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Jazz vs. Bucks Preview: Short-handed Jazz pay only visit to Milwaukee

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The Bucks will look to make it four in a row on Monday at the Bradley Center, as they host an undermanned Utah Jazz team that will be without Al Jefferson, Jamaal Tinsley and possibly Paul Millsap.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2012/2013 NBA Season
(32-27, 10-19 road)
vs.
Mil_medium
(29-28, 15-14 home)
March 4, 2013
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
7:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Earl Watson PG Brandon Jennings
Randy Foye SG Monta Ellis
Marvin Williams SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Paul Millsap* PF Ersan Ilyasova
Derrick Favors C Larry Sanders
2012/13 Advanced Stats
91.2 (20th) Pace 94.5 (6th)
106.8 (9th) ORtg 103.2 (23rd)
106.9 (21st) DRtg 104.0 (10th)

On the Jazz: SLC Dunk / Salt City Hoops / Salt Lake Tribune

Jazz update. The Bucks have seemingly had the benefit of facing opponents without their star players through much of the season, and tonight appears to be no exception. Starters Al Jefferson (ankle) and Jamaal Tinsley (personal matter) are both out, while Paul Millsap (ankle) is expected to be a game-time decision as well. And that's not even mentioning the injured Mo Williams (thumb surgery) and the out-of-favor Raja Bell. That should mean big minutes for young big men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, while Earl Watson and Alec Burks figure to see their minutes bumped in the backcourt. The Jazz used their bulk down low to beat up the Bucks in Utah a month ago, cruising past the Bucks 100-86, so anything that weakens their front line should be of major help to the skinnier Bucks.

Plenty of good stuff from Jazz insider David Locke here, including reason to believe that the Jazz won't miss Jefferson as much as you might think:

Ouch. On a related note, I had a chance to grab dinner on Saturday night at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference with a handful of great NBA brains, and one of them argued that the price he'd pay for Al Jefferson in free agency would be zero. The same certainly isn't true of the 20-year-old Kanter, who piled up a monster 23 points and 22 rebounds in 44 minutes with Millsap unavailable in Charlotte on Friday. He'd likely start if Millsap sits.

Speaking of Friday, the Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak by thumping the Bobcats 98-68, leaving them .001 ahead of the Rockets for the seventh seed out West. That means the Jazz would avoid the league-leading Spurs and instead get a far more preferable matchup with....uh, the Oklahoma City Thunder? Yep, being in the 6th or 7th seed out West isn't quite as desirable as it is in the East, where the Knicks and Pacers are a rather large step behind the front-running Heat.

#MONTE. The NBA announced earlier today that Monta Ellis had claimed his second Eastern Conference player of the week honor of the season after leading the Bucks with 24.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 5.0 steals in three games (all wins of course) last week. That marks four times that a Buck has taken home the weekly honor this season (Brandon Jennings has the other two), trailing only the five awards racked up by the Heat and Thunder.

Hangin' with Ekpe. One more reason to dig the Bucks' most underrated big man.