Game 43 Preview: Milwaukee Bucks at New Jersey Nets

After splitting their back-to-back set vs. Charlotte and Houston, the Nets continue their march to the end of the season vs. Milwaukee Monday night. As for Milwaukee, they play the Raptors Sunday evening before they make the trip to Jersey. The Bucks are very close to catching the free-falling Knicks for the 8th seed, and with the Nets only a few games behind, it looks like these teams will be battling for the right to get their asses kicked by Miami or Chicago in Round 1 8 seed.

Let's see how these two teams compare:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free Throw Rate

Turnover Rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%









New Jersey








League Average








Looking at the Bucks, we can see that they're not a particularly good team. Their offense is in the bottom half of the league, as is their defense. They're playing at a faster pace (top 10 in fact), which is a break from the typically slow pace of past seasons under Scott Skiles. They're one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the league (thanks in large part to Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova) and they don't turn it over much. Andrew Bogut has been out with a broken left ankle, but even if he were at full strength, this is a team that probably wouldn't make much noise in the playoff.

As for New Jersey, we know the story by now. Their offense is fine enough, but the defense is abhorrent. If we're being completely honest, they're not gonna make the playoffs nor should they if we're thinking long-term.

Last time we saw each other: Bucks 92, Nets 85

And before we jump into the good stuff, let's take a quick look back at the last game between these teams:

Tip-off is at 7:30. More stuff after the jump.

Point Guard: Brandon Jennings vs. Deron Williams (?)/Jordan Farmar

On the outside looking in, Jennings is such an enigma. He's clearly talented (just ask the Knicks), but his performance on the whole isn't all that impressive. Yes, he's gotten better each season (his True Shooting % and Win Shares/48 minutes have gone up each year as well as a drop in turnovers), but those gains barely get him to average. If you wanna take a look at his defense: the Bucks are allowing 109 points per 100 possessions with him on the court, against 98 with him on the bench. Ouch. At some point, you wonder if Jennings will ever improve and be a player worth building around.

Williams will be reevaluated before the game. Assuming Williams is out, Jordan Farmar will get the start. Farmar's coming off a nice game vs. the Rockets as he shot 7-11 (3-5 from three point range) from the field. He should be able to do some damage vs. this Bucks defense.

Advantage: Nets with Williams/Bucks without Williams

Shooting Guard: Carlos Delfino vs. MarShon Brooks

Delfino isn't much. His shooting is down from last year and he was never much of a rebounder to begin with. The majority of his shots come from downtown so three point defense will be important.

Brooks is coming off of his best game of the year. He was efficient (11-16), handled the ball well (7:2 assist to turnover ratio) and was good enough on the glass (5 rebounds). The majority of his shots were jumpers and you'd rather he attack the basket more often, but you can live with the results.

Advantage: Nets

Small Forward: Tobias Harris vs. DeShawn Stevenson

I'm gonna be completely honest: I have no idea who Harris is. Despite my ignorance, the 19 year old has been playing well in his rookie season. His per 36 numbers are fine, so we should expect him to get more playing time as the season progresses, especially if the Bucks begin to clean out their roster.

Do I have anything nice to say about Stevenson? No.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward : Ersan Ilyasova vs. Kris Humphries

Will Ilyasova have another 20-20 game against the Nets? Probably not. But the free agent to be has put forth a nice year. His shooting is OK (.544 TS%, although he needs to improve near the rim, as he's shooting just 57% at the rum), but he makes his living rebounding the ball. A total rebounding rate of 18 is excellent and his defense at the 4 is fine, as opponents have a PER of 17 against him. From Brew Hoop:

His offensive game is strictly complementary, but his defense and rebounding is where the real value lies. To pay a guy like that, who has never proven to be a quality starter, would be too much risk for a franchise in transition. Ideally, Hammond will trade him for future assets before the deadline.

You can take that blurb and apply it directly to Kris Humphries. His shooting and rebounding are down from last season, although to be fair, an 18 rebounding rate is still pretty good. Will he ever your team's best player? If he is, then your team is in big trouble. But is he a nice complementary piece to have? Without a doubt.

Advantage: Bucks

Center: Drew Gooden vs. Shelden Williams

Drew's Kansas Jayhawks are the #2 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. The former #4 pick is a fine player, if unspectacular. He's still athletic and is a capable rebounder. Would you ever sign him for 5 years? You shouldn't, but who am I to criticize some other team's foolishness when our guys gave Travis Outlaw a 5 year deal too.

Shelden's Duke Blue Devils are a #2 seed as well, as they try to not get knocked out in the Sweet 16 again win the National Championship again. Williams scored 10 points last game, which must have been a season high for him.

Advantage: Bucks


Milwaukee: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Beno Udrih, Larry Sanders, Shawn Livingston(might miss game due to injury), Luc Mbah a Moute(might miss game due to injury)

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, Johan Petro, Sundiata Gaines

Advantage: Even


Unless you're a young team coming off of a string of bad seasons, I've always been a proponent of selling off veteran parts and trying to stockpile better players and picks. No point in making the 8 seed just to get knocked out in 5 games.

Just 4 more days until the trade deadline passes.

Teams are always in need of good shooters, so Mike Dunleavy Jr should be in demand.

When he gets back, Andrew Bogut should be worth a few good pieces should Milwaukee want to trade him.

I'll always be a Shawn Livingston fan. Any player who can come back from the injury he suffered as a Clipper is worth rooting for.

Journey through the darkside: Brew Hoop

The mothership: Bucks vs Nets coverage

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