Dallas Mavericks (21-15) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (14-23).
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Broadcasts: TV – FS Wisconsin. Radio – AM-620, ESPN 103.3
Projected Mavericks Starters
G Deron Williams, 6-3, Illinois
G Wesley Mathews, 6-5, Marquette
F Chandler Parsons, 6-10, Florida
F Dirk Nowitzki, 7-0, Germany
C Zaza Pachulia, 6-11, Republic of Georgia
What We Need To Know About The Mavericks
The biggest difference maker for the Mavs this season has been former Buck Pachulia, who has 18 double-doubles already this season and has provided solid starts for Dallas. Along with Pachulia, the Mavs have three players with Wisconsin ties, which include former Buck Charlie Villanueva, former UW star Devin Harris, who is averaging 7.5 points off the bench, and former Marquette star Wesley Matthews, who is averaging 13 points a game. What they bring that they didn’t have in their last matchup against the Bucks last week is that Williams and Parsons will be starting. In his time playing, Williams has had a resurgence after being nowhere to be seen in Brooklyn and Parsons gives Dallas another three-point threat along with Williams, Matthews and Nowitzki. This is the Mavericks’ most offensive-minded lineup in years and their dangerous to any opposing team that doesn’t play consistent defense.
Projected Bucks Starters
G Michael Carter-Williams, 6-6, Syracuse
G Khris Middleton, 6-8, Texas A&M
F Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6-11, Greece
F Jabari Parker, 6-8, Duke
C Greg Monroe, 6-11, Georgetown
Bucks’ Keys To Victory
Defense, defense, defense has been the Bucks’ biggest problem this season and if they do not properly use their size, they will get torched by the Mavs. In their meeting last week in Dallas, they almost came back to win, but the three point shooting of Matthews silenced it late in the fourth quarter. Much like their victories against great teams at home like Cleveland and Golden State, the Bucks need to embrace their role as the underdogs and being at home in front of a hot crowd who wants to see the team of the future. Jerryd Bayless has a sprained left ankle and will not play so they will need long distance shooting form their starters like Middleton, Parker, and especially off the bench from Rashad Vaughn, O.J. Mayo and Tyler Ennis if interim coach Joe Prunty decides to give them extended playing time. Because I think the Bucks will take advantage of being at home, the game will be close but they must not let Dallas go on an extended scoring run.
For country music fans out there, don’t forget that, win or lose, Rodney Atkins will be performing a free concert at the Bradley Center following the game.