Mar 15, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (11) goes for a layup against Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) at the Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks Game Preview: Fixing One's Vices In Miami

Don’t call it a playoff preview.  It’s just a game between two teams who will likely play each other when the playoffs begin in two weeks.

At the same time, the Bucks can work on a few things.  Luc Mbah a Moute can try his hand at guarding LeBron James.  With Ekpe Udoh out, the Bucks can use the empty spot in their rotation to insert either Gustavo Ayon, who took steps closer to fitting into the Bucks’ schemes against Toronto, or John Henson, who had his finest game against Miami back in December.

Another puzzle to work on: matching up defensively with Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.  It makes sense to ‘hide’ Ersan Ilyasova defensively on Haslem, but that leaves Larry Sanders on Bosh — and it takes Sanders away from the paint far too often.

But this is more like a scrimmage than a preview.  Work on skills, test out a few schemes, and ignore the results.

Projected Lineups

Heat: Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders


Ekpe Udoh is out with a sprained right ankle.
Chris Bosh is listed as questionable with a sprained right knee.
Dwyane Wade is listed as questionable with a sprained right ankle/sore right knee.

Even though they are both officially listed as questionable, Bosh is more likely to play than Wade.

Also, don’t do any news searches for Chris Bosh today.  Thanks.

Some numbers

This whole topic will probably be revisited in the near future, but the biggest difference statistically between the Bucks and the Heat is that Miami makes its shots with vastly greater frequency than the Bucks (which is, of course, the most important of the ‘four factors’).  They get to the free throw line more often, too, but other than that the two come out rather evenly.

Offense Four Factors Defense Four Factors
3 Miami Heat* 7.84 -0.68 7.16 112.5 104.0 90.5 .551 13.5 22.2 .224 .486 14.9 72.5 .203
18 Milwaukee Bucks* -1.21 -0.42 -1.64 104.0 105.3 94.6 .477 12.7 28.2 .177 .492 14.5 71.4 .204
League Average 0.00 0.00 0.00 105.9 105.9 91.9 .496 13.7 26.6 .204 .496 13.7 73.4 .204
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2013.

Here’s a stat that bears repeating as the playoffs approach: the Bucks’ defensive efficiency this season is higher (105.3) than it was a season ago (105.2), while their offensive efficiency has dropped from 105.5 to 104.0 (as measured by Basketball Reference).

One last number:  Monta Ellis has made 39.7% of his three-point attempts in his last dozen games.  That’s a massive improvement over the 19.6% he shot from long range in November or the 18.2% mark he put up in February.

A tweet or two

Judging from the evolution of his timeline, the election of Bernard King to the Basketball Hall of Fame led to Brandon Jennings watching clips of King on YouTube which led him watching other 1980s NBA clips which, in turn, led him to viewing and tweeting Larry Bird’s 60-point game.  I see you, Brandon.

But that brought a response tweet of pure gold, and now I get to have fun at the expense of somewhere clearly too young to watch Bird play live. I’m mean like that.

Brandon is a fine three-point shooter, but no.  Just no.  NO. Not even close.

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Tags: Lebron James Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks

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