WARRIORS AT BUCKS, 8:30 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • When the Bucks blew a 20-point lead and lost at Cleveland Friday night, it marked the third time this season they’ve entered a contest four games above .500 and couldn’t get to five games above, and all three times were against teams with inferior records. They lost Nov. 19 at Charlotte, Dec. 30 at Detroit and Friday night at Cleveland. “I don’t think it has anything to do with being four games above. I don’t think the guys are looking at that,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “I think it’s just that last night we were relying too much on our offense to carry us and we forgot about playing defense. Pretty much the entire game we did that.”
  • The Bucks allowed at least 30 points in each of the last three quarters to the Cavaliers. Boylan said the chances of winning when doing that are almost nil. “No way,” Boylan said. “You may win one game out of 10, but most of them you’re going to lose, so that’s a bad recipe. We talked about that today in our meeting with the guys and hopefully we’ll address it tonight.”
  • Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova is on a career-best scoring binge. In his last three games he’s set or tied career-highs with 27, 27 and 30 points. He’s also averaging 12.3 rebounds in those three games. Ilyasova struggled mightily at the beginning of the season and was moved by then-coach Scott Skiles to an off-the-bench role. When he took over nine games ago, Boylan immediately put Ilyasova back in the starting lineup. “I think he’s finding a rhythm,” Boylan said. “He’s finding some good, open looks and knocking them down. He’s not afraid to miss a shot. That’s a big part of it, too. He’s not afraid to miss. When he does miss, he comes back the next time down and if he has a good look, he takes it. So I’ll just keep encouraging him to do what he does. He’s a good shooter, so we have to take advantage of that.” So what was his problem early in season? “I don’t know,” Boylan said. “You may have to ask him that. I don’t know where he was, but he was struggling. Sometimes that happens. You need to find your rhythm in a season, and ‘Ers,’ when he first came back just wasn’t in a good rhythm. When I came in, my job was to try to get him back to a good place, and the last several games he’s been looking really good like the Ersan of last year. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
  • Former Buck Andrew Bogut has only played four games this season but is now traveling with the Warriors. He suffered a fractured ankle while with the Bucks last January 25 in Houston and didn’t play again last season. He then had surgery on the ankle last January and then again in April. “It’s been a long road for me,” Bogut said. “The surgery was in late April so that puts us at nine months right now. It’s definitely taken longer than we expected. I tried to give it a go at the start of the season but it blew up and I lost my mobility and flexibility back in November. We decided it was smarter to try to be back for the long haul rather than play in five-game increments and then have to take time off. It’s frustrating. Nobody ever wants to be hurt. I don’t want to be hurt. But there’s no choice but to go through this process diligently and do the right things and come back strong.” While he’s barely played in his nearly a year with Golden State, the fact the Warriors are winning helps. “If we were losing right now, it would be different, but we’re winning,” Bogut said. “Back when I was talking to the media earlier in the season, I said we should be talking about us winning. There was a lot of attention on my injury and rightfully so, but when you start to win games, it definitely helps my sanity. It’s still frustrating but it’s something I have to deal with.” Warriors coach Mark Jackson is eager to add Bogut to the Warriors mix. “We know when he’s healthy and on the floor there is no question he’s going to help us and make us a better basketball team,” Jackson said. “We know exactly who he is and what he brings to the table, and it’s going to be a tremendous upgrade at that position.”

Rick Braun

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