Archive for the ‘Milwaukee Bucks’ Category

Start time: 6:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Aaron Gray
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino, Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden

Injury report

Toronto: Jose Calderon is questionable for tonight.

Milwaukee: Stephen Jackson, Shawn Livingston, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are all questionable for this game.

Milwaukee is a game-and-a-half behind New York for the final playoff seed in the East, so if they’re trying to make the playoffs — and they might be better off long-term if they didn’t — the Bucks need to start winning games like this one. After last night’s embarrassing display against the Pistons, I don’t know if we should expect the Raptors to put up much of a fight.

While the Bucks are only 6-15 on the road this season, one of those wins came in Toronto on Feb. 8. and they’ve won their last three games in the T-dot. Overall, the Raptors have lost five games in a row and seven of their last games against the Bucks.

Jerryd Bayless will start in place of Jose Calderon tonight after Calderon rolled his ankle yesterday. Bayless always seems to perform better when he starts, so his play should be the focal point of tonight for Raptors fans. In 20 games as a starter since he joined the Raptors last season, he’s averaged 17.0 points, 5.7 assists and a steal, while shooting 43.7 percent from the field.

We’ve got a little bit of time to kill before tipoff, so how about a rousing game of Numberwang?

Game No. 27: Bucks 105, Raptors 99

When two teams open a game shooting as well and scoring as prolifically as the Raptors and Bucks did to open this game, it is often said that the first team to play defence wins. Well that theory was proven correct again tonight, as the Bucks picked up their defensive intensity well before the Raptors did, handing Toronto its third straight loss.

Now here are some thoughts on the game:

1- Finally, the Raptors started a ball game without digging themselves an early hole. The Raps outscored Milwaukee in the first quarter, 29-28, marking the first time in 15 games (since January 13 vs. the Pacers) that Toronto has won a first quarter. They do still have an 11-game first quarter losing streak on the road, however.

2- DeMar DeRozan had a solid game overall, but ultimately kind of fell asleep or was ignored by his teammates down the stretch. DeMar had 21 points before the end of the third quarter but finished with just 25 total and committed a very careless turnover out of a Raptors timeout late in the ball game. It was nice to see DeRozan find his long range jumper again, finishing four-of-six from deep, but you’ll remember that the last big game he had from three-point range (a five-for-eight performance against the Cavs) preceded a month long slump. A good shooting night from DeRozan should never be considered a bad sign, but his three free throw attempts and lack of a complete effort from start to finish discouraged me.

3- Speaking of discouraging signs, I did not like the Raptors’ effort on the boards. Sure, they were only out-rebounded 47-41, but how many times did we see a smaller Bucks player just stroll by and rip the ball out of a Raptors big man’s hands. It was very indicative of the kind of effort the Raps displayed tonight. At times they looked ready to go on a big run and assert their will, at other times it looked like they just wanted the game to be over, especially on the defensive end, which could not have left Dwane Casey very happy with his team. I know that wins don’t matter in the grand scheme of things this season and that losses may actually benefit this franchise down the road, but it’s still hard to watch a game like this, where the only thing keeping the Raptors from picking up a W was the lack of a consistent effort.

4- In typical Raptors fashion, it was a former Raptor, Carlos Delfino, who did the most damage. Delfino scored a season-high 25 points and matched a Raptors opponent season-high with six three-pointers. Is there any other franchise in the NBA or in North American pro sports for that matter that is so often burned by former players?

5- A few words on the Bucks. Milwaukee has a good mix of savvy and capable veterans like Stephen Jackson, Drew Gooden, Carlos Delfino and Mike Dunleavy. They have a couple of young pieces that intrigue me in Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and they are well coached by no-nonsense Scott Skiles. If Brandon Jennings could capitalize on his enormous potential sooner, rather than later, they would be a legitimate playoff team in the East. But at this stage of his career, Jennings is a shoot-first point guard that can’t shoot and turns the ball over too often, which is a terrible mix. The unfortunate thing for Bucks fans is that their veteran talent is good enough to keep them from landing a high draft pick and young talent that they desperately need, but their young star may not become an actual star until that veteran talent is gone and he has nothing left to work with.

It’s a tough situation, and one that I think will keep the Bucks on a treadmill going nowhere for the next couple of seasons.

6- Jerryd Bayless left the game and did not return with what the team is saying is a sore left ankle. It would be a deflating blow if Bayless has to miss time again. The 23-year-old was enjoying one of his best stretches as a Raptor and of his young NBA career. I’m very interested to see what Bayless can do with consistent minutes the rest of this season and how he can build on some of these recent performances. I’d hate to see another extended absence curtail his progress again. Here’s hoping that’s not the case and that it is simply what the team has called it, just a “sore” ankle.

Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan – 37 Min, 25 Pts, 9-18 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-3 FT, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO

Bucks Player of the Game: Carlos Delfino – 34 Min, 25 Pts, 7-12 FG, 6-8 3PT, 5-6 FT, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 3 TO

 

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Aaron Gray
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, Shaun Livingston, Carlos Delfino, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden

Injury report

Toronto: Andrea Bargnani is still out.

Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut is expected to be out until April.

At 10-14, the Milwaukee Bucks have a half-game lead over the Knicks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. This is a precarious place for a team to be in, because they’re not good enough to have a realistic chance of advancing past the first round of the playoffs, but they’re not crappy enough to get a lottery pick in what is expected to be a strong 2012 draft class. Hey, maybe Stephen Jackson can start acting out and completely screw up team chemistry! Good ol’ Stack Jack — that crazy train is never late.

On the court, Drew Gooden has been hotter over his last two games than Pizza Pop filling when it’s right out of the microwave. He scored at least 24 points and shot over 50 percent in each of those games, and he might continue that trend tonight if the Raptors’ slow-footed crew of centers is matched up against him. As for Brandon Jennings, you never know what you’re going to get from him. He could score three points like he did last night, or he could go off for 30. If you’re excited by wildly unpredictable performance swings, then maybe the Bucks should be your team!

I don’t have time for random thoughts tonight, but here’s a murderer who is really bad at his job.

Brandon Jennings and Jerryd BaylessThe Milwaukee Bucks fell short in their attempt to catch the Indiana Pacers for the eighth seed in the East, so like the Raptors they’re basically playing for draft position at this point. For Raptors fans, the biggest reason to pay attention to the final two games is probably the ongoing coming-out party for Jerryd Bayless, who has scored at least 19 points in each of his last six games. Whatever you think of his game, you have to admit he’s making a pretty strong case to be the Raptors’ starting point guard next season.

The Bucks were the last team Bayless faced before his impressive six-game run, and he was held to eight points and three assists in 21 minutes in that game. Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings lit up the Raptors for 25 points in their previous matchup, so the Jennings vs. Bayless battle would seem to be the one to watch tonight.

Injury report

Toronto: Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson, Leandro Barbosa and Sonny Weems didn’t travel with the team to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut and Jon Brockman are both out for the season.

Five questions

1. Did you know that if the Bucks win tonight, it will be the first time they will have swept the season series over the Raptors since the 2001-02 season?

2. Which team (Raptors or Bucks) do you believe has a more promising future based on their current personnel and likely draft positions?

3. Did you notice that Drew Gooden messed around and got his first career triple-double (#icecube) of 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists on Saturday against Cleveland? Russell Westbrook is the only other player to record a triple-double with at least 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists this season.

4. Are you excited about the possibility of a full season with Jerryd Bayless and DeMar DeRozan as the Raptors’ starting backcourt? In April, DeRozan is averaging 25.0 points per game while Bayless is averaging 23.2 points per game.

5. Do you think Derrick Rose clinched the MVP award with his 39-point performance to lead the Bulls over the Magic on Sunday?

Start time: 8:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Reggie Evans
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden

For tonight’s pregame “song”, I’m going to go with Wisconsin native Butch Vig explaining the production process for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It’s pretty interesting, even if you weren’t a Nirvana fan.

Michael Redd

There’s a good chance you won’t recognize the jumpshooter in the above photo, in spite of the fact that he’s making $18.3 million this season. It’s Michael Redd, and his 15-minute appearance in the Bucks’ one-point loss to the Bobcats on Monday was his first exposure to actual NBA gametime since January 10, 2010. He went 0-for-3 with zero points and four assists.

Redd was a member of the Team USA “Redeem Team”, he’s a former All-Star (in 2004) and he has career averages of 20.2 points per game and a .384 three-point percentage. But because of his injury concerns — he’s recovering from torn ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee — there’s probably no chance he’ll be re-signed by the Bucks after this season.

Considering that the Raptors are the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, I’m going to be keeping an eye on him for the rest of the season. I have no idea what kind of salary he’s going to ask for, but if he has a T-Mac type of renaissance on a team other than the Raptors next season, I’m going to be more than a little pissed that whoever is running this team missed out on that opportunity.

As for tonight’s game, the Bucks are three games behind eighth-place Indiana with nine games to go. It’s safe to say they consider this to be “must-win” if they actually want to make the playoffs this season.

Injury report

Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans will be game-time decisions.

Milwaukee: Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ersan Ilyasova are both out for the rest of the season.

Five questions

1. Do you think I’m crazy to suggest that the Raptors should take a look at signing Redd in the off-season?

2. Do you agree with me that the Bucks might be a team that would have interest in trading for Andrea Bargnani because of their anemic offense and Andrew Bogut’s ability to cover up Bargnani’s defensive and rebounding weaknesses?

3. Would Bargnani make it through a season with the Bucks without being assaulted if Scott Skiles was still their coach?

4. Has Ed Davis’ recent strong play made Amir Johnson expendable?

5. Would any of you want the Raptors to go back in time and draft Brandon Jennings instead of DeMar DeRozan considering how their sophomore seasons have gone?

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah a Moute, Andrew Bogut

Tonight’s pregame song is “Blister in the Sun” by The Violent Femmes, performed live on Spanish television in 1983. Did you know they were from Milwaukee? In terms of surprising geographical origins for musicians, that has to be right up there with the time I learned that Prince was from Minnesota.