It’s Minnesota at Green Bay. Sounds like a Central Division rivalry to me. (7:30 CT, Radio: WTMJ 620, Local TV: None)
The Bucks close out the preseason against the Timberwolves in a home-away-from-home game up north at the Resch Center. Minnesota enters tonight’s game with a 4-2 preseason record, while the Bucks have a chance to finish with a .500 record (3-4).
The Timberwolves will play without stars Ricky Rubio, who is still recovering from knee surgery, and Kevin Love, who broke his hand doing knuckle pushups.
The two teams met in the preseason last year, but it was much less fun because the Bucks had Stephen Jackson then.
Even without their stars, the Timberwolves are fun now because they have Nikola Pekovic to pair with newcomers Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, and Chase Buddinger.
Fun with Preseason Stats
Minnesota enteres tonight’s game 25th in points per game scored (91.2), but 1st in points per game allowed (81.7). The Bucks sit 13th in points scored (97.4) and 15th in points allowed (94.9).
The Bucks are fifth in the league in free-throw percentage (78.1%). While it’s still early to reach terribly meaningful conclusions, swapping out Andrew Bogut for Samuel Dalembert will help a lot in that area.
The Bucks are also fifth in assists per game (24.7).
Of course, the area where the Bucks have improved greatly is at protecting the rim. They lead the league by a sizable margin in blocks per game (8.6). Samuel Dalembert and Larry Sanders rank first (2.6) and second (2.5), respectively, among individual players. FLEXING! (© Marquis Daniels, 2009)
Milwaukee is 16th in rebounds per game, but credit some of that number to offensive rebounds. They need to improve on the defensive glass.
Really though, what the Bucks need most is a game where Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis play well together. Teams across the league want to know exactly what it is that the Bucks have in their backcourt. Is it a problem? Is it a two-headed dynamo? Through seven meaningless preseason games, they haven’t shown much. But those seven games are also the synch time that they supposedly didn’t have last year. Yesterday’s game was awful, but they get a pass because it was played in the morning twilight.
But tonight? It’s time for to take advantage of the last chance they get to work out the kinks before the regular season.
And, of course, no matter what the outcome, having Monta Ellis around is still better that having Stephen Jackson on your team — am I right?