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- The Bucks have suspended back-up center Samuel Dalembert for tonight’s game for an unspecified violation of team policy. He is averaging 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 16.7 minutes per game. “Everybody involved with the team … they have certain responsibilities to the team. When those responsibilities are not met, there are consequences. Sam has not met some of those and so therefore the consequence is that he’s suspended for tonight’s game,” said coach Jim Boylan, who acknowledged there had been more than one incident with Dalembert. “It’s more of a pattern, and it has reached the point where something needed to be done. We decided that this was the appropriate action to take.”
- With Dalembert out, Boylan said former Baylor center Ekpe Udoh would be the main backup to starter Larry Sanders tonight. Udoh is averaging 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 51 games this season, with seven starts.
- Boylan said his biggest concern against the Mavericks is Milwaukee’s perimeter defense, which has struggled since the All-Star break. In three games, the Bucks have yielded an average of 11.0 3-pointers per game, including 14 by Atlanta on Saturday. “We’ve certainly got to get up to them on the 3-point line,” Boylan said. “Vince [Carter] is an outstanding 3-point shooter, a clutch 3-point shooter. Dirk [Nowitzki], you don’t even have to talk about that with his ability. The big key for us is crowding them, getting them uncomfortable on the 3-point line.”
- Nowitzki has averaged 27.5 points on 58.3 percent shooting and 10.0 rebounds in his last two games, the best he has looked since coming back from knee surgery. “He’s been in a good groove. I think he’s as close as he’s ever been to being at his high-standard level. That’s a level that he strives for,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s great, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to have to take on the load of carrying the team by himself.”
– Dave Ivey