DC Council Opening Statements: Wizards vs Bucks, Game 4
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s fourth game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks in D.C. are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Jeremy Schmidt (@bucksketball), who writes about the Bucks for the TrueHoop blog Bucksketball.
Wizards Starters (0-3):
Tentatively, perhaps likely: A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, & Emeka Okafor
Bucks Starters (1-2):
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, & Samuel Dalembert
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Bucks over the past week?)
Jeremy Schmidt: It’s possible the Bucks season peaked after two games. I’m only half kidding. Milwaukee blew out Boston on the road and then covered up a mediocre game against the Cavaliers with a buzzer-beater in their home opener. It doesn’t get much more satisfying than that for fans. Unfortunately, the times did not stay so good. Memphis came into the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday and throttled the up-tempo Bucks offense. Milwaukee shot 38 percent, its prize guards combined to make just 11 of 38 shots and everyone pretty much feels like the special is already gone from this season. But still, Milwaukee is 2-1 and has a good opportunity to make some headway with a pretty soft early season schedule.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
Jeremy Schmidt: Probably Larry Sanders. Us basketball types in Milwaukee did everything but pack Larry’s bags for him this summer. We were certain he’d be the last man in the deep Milwaukee big man rotation and that this would probably be his last year as a Buck. But he grabbed boards like he was Kevin Love in the preseason, and Coach Scott Skiles says he impacted every workout, scrimmage, practice and everything else since the start of September. He’s turned in three games full of dunks, blocked shots and rebounds. It’s fun to watch a guy put his athleticism to good use. Sanders used to drift around the perimeter too much, but now he’s dunking every chance he gets and generally has found that hanging out around the rim is way more productive for him.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
Jeremy Schmidt: Who will take more questionable jumpers—specifically ones from 16-to-23 feet: Monta Ellis or Jordan Crawford? At least the Wizards have the decency to only play Crawford 23 minutes per game. Both are shooting sub-40 percent, but Ellis has taken 23 percent of the Bucks total shots, while Crawford has taken 13 percent of all Wizards attempts. Ellis’ hasn’t been inconsistent, as you would suspect a jump-shooter would be, he’s just been bad. But when he gets back to being inconsistent, he’ll likely be an illustration of the Bucks this season. They’re a team tough to predict, largely because we don’t know when Jennings and Ellis will get hot. When those guys are on, they can beat anyone. When they’re off, anyone can beat them. Such is the life of relying on mid-range jump shooters.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: The game will be fun to watch because of all the intriguing matchups. Aside from starting 5, Samuel Dalembert, the Bucks might be ill-equipped to handle Kevin Seraphin in the post. That said, Big Kev is all the Wizards really have in the post on offense, and Milwaukee likely watched lots and lots of film of how the Celtics guarded him—Boston didn’t double-team Seraphin so much because he’s a great post scorer, although that had something to do with it, but it was more because they discovered that Seraphin is not the best passer against pressure D. Otherwise, the Wizards are certainly equipped to handle Milwaukee’s bigs—Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh—with their own undersized crew—Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, and Chris Singleton. Emeka Okafor will likely play, too, FWIW. The Wiz Kids just need to make sure they can protect the paint while not getting stretched by guys like Ilyasova, who averaged about 15 and 10 in 30 minutes per game over four contests against the Wizard last season.
The Bucks are favored by 3 points and the over/under is 190.5 points (via USA Today).
Jeremy Schmidt: Bucks win, 107-102
@Truth_About_It: I’m not confident that A.J. Price and Bradley Beal, or any other Wizards guard for that matter, will have the first clue about what to do with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The new duo of running and gunning guards hasn’t exactly worked out so far this season—in 89 total minute together they are minus-12 in the plus/minus department. But, they’ve gone against some tough guards: Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, and even the defensive Tony Allen for the Grizzlies. Against the Wizards, they’ll be licking their chops, and could easily combine for 50 points, if not more. The Bucks play at the fastest pace in the NBA, the Wizards are 22nd fastest, and, for a young team like Washington, that’s more speed than they know what to do with sans John Wall. Milwaukee 103, Washington 95
Question posed by TAI to the Twitterverse:
How encouraged were you by Chris Singleton’s performance vs. Boston—rate on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most encouraged? And can he keep it up?
@truth_about_it 6…only because pretty unsure he can’t keep it up. But would LOVE to be wrong.
— Trevor Jackson (@tjackson85) November 8, 2012
— skeeta357 (@skeeta357) November 8, 2012
@truth_about_it Based on the lack of run he got last game.10. Does things that dont show up in stats, so nice to see him get those too.
— Matthew Selzer (@selzer1) November 8, 2012
@truth_about_it Nine, and let’s hope so.
— Jake Whitacre (@jakewhitacre) November 8, 2012
@truth_about_it 6. I’m more excited about Seraphin tho. He looks improved.
— Nick Of Time?(@Sonicsdontexist) November 8, 2012