On the Kings:
JS: Redd could play Friday or Saturday for Bucks
Subplot alert! We've spent the past 14 months speculating when/where/whether Michael Redd could return from a second major knee surgery, but all signs point to him returning to the Bucks lineup sooner rather than later--perhaps as early as Friday.
And regardless of what you think about Redd's ability to help the Bucks, the mere fact that he's finally healthy enough to play basketball is an undeniably great thing to see. Still, while Skiles has been impressed by Redd's conditioning since he returned to practice a few weeks ago, there are understandably no guarantees for the Bucks' former franchise player.
"On one hand, it's very simple," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of working Redd back into the rotation. "We have to try to win the game that night.
"It's not easy to make decisions, necessarily. We're not in a position right now where the priority is working a guy back in. The priority is winning the game.
"If we feel a player or two players can help us be productive and win the game, those will be the guys that play."
No arguments here.
Bucksketball: Getting back into rotation a tough task for returning Bucks
On that topic, here's a good read from Jeremy on the challenge Redd may have as he works his way back into the lineup.
In each of the five games Maggette has not played, Milwaukee, with four of the wins having come by a double digit margin. The logic here isn’t that not playing Maggette allows the Bucks to win by 10, but it seems to be that when the Bucks starting unit and bench players that are playing of late are playing well, Coach Skiles doesn’t want to break those groups up just to get Maggette minutes. He’s looking to keep players that are playing well on the floor.
I have a very hard time seeing Redd parachute into the lineup after a year-plus of rehab and earn minutes over Maggette (or CDR for that matter), but I suppose stranger things have happened. I see Gooden and Ilyasova having much easier times cracking the lineup, especially given the inconsistency Larry Sanders has shown of late.
Tyreke still hurting. Reigning rookie of the year Tyreke Evans has struggled with plantar fasciitis all season, with almost all of his numbers slipping from his excellent rookie campaign. Though he's played in 46 games, Evans won't be in uniform at the BC and has been held out of action since February 13 to undergo shockwave therapy treatment on his foot, with the Kings limping to a 4-14 record in his absence.
Incidentally, Evans' treatment is the same one Drew Gooden has been receiving while he tries to recover from his own struggles with plantar fasciitis. On Tuesday, Gooden made it through his first practice since January 21, though Skiles told the JS that he still has "some conditioning issues to get through."
Second Cousins. DeMarcus Cousins may finally be figuring some things out in the second half of his rough-and-tumble rookie season, as he's averaging some impressive raw stats in the month of March: 16.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 4.0 apg. On the downside, he remains a horribly inefficient scorer (47.9% true shooting from a big man?) who turns it over at an alarming rate (4.4 to/g this month, 3.3 for the season).
Cousins scored a season-low two points with five turnovers (!) in just 13 minutes against the Bucks in December, racking up (if I recall correctly) four offensive fouls in addition to getting stuffed by Bogut on a crucial possession late in the game. For my money it's still the most impressive Bogut block of the season, which is saying a lot given he's currently leading the NBA in shot-blocking.
Starting Cousins next to long-time Bogut nemesis Sam Dalembert also raises the question of how the Bucks will defend the former Kentucky star. He's stronger than most PFs as is, so it will take all of Mbah a Moute's savvy (fronting, doubling, etc) to avoid getting bullied on the block. Brockman drew three charges on Cousins in the December game, so he might be the best defensive complement to Bogut when both Dalembert and Cousins are on the floor at the same time. Still, something tells me Skiles won't alter his starting lineup pre-emptively.
Home/road. The Kings aren't any good on the road (8-25), but surprisingly their record is nearly as bad at home (9-27).
Sweep? Winning in Sacramento was one of the surprise highlights of the 09/10 season, and squeaking out an 84-79 win at Arco was an highlight of this season as well. Not because winning in Sacramento has been particularly difficult this year, but because that effort came just 24 hours after the Bucks' most shocking road win of the season in L.A. Ah yes, we were all so hopeful back on December 23...
Boarding up. The Kings 26th or worst in offensive eFG%, turnover rate, and free throw rate, but they compensate for it slightly by grabbing a ton of offensive rebounds (2nd). I say slightly because they're still just 25th in offensive efficiency, only slightly worse than their 21st-ranked defensive efficiency. In short: if you can't make shots, it doesn't matter how many chances you get. Just ask the Bucks.
JS: Delfino turns white-hot
It's been rather fantastic watching Carlos Delfino explode for a combined 56 points, 19 rebounds and 14/22 shooting from deep over the past two games, hasn't it? As the team's most prolific shooter from deep, Delfino's ability to stretch the floor has proven absolutely critical to the Bucks' success offensively all season, as suggested by his splits in wins (16.2 ppg on .453/.450 shooting) vs. losses (9.3 ppg on .341/.278 shooting). And while the Bucks will be hoping he can maintain at least a moderate level of consistency over the final 13 games, let's also be thankful Carlitos is playing at all.
"I'll never forget that I was almost out for the season because of injury," Delfino said. "Every single day I am so happy to get to the court.
"Some moments you feel good and some moments you feel bad. But it's our profession, our business. When you get to the court, you are in a position where people can blame you or can think you're the best.
"We're just trying to work every day as a team. We know what we want to do; we want to get to the playoffs."