Feb 11, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy (17) looks to pass against Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor (50) at the Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks Game Previews: Avoiding Capital Offenses

The keys to beating the Wizards are relatively simple.  That doesn’t mean that a win is guaranteed, or even likely, but that the Wizards are un-dynamic enough to be predictable in the ways in which they can win.

1) Don’t play sluggishly.

For the Bucks, this game will be the fourth they have played in five nights. The locales for those games? Oakland, Sacramento, Milwaukee, and Washington DC.  It may be reasonable that the Bucks play this game with heavy legs, but if they do, the positive results from their West Coast weekend will be spoiled.

2) Don’t get bullied.

The Wizards have taken on a lot of salary in the past season or so, and much of it was tied into putting together a veteran, non-knucklehead frontcourt duo (Nene and Emeka Okafor) that will most likely never win a playoff series together.  But they are tough, and more importantly, they are strong.  Up front, the Bucks utilize a corps of slender defenders — Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders — and it’s important for Milwaukee’s success that those three don’t get pushed around.

3) Make a passable attempt at staying in front of John Wall on defense.

So last night, I made a mistake.

In the second quarter, Mike James crossed up Monta Ellis with a nasty dribble. But Monta recovered extremely quickly, got in front of James, and forced James to pass the ball off — essentially resetting the offense.

I bit on the mirage of Bucks’ perimeter defense and commented.

For the rest of the half, James had unfettered access to the painted area.  The Bucks weren’t even trying.  He got past Jennings. He got past Ellis.  The Mavs outscored the Bucks 27-10 to close out the half. And when I checked my mentions, I found a response to my earlier tweet.

Touché, Mr. Lee.  Lee is Mike James’ agent.

For the Bucks to win tonight, they need to defend John Wall better than they did Mike James.  And Wall is better than James.  Are you okay with that statement, Mr. Lee?

Projected Lineups

Wizards: John Wall, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Mike Dunleavy, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders

Injuries:

Luc Mbah a Moute missed Milwaukee’s game last night due to a turf toe injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
Bradley Beal missed Washington’s game last night with a sprained ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.
Trevor Ariza hurt his knee yesterday and missed the second half.  He said he would “probably not” be playing against the Bucks.

Some numbers

The glaring difference between the two teams is that the Bucks are passable on offense, while the Wizards are, um, the worst.

Offense Four Factors Defense Four Factors
Rk Team ORtg DRtg Pace eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA eFG% TOV% DRB% FT/FGA
18 Milwaukee Bucks 103.7 104.6 94.7 .478 12.9 27.3 .184 .486 14.5 70.8 .205
23 Washington Wizards 98.5 102.1 92.1 .470 14.7 24.3 .183 .478 13.6 74.6 .204
League Average 105.6 105.6 92.0 .495 13.7 26.6 .204 .495 13.7 73.4 .204
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/13/2013.

But the splits show that the worst of the Wizards’ offense may be behind them. Their least efficient lineups from this season feature the recently traded Jordan Crawford. Their point production has fared better with players like Martell Webster, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, and recently healed John Wall taking up more minutes on the perimeter.

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Tags: Brandon Jennings John Wall Milwaukee Bucks Washington Wizards

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