After three increasingly-impressive wins in a row at home, the Washington Wizards get to test themselves on the road as they face the Milwaukee Bucks. The Wizards gave up 101 points to the Bucks in their last meeting and it'll be interesting to see how their streaking defense holds up against a tricky team with some creative ball handlers. The Wizards' bigs weren't able to cut off Monta Ellis' and Brandon Jennings' drives during their last meeting, but with the agile Nene available this time, the results could be different.
Where and when? Tip off is at 8 p.m. in Milwaukee.
Who's out? The Wizards are still missing Cartier Martin, while the Bucks should have all hands on deck.
Are they good? Not really. The Bucks are a .500 team that can overwhelm teams vulnerable to quick guards. Washington, for the most part, doesn't have that weakness.
Why should I care? Because the Wizards are playing excellent basketball and that's fun to watch.
What are they good at? Dribble penetration and defense. As Zach Lowe explained in a must-read article for Grantland:
(Brandon) Jennings has recorded a ho-hum 5.8 drives per game, and the Bucks have scored just 1.06 points per possession on trips when Jennings does drive - one of the lowest numbers in the sample. Monta Ellis is both more prolific (about 8.0 drives per game) and a more efficient engine of team scoring (1.30 points per possession) when he does drive.
The Bucks also continue to play the type of defense that Scott Skiles' teams are known for even without Skiles himself around, allowing the ninth-fewest points in the NBA per one hundred possessions this season. While Ellis is a poor defensive player, the rest of the team is somewhere between decent and good.
What are they bad at? Making shots and securing defensive rebounds. As you might expect of a team that runs most of its offense through Jennings and Ellis, Milwaukee takes a quantity over quality approach to offense, jacking up jumper after jumper and attempting to make up the difference on the offensive glass. The results have been underwhelming. Milwaukee is only 22nd in the NBA in offensive rating and 26th in field goal percentage, per NBA.com/stats. The Bucks have also struggled on the defensive glass this year, ranking next to last in the league in defensive rebounding percentage.
Who should I keep an eye on? Writing for ESPN Insider, Joe Kaiser recently listed both Tobias Harris and John Henson as two young players who could be traded soon. Washington could use another big man to come off the bench and Harris can score a bit, so it's not inconceivable that the Wizards would at least be interested in bringing either or both in. Of the two, Henson is a much better prospect, although the asking price for him would be much higher than it would for Harris.
Where can I learn more about the Bucks? Check out the fine folks over at Brew Hoop.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll!