Brooklyn tries to bounce back in Milwaukee

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets lost by 30 points at home on Thursday night. The game before, they lost at home to Denver by 24 points.  If you're looking for some good news, Deron Williams will be back for Tuesday's game against the Celtics. Still no word on when Andrei Kirilenko will be back. Jason Terry says he'll be re-evaluated Monday.

The opponent this Saturday night will be the Milwaukee Bucks. If you're looking for a team that's in even worse shape than the Nets or the New York Knicks, here you go. Caron Butler dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the year & has missed the past week with a knee injury. Larry Sanders was supposed to be the anchor of Milwaukee's defense, but he's been out since injuring his thumb in a bar fight back in November. In addition to Sanders being out, Caron Butler is He won't be back anytime soon, but his teammates are on the second night of a back to back after playing in Washington (an overtime win) the night before.

Still, the Bucks beat the Wizards in Washington in overtime, 109-105. Khris Middleton scored a career-high 29 points and Brandon Knight added 20.

The season so far

Why have these teams been so bad? Since we're asking:

Metric

Brooklyn

Milwaukee

Record

5-14 4-15

Pace

94.22 94.4

Offensive Efficiency

99.3 94.4

Defensive Efficiency

108.6 104.9

Offensive Rebounding percentage

25.4 23.9

Turnover rate

15.6 17.2

Assist rate

15.4 16.6

Rebound rate

48.8 46.8

Free throw rate

33.3 23.4

Effective Field Goal percentage

47 46.5

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

51.8 50.8

This Brooklyn defense is abominable. As it stands right now, they are at the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency, letting up close to 109 points per 100 possessions. If your first experience of the Nets this season was the TNT game against New York, you'd have gotten a perfect picture as to why they've been so wretched this season. The Knicks shot 59.3 percent from three point range and the opponent this evening has been better from downtown than NY was. Their apathy and unpreparedness has been a consistent trend this season, and they should be up for this game after getting blown out twice at home and having an opponent coming into town after playing in OT the night before. Look for Brook Lopez to try to get going early. He was one of the few (only?) Nets that played well Thursday night & the Nets should look to go to him early and often.

Sanders' per game numbers were never sexy, but he was extremely important for Milwaukee's defense. Prada hit on it during the preseason & that's been missing for Milwaukee this year. In Sanders' place has been former Tar Heel John Henson. Henson is doing a good job for the Bucks & is coming off a big game last night in Washington. Ersan Ilyasova's there too, but he hasn't been as productive as last year (quick note: I actually thought he'd be a good acquisition for the Nets when he was a free agent a few years back).

Player to watch: OJ Mayo

Writing about Mayo and the seeming disdain advanced metrics have for his performance, Brew Hoop writer Dan Sinclair noticed something interesting in the numbers:

Regardless of everything else, just cutting down on turnovers will do wonders for Mayo's advanced stat profile. Because he's already above-average in TS%, just changing turnovers into generic shot attempts will tend to increase his value. If those TOs become three-pointers, or shots at the rim? Even better.

So what's been the story for the former prodigy? He's turning the ball over at about the same rate as last year, but he's struggling from the field. His field goal percentage is down and we can attribute that to a decline near the basket. In Dallas last year, he shot 57.7 percent inside the restricted area. He's only shooting 52.5 percent, but it's not all doom and gloom. He's continued to improve on his three point shooting over the years and is shooting 40.7 percent from deep (along with a career best 92.9 percent from the line). Against the league's worst three point and overall defense, Mayo should be in line for a big game.

From the Vault

Head on back to the Spring of 2001 and relive one of Ray Allen's greatest performances. This was also the last time the Bucks have been past the First Round.


More reading: Brew Hoop

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