To all who attend StR Night: The Peachquel, have fun and be safe. (There will be an on-court photo op after the game.) (Aykis Note - Because of the flu, Nicholson is out tonight, and thus the X-Over is cancelled. See my original post for details. So its back to StR Night with less Aykis)
(HighTops is out of service, so you're stuck with me.)
Milwaukee comes in generally hot, though a bad loss to the Clippers Wednesday ended the team's win streak at six. The team's 12-2 since acquiring John Salmons at the trade deadline, with the league's No. 2 defense on the season. The Bucks are No. 8 in shooting defense, No. 3 in opponent turnover rate and No. 2 in defensive rebounding. They foul a ton (what up, Skiles!) at all positions. Opponents average seven more FTAs than Milwaukee per game, which indicates both the team's hacking tendencies and the distinct inability of any Bucks but Salmons to get to the line regularly -- Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings each average 3.5 FTAs per game. By comparison, Tyreke Evans averages 6.6 FTAs a game, Carl Landry's at 5.2 and even Jason Thompson, he of the 31 minutes a game, averages 3.7.
The Bucks defend best at small forward, where Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Carlos Delfino, Charlie Bell and Salmons split time. Bell's an ace defender, if undersized, and we know Salmons (good in isolation, typically misguided off-ball). Mbah a Moute's the gem, a long and strong athlete with great instincts and unassailable energy. He disrupts the action and generally removes comfort. Thankfully, Sacramento's small forwards don't play with much comfort.
On offense for the Bucks, it's a steady diet of Bogut, Jennings and Salmons. Bogut is a skilled pivot who does most of his work inside of 10 feet -- but not necessarily at the rim. He attempts six shots a game between five and 10 feet, making just 42 percent of them. He's obviously much more efficient at the rim, shooting 66 percent on just under six shots a game.
Among guards who have played at least 35 games this season, Jennings has the second worst field goal percentage at the rim (41 percent). He's also pretty inefficient from 10-23 feet. But he shoots threes well (39 percent), far better than does our own star point guard.
You know Salmons. He switches hands on every lay-up. He cocks his head on jumpers. He does not tend his beard.
THE KEY BATTLE
Brandon Jennings vs. Tyreke Evans. I don't think I need to explain this much.
Grant Napear will begin talking about Reke's first ever potential quadruple-double once Evans records his second steal.
It's a 7 PM PT start for the Kings and Bucks. Remember:
StR's own Aykis16 will be the special guest on the XO Communications Crossover, the in-arena pre-game talk with Scott Moak. So get there early . Also, have fun. And be safe.