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Nets-Bucks Preview: Third Time’s A Charm?


The Bucks look to get back on the winning track against Andray Blatche and the Nets.

Who’s playing:

The Milwaukee Bucks (11-46) and the Brooklyn Nets (27-29).

What are they playing:

All signs point to basketball.

Where are they playing:

The BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

When are they playing:

7:30p.m. Central Time

Why are they playing:

At this point in the season, no one is really sure. The Nets are in the midst of the Eastern Conference playoff race, while the Bucks are in the thick of a heated race for the top pick in the 2014 draft.

Who’s their best player?

Coming into the season, it was Brook Lopez. However, the big man went down with a broken foot in December that will keep him out for the entire season. With Lopez out, Brooklyn has received contributions from a number of veterans, most notably Joe Johnson, who made his seventh All-Star appearance this season. Johnson is averaging 15.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 54 games.

Who’s our best player?

This is somewhat of a loaded question that may not have a true answer, but Brandon Knight has asserted himself as the de-facto, go-to scorer for the 11-win Bucks. Knight quietly had an excellent month of February, averaging 21.7 points, 6.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three.

What’s the key matchup?

With both teams employing deep rotations, there isn’t one player Milwaukee absolutely has to stop. With that said, if the Bucks can control the paint – that means neutralizing Andrei Kirilenko, Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche – an upset is within reach. Both teams struggle to rebound, and the Nets were outscored in the paint 38-30 in Thursday’s win over the Nuggets.

What happened last time?

The Nets won 104-93 Dec. 27. Milwaukee shot 37.5 percent from the field and Caron Butler had a negative-27 +/- in 17 minutes.

…And the time before that?

The Nets won 90-82 on Dec. 7. Really nothing interesting to recount from this one.

What’s the injury situation?

Larry Sanders (face) and Carlos Delfino (foot) are out for Milwaukee. Kevin Garnett (back) will not play for Brooklyn.

Can I get some Giannis highlights, please?

Of course! Here you go:

Projected starters

Brooklyn

C – Mason Plumlee

PF – Paul Pierce

SF – Joe Johnson

SG – Shaun Livingston

PG – Deron Williams

Milwaukee

C – Zaza Pachulia

PF – Ersan Ilyasova

SF – Khris Middleton

SG – Nate Wolters

PG – Brandon Knight 

Rankings

Brooklyn

Scoring: 22nd (97.3)

Scoring defense: 11th (99.7)

Rebounds: 29th (38.9)

Assists: 23rd (20.7)

Milwaukee

Scoring: 29th (93.3)

Scoring defense: 24th(102.0)

Rebounds: 25th (41.3)

Assists: 18th (21.1) 

Leaders

Scoring: Johnson (15.0), Knight (17.1)

Rebounding: Garnett (6.7), Henson (7.8)

Assists: Williams (6.5), Knight (5.0)

Blocks: Plumlee (0.8), Henson (2.1)

PER: Blatche (19.9), Henson (18.1)

Dec. 7 highlights

Dec. 27 highlights

Tags: Bucks Nets Preview Bucks Preview Milwaukee Bucks