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Charlotte Bobcats at Milwaukee Bucks preview -- Game 17

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The Big Picture: When the Milwaukee Bucks are clicking, they can beat anyone. It's a tribute to Scott Skiles that Andrew Bogut has become an all-around beast, Carlos Delfino has returned to the NBA better than ever, and Ersan Ilyasova even has relevance, all under Skiles's watch.

Unfortunately for them, they've struggled this year, starting out 5-10. Bogut missed yesterday's game, and Delfino is out indefinitely. They've still got scoring punch with Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Corey Maggette, and Drew Gooden, but those last two guys have never shown any interest in defense, which makes one wonder why the Bucks bothered signing them both to multi-year deals in the first place.

This is another winnable game, especially with those two key players out, and the opponent reeling from a five-game losing streak.

Musical Interlude: B.O.B. ft. Rivers Cuomo -- "Magic"


Key to Victory: Maggette is going to get to the foul line. He always has and always will get foul calls that no other human of his ability can get. It'll be up to Gerald Wallace to contain him, but the Cats might consider splitting up coverage between Crash, Stephen Jackson, and Tyrus Thomas.

If Bogut is out again, Milwaukee could play Jon Brockman or Larry Sanders big minutes in the post. Neither is much to write home about on offense, but Brockman is a beast on the boards and Sanders is a burgeoning defensive force. Either way, the Cats would be well-served to challenge those two young, less-established guys first, forcing them to make plays. If Bogut plays, or that method doesn't prove fruitful, their next step is to attack Maggette and Gooden, hoping that neither guy is motivated to play enough D to bother our wings.

Detail That May Interest .08% of You: I'm very proud to have sussed out Larry Sanders's NBA potential when he was still at VCU. (Please ignore the incorrect Ben Wallace reference.)