected Jennings to play tonight for the first time since December 18, though by the sound of it he won't be in his usual starting position.
"It will probably be very limited minutes (Saturday), but hopefully we can get him out there and play a little bit."
Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins have done as much as could have been expected, as noted at Bucks.com:
In the 19 games Brandon Jennings has missed due to his left foot surgery, Earl Boykins and Keyon Dooling have combined for 22.8 points, 9.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals. They've connected on 35.7 percent of their threes (41-115) and posted a 3.15:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (167:53).
...and CD-R out? Chris Douglas-Roberts tweeted this afternoon he would not be with the team tonight, apparently because if his aunt's passing. Douglas-Roberts scored 24 points on 14 shots in his return to New Jersey on January 8, so you know he's not thrilled about missing another chance to show his former team what they're missing.
Let's get a win tonight Bucks. Sorry I can't be there tonight. Bad day for me.
CD-R scored 11 last night in Toronto, and before the game he spoke to Ryan McNeill about getting more consistent offensively and the importance of seeing steady playing time under Skiles. In a bizarre testament to his feast-or-famine season, look no further than the 18 games leading up to last night: in that span he had three games of 24 or more points and 15 games with eight or fewer points. Nothing in between.
Assuming John Salmons (mystery hip ailment) remains out as well, I'm guessing Carlos Delfino slides into the starting lineup at the 2, which would be the lineup Skiles went with throughout crunch time in Toronto. You'd have to guess Garrett Temple will also see some more burn, and there's also the option of giving Keyon Dooling some run at off guard next to Jennings or Earl Boykins.
Nets finding focus? The Carmelo-to-Jersey rumors were running wild the last time these two teams met, leading me to wonder at the time how much of a distraction it was proving for a young Nets squad that has seemingly been on the trading block all season. Mikhail Prokhorov now claims the Nets are done with Carmelo, though there are still some expecting the Nets might have second thoughts ahead of the February 24 trade deadline.
The Nets had won four of five before their 124-92 shellacking in New Jersey last night, though their recent improvement hasn't extended to their play on the road. The Nets have lost 10 straight away from home and have lost six straight overall to the Bucks.
Don't judge a Brook by its cover. That pun is awful (or possibly AMAZING?) and has nothing to do with Brook Lopez's terrible rebounding, but let's go with it. While Lopez scored 28 points against Roy Hibbert last night, the seven-footer continues to shock and awe with his rebounding incompetence, grabbing just one rebound in 29 minutes as he challenges Andrea Bargnani for the title of worst rebounding big man in the universe. For those of you scoring at home, Bargnani's 9.3% rebound rate is still comfortably under Lopez's 10.0%, but Lopez has averaged just 4.4 rebounds per game this month compared to 5.6 from Bargs.
While scoring has always been Lopez's calling card, he's struggled mightily against the Bucks regardless of who's been available to guard him. Lopez scored just five points against the Bogut-less Bucks three weeks ago, and last year he averaged just 9.0 ppg and 5.3 rpg on 39% shooting in four losses, which also included a 5-point, 4-rebound game after Bogut had been lost for the season.