|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|November 24th, 2008|
|Luke Ridnour||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Charlie Bell||SG||Mickael Pietrus|
|Richard Jefferson||SF||Hedo Turkoglu|
|Luc R. Mbah a Moute||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Andrew Bogut||C||Dwight Howard|
What we have here, folks, is a classic trap game. The Orlando Magic's five-game winning streak ended Saturday night when the Houston Rockets amped-up their defense in the second half. The Milwaukee Bucks enter tonight's game just a shade below .500 despite having played most of the season without Michael Redd, their leading scorer and franchise player. Scott Skiles, the former Magic point guard who still owns the team record for total assists and assists per game, has certainly made an imprint on the team. Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute, a second-round draft pick known for his defense, rebounding, and high basketball I.Q., has already supplanted Charlie Villanueva, best known for his ability to score in bunches, in the starting lineup. Additionally, the Bucks employ Austin Croshere. That much speaks for itself.
That's really just a long way of saying the Bucks are probably a lot better than their record indicates, and the Magic should take them seriously. Orlando should win easily if its defense is up to par. As with most Skiles-coached teams, the Bucks struggle offensively. Their offensive efficiency of 102.2 is 26th in the league, and their turnover rate of 17.9 is 28th. But, as that link indicates, they are one of the league's top rebounding teams. Dwight Howard will certainly be tested tonight.
Burning question: if Hedo Turkoglu once again misses the game with the flu, who should start in his place? The Magic elected to go with Keith Bogans against the Rockets, shifting Mickael Pietrus to small forward in the process. Neither played well, and Bogans is probably best suited to be a reserve UPDATE plus, he's out for 4-to-6 weeks due to a fractured thumb sustained against the Rockets, so he isn't an option. The Magic could afford to start J.J. Redick, as Charlie Bell is not much of an offensive threat. By the same token, they could also start Courtney Lee to see how well he plays with the rest of the starting unit that's under contract after this season. Decisions, decisions.