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Wizards at Bucks Pregame: Surviving a Back-to-Back

nykwiz2

Washington (35-27)
at Milwaukee (32-29)

Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
March 7, 2015 at 8:30 PM
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM


Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]BUCKS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]35-27[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]32-29[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.6[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]97.8[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.0[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]96.6[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won 1[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost 4[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won vs. Heat 99-97[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost at Warriors 102-93[/ezcol_1third_end]


Last time they met was..

November 22, 2014 @ Bradley Center, Milwaukee – Wizards 111, Bucks 100
Game Notebook 12, Wizards at Bucks: Wiz survive a hangover in Milwaukee


What to Watch: Again, the Eastern Conference Standings. This is a big week for the Wizards. With games against the Bulls and Bucks, this week could have a big impact on where the Wizards final seeding falls.

The Bucks are virtually even with the Wizards, but have gone about their business in a completely different way. All Wizards fans are well aware of the Wizards performance differentials between the first half of the season compared to second half, or between playing winning teams compared to losing teams. But the Bucks? The Bucks have been one incredibly consistently average team all season. Look at the Bucks record by month:

  • November: 9-7
  • December: 7-8
  • January: 8-6
  • February: 7-7
  • March: 0-2

But the Bucks are just 2-6 since the All-Star break, as they try to adjust to life without their best player, Brandon Knight, after trading him in a complex deal that amounted to replacing him with last year’s rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. Jason Kidd has done a great job getting the most out of a group of raw youngsters (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jon Henson) and random veterans you’ve heard of elsewhere (OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, Jerryd Bayless). His challenge now will be to fit another raw youngster, MCW, into their thus far successful system.

At first glance, the numbers don’t look good: MCW is scoring just 10.3 points and dishing 5.0 assists, both far off his career averages, coupled with 2.7 turnovers in his first 3 games. However, he’s shooting 57%, WAY above his 39% career average, and has yet to attempt a 3. So it’s probably too early to tell.

This recent roster overhaul makes the Bucks ripe for the taking. The Wizards must take advantage to keep from slipping further down the playoff standings.

Key matchup: Wizards vs. Turnovers. This has been a match-up the Wizards have been losing badly in recent games, either in quantity (26 vs. Golden State), or in quality (choose your favorite crucial turnover at a critical time). The Bucks thrive on turnovers. MCW is at his best in the open floor. So is OJ Mayo. So is Giannis. If the Wizards keep the turnovers down, and force Milwaukee to play half court offense, they’ll have a great chance to win this game.

X-factor: OJ Mayo.

  • In Wins: 13.6 points, 45% FG, 42% 3-FG
  • In Losses: 9.7 points, 38% FG, 26% 3-FG

Unfortunately, we know streaky 3 point shooters love to be switched to “on fire” mode against the Wizards. If Mayo gets added to the list, so will another L in the loss column.

Fun factor: The Greek Freak! Remember while you watch this game that this kid is only 20 years old. He’ll play some point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. He’ll lead the break, he’ll run the wing, he’ll knock down jumpers, and he’ll post up. He’ll get steals on the perimeter and swat shots above the rim. He’ll make some incredible passes and some awe inspiring turnovers. At his best he’s captivating, and at his worst, he’s still captivating. Oh, and he was drafted 15th in the 2013 NBA draft. Otto Porter was drafted 3rd…maybe this should be another drinking game…

Prediction: Giannis has 2 crazy highlights that make Wizards fans spew “what ifs”, but the Wizards win.

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