Los Angeles Lakers: Milwuakee Bucks

Lakers vs. Bucks: What to watch

December, 21, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
While the city's collective basketball attention (and the minds of children everywhere) may already be focused on Christmas Day, the Lakers do have one team on the agenda before all the Yuletide fun begins.

Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire
With Brandon Jennings on the shelf, Andrew Bogut's life gets a lot tougher.

The Milwaukee Bucks are in town Tuesday night. Before the season they appeared to be a up-and-comer in the Eastern Conference- not a title contender but a dangerous team nonetheless. Now they're more a gift that keeps on giving, their largess not simply an act of holiday spirit, but a season long trend. At 10-16, the Bucks, beat up by injuries all season (the latest being surgery for Brandon Jennings) have consistently underperformed. Particularly on the road, where after being completely dusted by a similarly short-handed Portland team Monday night, the Bucks are 3-10.

By all rights, the Bucks seem right for the picking (or hunting, if you prefer a more deer-themed metaphor), particularly in light of the Jennings news, but they're still a genuine NBA team with real uniforms and a team charter. On their more careless nights, the Lakers have struggled with lesser squads. To preview tonight's action, I hit up Jeremy Schmidt, host of the always entertaining/informative Bucksketball blog, who was kind enough to answer some questions about Scott Skiles' hard luck crew:

1. Now that Brandon Jennings is on the shelf, what changes about Milwaukee's offense? They don't score much anyway, and he accounts for a huge portion of the team's assists. How will the Bucks generate points?

Generally ball dominant, Jennings was using 26.2% of the Bucks possessions heading into Monday night. In his absence, his teammates general lack of ability with the ball in their hands was on display. Early on in Portland, the Blazers doubled Andrew Bogut off the ball when the Bucks looked to find him for post-ups inside. Jennings didn't always find Bogut on the pick and roll or drop it off to him on drives to the hoop, but he, more than any other Buck, needed to be accounted for by the defense when sharing the court with the big man.

Now that Milwaukee has one less player that requires serious attention, Bogut is sure to be the recipient of heavy double teaming and an increased amount of attention. Bogut and Jennings have played together for 592:29 minutes this season and Milwaukee is +16 in those minutes. No other player has played as many minutes with Bogut and only Ersan Ilyasova has had a better plus/minus on the court with him. A healthy Jennings allowed the Bucks to be Andrew Bogut's team and for Bogut to thrive.

(Note: For a more in depth look at the Bucks without Jennings, check out Schmidt's post on the topic at Bucksketball.)

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0