The Milwaukee Bucks (9-9, 8th in Eastern Conference) play the Nets (11-7, 5th) in their first-ever visit to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center. Brooklyn has lost three straight games while playing without center Brook Lopez and bumping into top teams like Miami and Oklahoma City. Milwaukee is coming off a 108-93 thumping of Charlotte that was much worse than the final score indicated.
Without Lopez, the Nets have turned to Wizards’ castaway Andray Blatche, who has demonstrated nice touch around the rim in a starting role.
Andray Blatche is averaging 18.8 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 53.7% in his four games as a starter this season
— Nets PR Dept. (@Nets_PR) December 8, 2012
Perhaps more impressive: the Nets are have a better defensive efficiency with him on the court than off. They yield 100.9 points per 100 possessions with Blatche playing, and 105.2 when he’s on the bench. Starters Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders should be able to slow Blatche and Kris Humphries, provided that they stay out of foul trouble as they did versus the Bobcats.
The game won’t be shown on local television, so many Bucks fans won’t get the chance to see the team as the take to the herringbone hardcourt of the Barclays Center for the first time. The radio broadcast starts on 620 WTMJ locally (and nationally on NBA Audio League Pass) at 5 PM CT.
Oddly, the Nets have the first two players to have been fined by the league for flopping: Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. Fines are only given out to repeat offenders after a warning is issued for the first offense. The second offense merits a $5000 fine.
The Bucks are Nets are a contrast in pace. Milwaukee is the fifth-fastest team while the Nets are the second-slowest. Brooklyn is also one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the league, so the Bucks will have to put a premium on hitting the defensive glass.
Last season, Ersan Ilyasova hung a jaw-dropping 29 points and 25 rebounds on the Nets in New Jersey. He won’t get anything near that in this game, but at the very least, he is finding his comfort zone in the Bucks rotation now that he is coming off the bench. His 21 points and 12 rebounds against the Bobcats were both season highs, and he pulled off the feat in just 19 minutes of play.
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