PLAYOFF RACE – With just 12 games remaining, Milwaukee is in the midst of a critical stretch in the race with
New York for the eighth seed. The Bucks and Knicks will meet for the final time on April 11. In the mean time,
Milwaukee's three games leading up to the showdown are against teams with a combined .453 winning
percentage, while New York's next three games before facing the Bucks are against teams with a combined .707
winning percentage. Here's a breakdown of the remaining schedule for both teams:
|Against Teams >=.500 (H/A)
|Against Teams <.500 (H/A)
30 THE HARD WAY – Monta Ellis' 30-point performance on Wednesday night vs. Cleveland was unique – not only
because 16 of his 30 points came in the final 4:32 of the game – but because all the scoring came off of two-point
shots. In the last 25 years, only two Bucks players have scored 30+ points with no thee-point field goals made and
no free throws made: Ellis and Glenn Robinson, who scored 30 points at San Antonio on 12/23/01.
TURNOVER TREAT – The Bucks rank 4th in the NBA in forcing turnovers (16.13 per game). For the second game in
a row, they harassed the opponent into 18 total TOs, swiping 11 steals from the Cavaliers. It was the fifth time in
the last six games they've forced 15+ opponent turnovers, and the Bucks have 32 games with 15+ this season.
Only New York (37), Memphis (36) and Miami (36) have had more.
SUP-ERSAN – Ilyasova is having a breakout season, posting career highs in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg), FG% (.493), 3P% (.419), 20-point
games (10) and double-doubles (15). What makes Ersan stand out as a Most Improved candidate, though, is that he's accomplished it all in just 27.5
minutes per game (just two additional minutes than his previous career high). Ersan has been so efficient in his minutes this season that he's on pace to
become the first player to average 12 points and eight rebounds in under 28 minutes per game since a pair of Hall of Famers did so in the early '90s:
|Ersan Ilyasova (MIL)
|Arvydas Sabonis (POR)
|Robert Parrish (BOS)
|Danny Schayes (DEN)
ERSANITY! – During the height of Linsanity in New York, Ilyasova produced a historic night of his own just across the Hudson. Ersan erupted for career
highs of 29 points and 25 rebounds in Milwaukee's win at New Jersey on 2/19, becoming the first Bucks player in over 30 years to tally 25+ points and
rebounds in a single game. Ilyasova becomes just the third member of the 25/25 club in Bucks history, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Swen Nater.
DUN-3-VY – The Bucks offense has been a revelation this season, ranking in the top-half of the league in scoring (98.9 ppg, 6th), 100-point games (27,
4th) and offensive rating (102.7, T13th). Last season, Milwaukee ranked 30th in all three categories. A major reason for the improvement has been the
scoring off the bench from Mike Dunleavy. The veteran has led a 2nd-unit that ranks 6th in the league at 34.7 bench points per game, and his 20 games
this season with 10+ points on 50% or better shooting as a reserve ranks 5th in the league. Dunleavy shot 56.9% from the field during March, the best
mark in the month for a guard, and his 54.4% accuracy from behind the arc for the month led the league. Dunleavy is at 44.0% from three on the season,
tied for the 7th-best mark in the NBA and on pace for the best 3-point shooting season by a Buck since Dell Curry shot 47.6 % during the 1998-99 season.
- Monta Ellis scored Milwaukee's final 16 points Wednesday night, going 8-for-8 from the field over the last 4:32
of the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other NBA players have scored 16 or more points
in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter of a game this season: Kyrie Irving (twice: 16 against Houston
and 17 vs. New Jersey) and Nick Young (17 against Orlando).
- Milwaukee has shot 50% or better from the field in four of the last five games, winning all four. The Bucks are
11-1 this season when shooting 50%, and seven of those 12 50% performances have come since the Mar. 14
trade that brought Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee.
- The Bucks have scored 50+ points in the first half in 11 of their last 12 games, and held the halftime lead in
all 11 of those outings.
- The Bucks rank 6th in the NBA in points per game with 98.9 and 3rd in assists per game with 23.44. They
ranked 30th in both of those categories last season.