NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 60:
Utah Jazz (32-27) at Milwaukee Bucks (29-28)
Let's star our metamorphosis to be road warriors with a win tonight!
The Bucks are fighting for their playoff berth, and so are we. They're holding onto the 8th spot in the East, and we're at 7th in the West right now. This is an important game for both teams. The Bucks play their last game in a two game home stand tonight, and they've won 3 wins in a row, with wins on the road at the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets before taking care of the Toronto Raptors in overtime. They aren't exactly rolling right now over the last 10 games, but they are taking care of business these last week for sure. We were in a nosedive before Friday's drubbing of the Charlotte Bobcats. We had lost three tough games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, and Atlanta Hawks. Those are three playoff teams. And yes, right now the Bucks are a playoff team too.
So we can expect tonight to be a little harder than the Bobcats; especially, because they'll have their outstanding defensive player Larry Sanders back. We beat them last month (100-86 back on February 6th) but that was a) at home, and b) against a very different team. We're on the road this time, and this is a Milwaukee team that just traded Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb (and cash) for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ishmael Smith. Milwaukee got bigger, and added a great outside threat (and underrated defender). They needed that because they are 28th in DRB% in the NBA, and 25th in eFG% on offense. Adding bigs who get to the line will help there. Reddick should help them with their 20th ranked three point making. The big deal with Sanders being back (9 ppg, 9 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 52.2 fg%) is that their interior defense is going to be much better.
Which could be important because our younger guys are okay at scoring against bad defensive teams. Even our starters have trouble scoring against good teams. Milwaukee no longer has Scott Skiles in charge, but they are 10th best in DEF RTG. They're good. And we're going to be without Al Jefferson, Mo Williams, and Jamaal Tinsley. Tyrone Corbin will elect to start Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap (banged up but should play) up front. Should be fun. Of course, everyone will be excited to see what Enes Kanter can do.
I do think that if we are to win tonight, it will be because we're sharing the ball and playing team ball. We know Milwaukee will try to do that, despite starting Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Both of those guys are speed, shoot first / ask questions later types. And both of them are shooting poorly (40.3 fg% for Ellis, 39.9 fg% for Jennings). Hope they keep shooting, but pray they don't get hot.