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Wizards vs. Bucks Preview: Washington in town for MACC Fund game without John Wall and Nene

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The Bucks look to get back on (preseason) track when they host the injury-riddled Washington Wizards at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday night.

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2012/2013 NBA Preseason
October 20, 2012
BMO Harris Bradley Center
7:30 PM Central
No TV / 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Jennings PG A.J. Price
Monta Ellis SG Jordan Crawford
Tobias Harris SF Martell Webster
Ersan Ilyasova PF Jan Vesely
Samuel Dalembert C Emeka Okafor

On the Wizards: Bullets Forever | Washington Post Wizard Insider | Truth About It | D.C. Sports Bog

The cause. It's difficult to follow the Bucks and not be familiar with all the great things that the Bucks do with the MACC Fund, but it bears repeating: this marks the 36th straight year that the Bucks and MACC Fund have teamed up to raise money to fight childhood cancer and related blood disorders, with $41 million having been raised to date. Awesome stuff.

All proceeds from tonight's game benefit the MACC Fund, so if you're in the Milwaukee area be sure to buy tickets, get there early (Kidsfest inside the BC from 5:30 to 7) and bid on some great silent auction items. If you can't get there, you can make a donation here.

On behalf of Brew Hoop, we'll be making a $500 donation and encourage you to make a donation as well.

Banged-up Wiz. Who's starting for the Wizards tonight? Great question. A knee injury will likely keep John Wall out of the lineup until late November at the earliest, while Nene continues to struggle with plantar fasciitis and doesn't know if he'll be ready for the season opener. Add to that a calf injury to young big man Kevin Seraphin and you're left with a makeshift Wizard lineup peppered with certified bench-warmers (A.J. Price), youngsters (Jan Vesely) and new guys looking to reassert their starting credentials (Emeka Okafor). I've penciled in the same starting lineup that Randy Wittman rolled out in Thursday's loss in Toronto, but it won't surprise anyone to see some changes.

It's not that the Wizards are lacking in talent of course. Though he's started just two of five preseason games, third overall pick Bradley Beal has been Washington's leading scorer in the exhibition season (14.2 ppg, though on mediocre .426/.333 shooting splits) and will be starting at shooting guard sooner rather than later. Versatile second-year man Chris Singleton is also working his way back from injury, Seraphin had a promising finish to his sophomore season last spring, Trevor Booker and Trevor Ariza was a starter with both the Rockets and Hornets over the past three seasons (OK, maybe he shouldn't have been, but at 27 he's hardly over the hill).

Bucks in need of a bounce-back. Remember way back when the Bucks were having a grand old time in the preseason, cruising along and beating up on hapless opponents? Ah, memories.

OK, that was only about a week ago, but two losses in three days and an injury to rookie John Henson have put a bit of a damper on this week. Still, preseason is what you make of it, and as of today there are at least some positives to draw from what we've seen so far:

  • Tobias Harris looks set to be the Bucks' starting small forward on opening night...and that's what everyone wanted, right?
  • Brandon Jennings has been steady if unspectacular, which for a now-veteran point guard is entirely OK from the preseason.
  • Monta Ellis has been neither steady nor spectacular, but at least he's on an upward trend after some encouraging stuff against the Grizz on Thursday.
  • By keeping things simple, Larry Sanders is miraculously in Scott Skiles' good graces for what seems like the first time in recorded history, and he deserves to be, too. I'd still prefer to see Sam Dalembert starting on opening night next to Ersan Ilyasova, but Larry's earned himself consistent minutes and that's a good thing.
  • Nobody's picked up a serious injury.

Links and such:

  • Bucksketball | I'm not sure I've ever not enjoyed an Ian Segovia preview.