Team Records: Milwaukee (13-54) at Portland (43-24)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -12
Refs: Bill Kennedy, Tre Maddox, JT Orr
The Skinny: The good news about Sunday’s loss is that the next game is against one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are simply awful and are useful fodder for any team that wants to feel good about themselves. Frankly the Bucks don’t want to win, as with the Sixers looking like they may lose out, the Bucks want to retain that 2 game “lead” for the worst record as they look to get as many ping pong balls as possible in May’s Draft Lottery.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers disposed of a Bucks team that refused to go away until late in the 4th, never trailing in the second half. Aldridge had 21 and Lillard 19 to lead Portland.
Projected Bucks Lineup:
PF: John Henson (North Carolina, 2nd Season) – 11.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 APG
SF: Khris Middleton (Texas A&M, 2nd season) – 11.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.1 APG
C: Zaza Pachulia (Republic of Georgia, 11th Season) – 6.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.3 APG
SG: Brandon Knight (Kentucky, 3rd season) – 17.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.9 APG
PG: Nate Wolters (South Dakota St., Rookie) – 7.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.2 APG
Player to Watch: Nate Wolters (pictured at right) – Look, it doesn’t matter that South Dakota State is in a really bad league, Nate Wolters, much like many of other smaller school kids, can play. He was absolutely the reason South Dakota State made the NCAA tournament two years in a row, losing both times to higher-seeded foes. In the NBA Wolters has carved out a role as a lethal shooter who can score points in bunches. His shooting has improved dramatically over the course of the season as he has adjusted to playing at this level. He may never be a star but he be at least a solid NBA rotation player for years to come.
Did You Know?: The Bucks are the second youngest team in the NBA, only barely older than the Sixers.
Song of the Day: ”One Shining Moment (2013 Edition)” by Luther Vandross. In honor of the start of the NCAA tournament with the first two of the “First Four” games Tuesday night. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – PF LaMarcus Aldridge (Back), PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee).
Milwaukee: Out- SF Carlos Delfino (Foot), C Larry Sanders (Orbital Bone)
Re-Evaluating Milwaukee: Tanking is Winning?
In the NBA if you aren’t going to be really good, it is best to be really really really really bad in order to land a few top picks and hopefully climb back towards the top sooner rather than later. The problem with this strategy is that it assumes that the team tanking has any clue what they are doing. For every OKC that rebuilds through tanking there is a Charlotte, which just stays mired at the bottom for years. Even hitting big on one pick, like the Wolves did with Love (albeit via draft night trade) isn’t enough to get you out of that lottery mess. The Bucks have the cap room and the picks that a bad team needs to turn it around quickly but will they? That is the essential question this, and every other really bad team, faces.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They knock them out early. The Bucks are 13-54 for a reason and they are used to getting their ass kicked. If the Blazers can take a big lead early they should roll to an easy win.
Milwaukee wins if: They make lots of 3s. The Bucks only hope most nights are to make lots and lots of 3s and they will have to do so Tuesday if they want to secure a surprising win.