Nets-Bucks: Game Preview

Luke Ridnour, Monta Ellis
The Nets will try to let Monta Ellis stop himself tonight. (AP/Jim Mone)

Remember, you can grade the players at any time!

The Nets will try to let Monta Ellis stop himself tonight. (AP/Jim Mone)

The Brooklyn Nets take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at Barclays Center. Here’s your primer:

Broadcast: Tonight’s game will be televised on YES Network at 6 P.M. Ryan Ruocco and Greg Anthony have the call. The game will be radio broadcast on WFAN and in Spanish on WADO.

Advanced Stats:
Brooklyn Nets: 104.6 offensive rating (8th), 103.4 defensive rating (20th), 90.87 possessions per game (29th)

Milwaukee Bucks: 99.5 offensive rating (22nd), 102.2 defensive rating (15th), 96.21 possessions per game (5th)

Inactives: Brook Lopez and Tornike Shengelia for Brooklyn, Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih for Milwaukee.

Three things to watch:

1) Pace. The Nets are one of the slowest teams in the league, but without Brook Lopez the team has played at a slightly faster pace in the past four games. The Bucks are one of the fastest teams in the league, and the Nets have had a tendency to try to play “up” to another team’s speed, usually without success. The Bucks have two of the faster guards in the league in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis — can the Nets slow them down?

2) Shooting. Mike Dunleavy is out for Milwaukee, which is good news for Brooklyn — he’s the only Bucks player shooting over 40% from deep. Brandon Jennings is shooting a respectable 36.4%, but the Bucks don’t employ any other successful outside shooters. The Nets have occasionally struggled to defend the perimeter, but over the course of the season have allowed the fewest three-point makes and attempts this year. That trend should continue tonight.

3) Points in the paint. The Nets allowed 50 attempts and 50 points in the paint against Golden State in their most recent loss. The Bucks don’t have many bangers inside — their most successful offensive big man is Ersan Ilyasova, whose production has fallen off a cliff this year. Jennings and Ellis can both get to the rim, but like Ilyasova, Ellis has struggled mightily this year — he’s shooting below the league average at the rim and from nearly every spot on the floor this season, just 38.9% overall and 21.3% from beyond the arc. Even without Lopez, this is a team that the Nets should take advantage of both inside and outside.

BONUS SURPRISE: Reggie Evans is starting over Kris Humphries.