Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 50th game of the season against the Bucks in Milwaukee are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Jeremy Schmidt (@Bucksketball), who contributes to the ESPN True Hoop Blog Bucksketball.
Wizards Starters (14-35):
John Wall, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor
Bucks Starters (25-24):
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Samuel Dalembert
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Bucks over the past week?)
@Bucksketball: It’s been a bummer of a week in Milwaukee. Losses to the Nuggets, Jazz and Pistons have been bad, but the loss of Larry Sanders to a bruised back in Denver was truly depressing. While Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis get credit for making the Bucks watchable, it’s Sanders electric defense and dedication to front of the rim on offense that have kept Bucks fans engaged this season. Milwaukee’s season was once saved by Scott Skiles and the team’s mutual departure, but the Bucks have now fallen to 9-8 since the amicable breakup, just one game better than they were before (16-16 with Skiles).
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@Bucksketball: Probably Mike Dunleavy. He’s not going to get many Sixth Man of the Year votes coming out of the eighth place team in a weak Eastern Conference, but he’s the engine behind a pretty good Bucks bench. He’s been a Novak-Level 3-point shooter, and he’s instrumental in Milwaukee’s occasionally successful ball-movement schemes. I shudder to think where the Bucks offense (already ranked 23 in the league) would be without 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.)
@Bucksketball: The rebound battle will be key. Milwaukee’s struggled of late to grab opponent misses and the Wizards haven’t been great this season on the offensive glass. Something will have to give. Washington’s rejuvenated front court with Nene and Okafor could give the Bucks some problems, especially if Sanders is out again.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: This is clearly a much different Wizards team than the one which lost to Milwaukee by 10 points in the fourth game of the season. That night, Washington’s offense couldn’t get good shots and they couldn’t make them — 43.6% from the field, 34-for-78. Brandon Jennings didn’t wow (12 points, six turnovers), and Monta Ellis did his thing (22 points, six turnovers), but Milwaukee’s offense was able to find just enough (13 points off the bench from each Mike Dunleavy and the now-injured Larry Sanders) to win 101-91. Now that that the Wizards are fueled by John Wall and Nene, look for them to break 100 points, as the shooting and turnovers from Jennings and Ellis will likely provide the Wizards with additional possessions.
The Bucks are favored by 4.5 points over the Wizards. The over/under is 199.5 points (via USA Today).
@Truth_About_It: The Wizards will take the momentum built at home and secure their fourth win on the road for the season, the first against an Eastern Conference opponent, 106-95. Washington hasn’t won in Milwaukee since December 23, 2009 when Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison combined for 66 points, Randy Foye added 12 starting at the 2, and Earl Boykins chipped in 15 off the bench (12 in the fourth quarter to propel the Wizards to a 109-97 victory).