Mar 31, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) dribbles as Milwaukee Bucks forward Drew Gooden (0) defends during the game at the Bradley Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Bucks 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Milwaukee Bucks Game Preview: A Chance for 3-0


Looking healthy with 2 wins to start the season, the Bucks go into this evening’s contest vying for their first 3-0 start since 2005-06. Milwaukee has been resting since Brandon Jennings’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer vanquished the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-102 Saturday night, whereas tonight’s opponents — the Memphis Grizzlies — put up 103 points in their home opener to best the Utah Jazz on Monday.

Offensive Efficiency:
Memphis: 103.2 (16th)
Milwaukee: 103.9 (13th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Memphis: 99.8 (10th)
Milwaukee: 96.8 (3rd)

Pace:
Memphis: 96.6 (3rd)
Milwaukee: 98.2 (1st)

Projected Lineups:

Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr., Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, Samuel Dalembert

What to Watch:  Post play

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have coalesced into one of the NBA’s most formidable frontcourt tandems, making them a tough draw for any given team, but they hold a serious size advantage over the Bucks’ barrage of big men. At 7’1″, Gasol is two inches taller than Samuel Dalembert. His frame also has an additional 15 pounds and seven years less wear. The more concerning issue may be the match-up of Ersan Ilyasova playing against Randolph. Ersan has yet to submit a big defensive performance this season — averaging 4.5 D rebounds and 0.5 steals through two games — and weighs 25 pounds less than Z-Bo, who (to put it mildly) likes to bully his way around the paint. The Memphis duo combined for 38 points against a similarly overmatched Jazz group on Monday.

As has been the case so far, though, Dalembert’s minutes have given way to Larry Sanders’ improved game. Sanders is averaging 3 blocks per game, but has been more useful on the offensive side of the ball. The burden may be on him to match Gasol’s scoring rather than stifle it, as Sanders is slender for a center, especially one hoping to measure up against Memphis’ gruff post players.

Much like the Bucks’ game against Cleveland, the talent disparity between the two benches could mean the difference between staying undefeated and picking of their first loss. Milwaukee’s bounty of big men — Sanders, Ekpe Udoh, Joel Przybilla, and now-healthy rookie John Henson — allows for a deeper rotation. Add Doron Lamb and Mike Dunleavy, and Scott Skiles has six non-starters to utilize.  Memphis has four non-starters, and though reserve small forward Quincy Pondexter scored 14 points against Utah, but three other minute-soppers combined for just 12 points.  Note: Beno Udrih won’t be active for the game (see below).

Tags: Ersan Ilyasova Marc Gasol Milwaukee Bucks Popular Samuel Dalembert Zach Randolph