PLAYOFF RACE – With just nine games remaining, Milwaukee is in the midst of a critical stretch in the race with
New York and Philadelphia for the eighth seed. The Bucks and Knicks will meet for the final time tonight, while
Milwaukee will host Philadelphia on April 25. Here's a breakdown of the remaining schedule for the three teams:
|Against Teams >=.500 (H/A)
|Against Teams <.500 (H/A)
30 THE HARD WAY – Monta Ellis' 30-point performance vs. CLE on 4/4 was unique – not only because 16 of his
30 points came off of 8-of-8 shooting in the final 4:32 of the game – but because all the scoring came from twopoint
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 (30 at SAS on 12/23/01). Additionally, according to the
Elias Sports Bureau, only two other NBA players have scored 16+ points in the final five minutes of the fourth
quarter this season: Kyrie Irving (twice: 16 against HOU and 17 vs. NJN) and Nick Young (17 against ORL).
SHARING IS CARING – The Bucks tallied 31 assists on Saturday vs. Portland, their league-leading 12th game this season with 30+ (11-1 in those games), and now rank third in the NBA with 23.68 helpers per game (just 0.05
behind Boston for second, and 0.06 behind Denver for the league lead). Milwaukee's current 23.68 average is the franchise's best mark since the 1993-94 club averaged 23.7 dimes per game. The last time the Bucks led the league in assists came during the 1978-79 season when they averaged 31.2 per game.
SUP-ERSAN –Ilyasova is having a breakout season, posting career highs in scoring (13.0 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg), FG% (.494), 3P% (.449), 20-point
games (11) and double-doubles (17). What makes Ersan stand out as a Most Improved candidate, though, is that he's accomplished it all in just 27.6 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 (28,
T4th) and offensive rating (102.5, 14th). 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 ties for 6th 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 42.7% from three on the season,
the 13th-best mark in the NBA.
- Ersan Ilyasova's 18-point performance against the Thunder extended his double-digit scoring streak to seven
games, and 10 of his last 11. It also ties a career-high seven-game streak of scoring in double figures from
earlier this season (2/15-29).
- Ilyasova's 44.9% average from behind the three-point line this season is good for 5th in the NBA, and on pace
to be the best three-point shooting season by a Buck since Dell Curry shot 47.6% during the 1998-99 season.
- The Bucks forced Oklahoma City into 18 total turnovers on Monday night, the seventh game out of the last
nine that the team has recorded 15 or more opponent turnovers. It was Milwaukee's 34th game this season
with such a total. Only New York (38), Memphis and Miami (37 each) have had more. The Bucks rank 4th in the
NBA for opponent turnovers per game with 16.19.
- Milwaukee leads the league with 167 charges drawn this season. The next closest team is Phoenix at 138.
- The Bucks rank 6th in the NBA in points per game with 98.9 and 3rd in assists per game with 23.68. They
ranked 30th in both of those categories last season.