Who: Milwaukee Bucks vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Bucks Home Game
When: 8:00 PM ET
Where: Live at BMO Harris Bradley Center
|Milwaukee||35-37||101.0 (21)||102.5 (12)||97.2 (3)|
|Charlotte||17-56||98.2 (28)||109.3 (30)||94.1 (16)|
Charlotte: Ramon Sessions (OUT)
|PG||Brandon Jennings||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Monta Ellis||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Marquis Daniels||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Ersan Ilyasova||Josh McRoberts|
|C||Larry Sanders||Bismack Biyombo|
|6th Man||J.J. Redick||Ben Gordon|
1- STATS: Neither team comes into this game on fire, but Milwaukee is especially struggling at the wrong time. Nobody seems poised to catch the Bucks for the 8th spot in the east, but they’re not helping their own cause. Milwaukee is 1-4 in their past 5 games — the Bucks have shot 29.5% from behind the arc during this 5-game stretch. On a team that certainly has outside shooters, what seems to be the problem?
Spencer: On the season the Bucks are taking an avg. of 19.3 3FGA per game. In the past 5 games Milwaukee has fired up 22.4 3FGA/game. So the fact that they’re relying on the outside shot more is a sign of below average offensive execution and forced shots. When you have guys who dominate the ball such as Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, I’m assuming that it diminishes offensive efficiency in the long run.
Greg: The level of competition hasn’t helped — the five teams they played were the Pacers, Hawks, 76ers, Lakers and Thunder, and there are three top-10 defenses in that mix. Especially bad performances against Indiana (3-of-19) and Philadelphia (6-of-24) drag that average down, too. It seems like a lack of ball movement also hurt them in those games; they failed to record 20 assists in either, compared to a season average of 22.8.
Jeremy Schmidt (Bucksketball): Just a bad shooting stretch, frankly. J.J. Redick hasn’t been particularly effective lately, inside or outside the arc. Ditto for Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee has played a bunch of good teams of late and the Bucks schedule down the stretch is by no means favorable. They’ll have to start making a lot of shots they’ve been missing lately.
2- REDICK: Will the Bucks be able to retain J.J. Redick in the summer and should he be considered a disappointment since coming to Milwaukee at the trade deadline?
Spencer: I have to believe that the Bucks will do everything in their power to keep him there considering they gave up Tobias Harris, a young 6’8 SF with loads of potential, that’s still on his rookie deal. Yes, the Bucks were very crowded in the front court, but I would’ve done quite a bit to keep Harris around.
Redick has had to take on a different role in Milwaukee, so his individual numbers were always expected to take a small hit. That being said, I don’t believe he’s been that much of a disappointment. The one outlier that’s bothersome is that fact that he’s shooting 31.9% from deep since joining the Bucks. In Orlando Redick was 39% in 50 games this season.
Greg: I think they’ll do their best to keep him. They should have enough cap space to re-sign both him and Brandon Jennings, if that’s the path they want to take.
Just from looking at the numbers, he seems to be doing fine; his individual stats have taken a dip, but the on-court/off-court numbers look solid. The team’s offensive efficiency, true shooting, and eFG% all jump when he’s on the court, and the offensive efficiency as a team has risen from a season average of 101.0 to 104.1 in the 18 games since he’s joined them.
Jeremy: He hasn’t been disappointing from an effort perspective. He plays hard, he comes off screens with a fury and he’s a very hard worker. But he’s made only 31.9% of his threes and 40.8% of his shots from the field. That’s not the guy the Bucks wanted to acquire. Milwaukee paid a steep price in Tobias Harris to get Redick for the stretch run. Right now, that’s not looking like such a great move. But everyone expects his shooting to come around soon enough. It’s too tough for me to predict whether he, Ellis or Jennings will return this summer right now.
3- PICK IT: Milwaukee has 5 1/2 game cushion for the 8 spot in the east, but a loss at home to Charlotte may force some to push the panic button. Cats or Bucks?
Spencer: Bucks. Perfect opportunity for Milwaukee to break out of this slump and they simply can’t afford a home loss to the Bobcats at this point in the season. 105-92 Bucks.
Greg: I’d lean towards Milwaukee. Charlotte beat them on Nov. 19, but got massacred when visiting Milwaukee on Dec. 7. A big part of that loss was the Bucks’ shotblocking ability — they’re second in the league in blocks, which keeps the Bobcats’ guards from scoring at the basket as effectively. When you take that away, they’re forced to shoot from outside, and the Bobcats don’t have the three-point shooters to compensate for the less-efficient attempts.
Jeremy: Milwaukee has been disappointing lately, but mainly because they’ve been playing very good teams. I don’t suspect the Bucks will do anything other than beat Charlotte by double digits.