Gametime: 8:30 p.m.
All right, I have to make this one quick because I have a final in two hours. So here goes.
We saw the Bucks earlier this season, when they were playing much better. The Bobcats won 102-98, despite shooting a good bit worse from the field and being beaten in many categories. The difference maker was getting to the line. Charlotte had 30 FTA to Milwaukee's 11. Maybe that's the home-court advantage, but Milwaukee ranks poorly in how many free throws opponents get in proportion to their field goal attempts. In essence, this indicates they foul a lot. They also force a lot of turnovers, which drives their fast pace. This is well within the Bobcats' wheelhouse, who run an uptempo offense of their own.
Ramon Sessions was a big factor off the bench, especially in drawing fouls, making all of his 10 FTA. Despite getting outscored in bench points, the Bobcats' starters proved more effective than Milwaukee's, especially in the frontcourt. Ersan Ilyasova has really struggled this year and Monta Ellis had to shoulder the brunt of their scoring with Brandon Jennings not playing well. With Kemba Walker and Byron Mullens scoring well, the Bobcats divided the scoring pretty well.
This time around, things aren't too much different except that Milwaukee's fallen back to Earth after their hot start. Also, Gerald Henderson wasn't available for the Bobcats last time, but will be playing tonight. Henderson is probably the best defender the Bobcats can put on Ellis and frustrated him last year. The Bucks' player rotations can only be described as a hodgepodge of fluctuation. For young teams, that's all well and good, but Milwaukee has been this same team straddling between being a 6/7/8 seed in the East or barely missing the playoffs for years now, which just personnel movements. And they're settling into that once again this season, excelling in little but perhaps just enough to squeak into the playoffs.
Bucks blog: Brew Hoop