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Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Regular Season Game 58 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Wizards (21-36) vs. Bucks (30-29)
8 p.m.
Bradley Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan


December 2: Wizards 104, Bucks 102
December 23: Wizards 109, Bucks 97

Notable Bucks numbers this season

12th in expected winning percentage (.533)
15th in pace (92.7 possessions per game)
23rd in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (104.4 points/100 possessions)
6th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (103.4 points allowed/100 possessions)

Pre-game links

Brew Hoop, SB Nation's Bucks Blog
Michael Lee talks about the Wizards' grueling March schedule
Truth About It talks about Randy Foye
Brew Hoop's game preview
Bucksketball's game preview
GameDay Milwaukee

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Bucks
Randy Foye PG Brandon Jennings
Mike Miller SG Carlos Delfino
Al Thornton SF John Salmons
Andray Blatche PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
JaVale McGee C

Andrew Bogut

Before we start, just a heads-up: obviously tonight's a pretty big night for DC-area sports, with the Maryland-Duke game and the Caps playing as we speak after a big trade deadline. You can certainly go on a tangent and discuss those things if you want, but for more elaborate thoughts on those games, I recommend going to Japers Rink, our fantastic Capitals blog, and Testudo Times, our emerging Maryland blog. If you're here, I'm assuming you're here to talk Wizards first. Let's keep that in mind.

As for tonight's game, this will be a really interesting test. It's a huge test for JaVale McGee, as he's going up against Andrew Bogut, possibly the most underrated center in the league. When we had Brendan Haywood, we were normally able to keep Bogut in check, but McGee is a far different animal. Considering how much McGee has struggled against guys like Brook Lopez and Marc Gasol, Bogut could potentially explode tonight. He's a crafty scorer, with a great face-up game, and he's done a much better job of limiting turnovers. Taking away Bogut, who is the epicenter of Milwaukee's offense, requires great positional defense and discipline. I'm dubious McGee has that right now, but here's hoping he proves me wrong.

It's also an interesting test for Al Thornton. John Salmons has been playing great basketball since he came to Milwaukee, averaging over 20 points a game with a 58% true shooting percentage. I'm guessing Thornton will get the primary defensive assignment on Salmons, and it'll be interesting to see how he responds. Salmons strikes me as an isolation-type of player, so here's hoping Thornton replicates his effort on Carmelo Anthony tonight.

Finally, it's a test for Andray Blatche. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is an excellent defender, even if he doesn't really have the size to handle Blatche down low. I'm also guessing Blatche will be matched up with Bogut a lot, and Bogut is a terrific defender. Milwaukee's team defense is also top notch, as evidenced by their high defensive efficiency ranking. In other words, while Blatche can succeed, this isn't New Jersey. How Blatche responds against the first elite defense the Wizards have played in this stretch (Denver is good, but they're just average on defense) will go a long way in telling us whether he really is the real deal (for lack of a better word).

Milwaukee doesn't blow you away, but they're deep, tough defensively and a pain in the butt to play. They're also one of the hottest teams in the league. This will definitely be a test for the Wiz kids.