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Bucks vs. Bobcats Preview: Road trip grinds to a halt in Charlotte

The Bucks may once again be missing Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings when they roll into Charlotte to face the cellar-dwelling Bobcats on Saturday night.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2012/2013 NBA Season
(37-42, 16-23 road)
(18-61, 12-26 home)
April 13, 2013
Time Warner Cable Arena | Charlotte, NC
6:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 1250 WSSP
Probable Starters
Monta Ellis PG Kemba Walker
J.J. Redick SG Gerald Henderson
Marquis Daniels SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Ersan Ilyasova PF Josh McRoberts
John Henson C Bismack Biyombo
2012/13 Advanced Stats
94.7 (3rd) Pace 91.1 (17th)
103.6 (21st) ORtg 101.5 (29th)
105.2 (12th) DRtg 111.9 (30th)

On the Bobcats: Rufus On Fire | Queen City Hoops | Bobcats Baseline

UPDATE: Ted Davis tweets that Jennings and Sanders are indeed out.

Bobcats update. Two weeks after getting rocked in Milwaukee, the Bobcats close out their season series against the Bucks hoping to earn a split of the season series in Charlotte. Mike Dunlap's club has lost four in a row and 55 of their last 66 games, following a surprising 7-5 start that included a narrow win over the Bucks back in November. They were last seen getting throttled 113-93 last night in Detroit despite 28 points, six dimes and five rebounds from Kemba Walker.

Needless to say, Bobcat fans can only look to the future as they appear headed to the worst record in the league for the second straight season. A short list of problems: Charlotte ranks last in the league in defensive efficiency, eFG% (both own and allowed), defensive rebound rate and three pointers allowed. So...yeah.

Deer season. No word yet on the availability of Brandon Jennings (sore Achilles) and Larry Sanders (back), though you'd guess that the Bucks won't take any chances with either. Ersan Ilyasova returned from illness to score 25 against the Hawks last night, stroking five threes in the first half before going quiet in the second (1/4 fg, 3 pts). Meanwhile, John Henson had his hands full against Al Horord down low, but had his moments and figures to start again if Sanders is unavailable. Every Bucks fan wants Sanders back and healthy as soon as possible, but getting an extended look at Henson is a nice silver lining while he's out. On the plus side, the Bobcats' lack of size and experience up front should make for better matchups than the Al Horford/Josh Smith combo that battered the Bucks last night.

If Jennings sits out again, expect to see tons of minutes, shots, assists and turnovers for Monta Ellis (obviously), as well as another extended look at Ish Smith. Smith acquitted himself rather well last night in Atlanta, though the Bucks were once again unable to contain Jeff Teague (24 pts, 10 ast) with any consistency.

Larry. Speaking of Sanders, his breakout season has easily been the best storyline of a, uh, trying Bucks season, hasn't it? He's the subject of Lee Jenkins' latest piece at Sports Illustrated, and you've probably already noticed the Bucks' "Larry Blocks" marketing campaign pushing Sanders for most improved and defensive player of the year recognition. MIP seems possible and I'm hoping he makes one of the two all-defensive teams, though there's no shortage of big guys playing great defense right now (see Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, etc).