Pre-Game Report: Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks

Milwaukee Bucks (22-26) at New York Knicks (24-25)
7:30 PM EST, March 26, 2012
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Sixers Projected Starting Line-up:

PG: Brandon Jennings
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Carlos Delfino
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Drew Gooden

The Knicks will play a pivotal game tonight versus the Milwaukee Bucks as both teams are battling for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are coming into this game with a 1.5 game lead over the Bucks and it seems like these two teams will be battling out for position for quite some time.

The Knicks, however, will be a little shorthanded tonight as Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire are likely out for the game. With the playoffs approaching rapidly, the Knicks cannot afford these key games.

Frontcourt: The Milwaukee Bucks do not have the most prolific frontcourt in the NBA, as they only have one reliable scorer. Drew Gooden and Carlos Delfino do not usually put up 15+ points a game, and are essentially the glue guys for the Bucks. Gooden has the ability to hit the boards and on certain nights he can control the paint on both ends of the court. With Stoudemire likely sidelined for this game, expect some solid minutes out of Gooden. As for Delfino, he can be a good scorer for the Bucks and can lift them with this three point shooting. This season Delfino has been averaging nine points per game, which means he can give the Bucks some relief throughout the game. The main star in the frontcourt is Ersan Ilyasova, someone who has emerged as one of the Bucks’ best player. Ilyasova has the ability to score in bunches, but he can also punish the Knicks with his incredible rebounding skills.

Backcourt: Before the NBA trade deadline, the Milwaukee Bucks acquired Monta Ellis and formed one of the most explosive backcourts in the league. Ellis has been a 20 point scorer for most of his career and can catch fire at any point of the season. Ellis has been struggling scoring points since joining the Bucks, but with a depleted Knicks team, Ellis can go off tonight. The Bucks also have Brandon Jennings, a dynamic point guard who can do almost anything on the court. The Knicks passed up on Jennings in the 2009 NBA Draft, and he always has an amazing game whenever he plays New York.

Keys to Victory:

1. With Stoudemire and Lin out, the role players need to step up- The Knicks’ role players need to make sure their game is on today as two of the team’s stars out of the lineup.

2. Try to contain Ellis and Jennings- New York will have its hands full tonight with the Bucks’ backcourt as each player has the ability to drop 30+ points. Although shutting them both down is near impossible, limiting them to a mediocre game will surely get the Knicks a victory.

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