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Bobcats @ Bucks Preview: 3-on-3 with Bucksketball

What: NBA Basketball – Bucks Home Game

When: 8:30 PM ET

Where: Live at Bradley Center

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Milwaukee 8-9 98.7 (23) 102.2 (16) 96.4 (4)
Charlotte 7-10 98.0 (27) 103.7 (22) 95.6 (8)

Previous Meetings:
2012/11/19 – 96-102 – RecapBoxscore

Milwaukee: Beno Udrih (OUT)
Charlotte: Tyrus Thomas (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bucks Bobcats
PG Brandon Jennings Kemba Walker
SG Monta Ellis Ramon Sessions
SF Mike Dunleavy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Ersan Ilyasova Byron Mullens
C Ekpe Udoh Brendan Haywood
6th Man Ekpe Udoh Jeffery Taylor

3-on-3 TrueHoop NetworkJeremy Schmidt of TrueHoop blog ‘Bucksketball‘ joins Brett and Greg to preview the second match-up of the season tonight in Milwaukee.

1- STATS: These two teams both play at a quick PACE, both have a low turnover rate, both rebound at a similar rate and also both have a below average ability to score the ball efficiently. The Bobcats won the rebounding category by 5 and the game by 4 on Nov. 19th between these two in Charlotte- will the battle on the boards be the key to success again tonight?

Brett: Based on the loss to the Knicks (and to a lesser degree, the Hawks last week), yes, rebounding is a key for the Bobcats. Kind of strange to say, when the Bobcats out-rebounded the Knicks by 14 overall (and by 2 on the offensive boards), but timing is everything. The Bobcats have started losing close games (the last 4 losses have all been very competitive contests where the Cats came out on the wrong side) and they’ve been losing them late (rebounding and turnovers).

Greg: I don’t know that boards will necessarily be the key; it obviously can’t hurt to rebound well, but the Bobcats tend to get outrebounded even in their wins. In victories this year, they’ve averaged 42.1 rebounds, and their opponents have averaged 44.6. What stuck out more to me from that last game is 30 free-throw attempts, Ekpe Udoh fouling out and Larry Sanders’ five fouls. I’ve harped on this before, but getting to the line and forcing the opponent’s shotblockers to foul seems to be a blueprint for success with this team.

Jeremy Schmidt (Bucksketball.com): I’d say rebounding will surely be important. Milwaukee was out-rebounded 53-36 in its last game against the Spurs, so I’d figure there will be some motivation to clean the glass a little better tonight. I’d say another X-Factor, as it always is for the Bucks, will be 3-point shooting. If they can make a few, which isn’t always easy for them, that could make a big difference on their overall efficiency. The return of Mike Dunleavy should help.

2- SLEEPER: Jeremy- Who on Milwaukee’s roster has over-exceeded all expectations so far this season? QCH- Who is a wild card selection to make a huge difference tonight for the Bobcats in Milwaukee?

Brett: I’ll take MKG. I like his matchups, against Tobias Harris and Mike Dunleavy. He’ll have a quickness advantage on both and should attack the basket for easy scores (and Kobe assists). Against Milwaukee earlier this year, Gilchrist had one of his most-well rounded games of the season, with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal. I’d like to see similar numbers tonight, as it would give the Bobcats a good chance at the win.

Greg: Bismack Biyombo. We’ve seen plenty of Good Biyombo and a fair share of Bad Biyombo this year, but he’s been defending, finishing and rebounding much better recently. He’s now statistically the best overall rebounder on the team, leading the team in total rebound percentage at 14.9%. If he can limit his turnovers, stay on the floor and play within himself on offense, he’ll be an important part of stopping the Ellis/Jennings backcourt.

Jeremy: Larry Sanders has been terrific. He’s earned more minutes by being a more active rebounder and generally more aware on defense. Over his past four games, he has blocked more shots than Milwaukee’s opponents. He still fouls too much, but when he’s able to keep his fouls in check, he’s had a lot of success this season.

3- PICK IT: Bobcats or Bucks? Bobcats up 1-0 in the season series, but does Milwaukee even it up tonight?

Brett: I’ll take the home team, Milwaukee, in this contest. Part of the Bobcats’ early season wins were advantages at the foul line (and playing at home – though there is a relationship between the two), and moving to the road will make this a more challenging attempt for the Bobcats to break their losing streak. Then again, I’m the same person who expected the Knicks to blow the Bobcats out the other night (they took the amount of threes I expected, but didn’t hit them), so I don’t have a great track record.

Greg: I’ll go with the Bobcats. Charlotte will struggle against Milwaukee’s shotblocking (the Bucks are fourth in the league in blocks), but the way they’ve bounced back after the Thunder blowout and played hard in their recent losses is extremely encouraging. At the minimum, I’m expecting a close game. At least part of that pick is selfish; I’m going to be at the game in Milwaukee tonight, so it’d be nice to see a Charlotte win.

Jeremy: I picked the Bucks last time and they failed miserably at Charlotte. My instinct is to pick them again, but they’ve trailed by at least 17 points in five of their last six games, despite winning two of those efforts. That’s not the sign of a very strong team. They need Beno Udrih back. They need cohesion. They need to do a little more before I pick them to win a game. Charlotte is the pick tonight.