Once again the Wizards will understandably be without the services of Nene and Trevor Booker tonight against Milwaukee; the timing of their unavailability due to plantar fasciitis with the consideration of lottery balls in mind while Kentucky’s Anthony Davis squares off against Kansas’ Thomas Robinson in tonight’s men’s NCAA basketball championship game could not be more impeccable. Otherwise, the Wizards are playing for pride and the Bucks are playing for the playoffs (they are 2.5 games behind the Knicks for the eighth playoff spot in the East). For tonight’s 3-on-3 we have Jeremy Schmidt from the ESPN TrueHoop Milwaukee Bucks blog, Bucksketball, Michael Sykes from the hoops blog, What’s Left on The Floor, along with yours truly, TAI’s Kyle Weidie. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Since Monta Ellis arrived in Milwaukee, the Bucks are 5-4 and averaging 105.2 points per game; before he arrived the Bucks were 19-24 and averaging 97 points per game. The Wizards, on the other end, have struggled to score as of late, especially without Nene in the lineup (they are likely to be without him again on Monday night). WIth guards like John Wall and Jordan Crawford perfectly willing, yet skillfully unable, to duel with the likes of Brandon Jennings and Ellis, how quickly could this game get out of hand for Washington?
SCHMIDT: Jennings and Ellis mean a lot less to the Bucks offense working well than guys like Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy, Beno Udrih and Drew Gooden. Jennings and Ellis take a lot of shots and occasionally score a lot of points, but the offense works best when those other guys are leading the team and moving the ball. Ellis has cracked 20 points once since the trade. But Milwaukee has been putting the league’s bottom feeders out pretty quick lately, and they could do the same to the Wizards.
SYKES: The game could be out of Washington’s reach by the end of the first half. Ellis and Jennings are both guards who play their best when hot. If the Wizards’ backcourt tandem of Wall and Crawford allow this to happen, the game will almost certainly slip through the cracks. The Bucks are deadly in the first half, averaging 51.1 first half points throughout the season and 59.9 in their last three games according to Teamrankings.com. The Wizards must play defense without gambling to prevent open looks for Ellis and Jennings.