TV: League Pass
- With both the Bucks and Lakers going nowhere this season, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was he was in Milwaukee 26 1/2 years ago as a player for Tracer Milan in the very first McDonald’s Open — a pre-season tournament that featured the Bucks, Tracer Milan and the Soviet national team. “It was a great time for us coming from Milan and being able to play,” D’Antoni recalled. “It was one of the first times that European teams played NBA teams — especially in official games. The Russian national team was here. They had some great players. It was a great tournament.” That wasn’t D’Antoni’s first time in Milwaukee, though. He has another, less-fond memory of that as a rookie with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. “The first time I ever started an NBA game was in Milwaukee,” D’Antoni said of a game Nov. 10, 1973. “I broke my hand and I had to go to the hospital in my warmups. It wasn’t good. … Oscar Robertson broke it, so that’s how it goes.”
- Lakers center Chris Kaman had some interesting comments after getting a rare start in Tuesday’s 127-96 victory in New York. Kaman indicated this was the most difficult of his 11 seasons and that he hadn’t spoken with D’Antoni for three weeks. Kaman did not travel to Milwaukee with the team to tend to a personal matter but was scheduled to arrive possibly by game time. “I think he will warm up and be out there,” D’Antoni said. “If we need him he will play, but we will just have to read the game.”
- The Bucks announced before the game that forward Ersan Ilyasova would not play the rest of the season as he rests and rehabilitate a right ankle that has bothered him all season long. Ilyasova suffered a severe sprain of the ankle in the exhibition season opener and has played just 55 of the Bucks’ 71 games. The team already had announced he would sit out the second game of back-to-backs. Ilyasova saw a foot specialist in Los Angeles on the team’s just-completed road trip, and the decision was made to sit him out the rest of the way. “It was the doctor’s recommendation to just rest the ankle and let it heal,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. ” ‘Ers’ has been dealing with it the entire season. It just never recovered at 100 percent.”
- The Bucks also will be without guard O.J. Mayo, who sprained an ankle in Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. It will be Mayo’s 20th missed game of the season. Only Brandon Knight — who missed nine games early in the season with hamstring issues — remains from what the Bucks hoped would be a starting five of Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Carlos Delfino, Knight and Mayo. Delfino missed the entire season and eventually underwent another foot operation. Sanders missed eight weeks early with a thumb injury and then went down for the season with a fractured right orbital bone on Feb. 8. “I kind of had factored (Delfino) in as being our starting small forward, had he been healthy and ready to play” Drew said. “But things just went crazy from the very beginning with hearing he wouldn’t be able to play, and then all the other things that followed. It just seems like it was one of those seasons.”
- The Bucks signed guard/forward D.J. Stephens to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. Stephens was not drafted last June and had been playing for Ilysiakasin the Greek League, where he averaged 9.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 18 games.
– Rick Braun