While I often poke fun at Vince Carter, head injuries are one of the few things I’ll never make fun of. Both repeated and sudden blows to the head are still taken too lightly in sports, and I applaud Mr. Carter for not rushing back tonight against the Bucks if he still has lingering symptoms from his collision with Channing Frye on Wednesday night.
With Carter out, Mickael Pietrus is slated to get the start. According to Paul Coro of AZCentral.com, Pietrus will start over Jared Dudley in order to keep the Suns bench rotation intact. As Coro notes, the past two games have been the bench’s best scoring games of the season. However, in both games, Pietrus played more than 20 minutes – coming off the bench. With Pietrus as a starter, won’t the bench rotation be disrupted anyway? Will Pietrus get both Vince’s approximately 25 minutes per game as well as his own 20 of late? Unlikely. Does that make it likely, as Coro posits, that Josh Childress will see playing time tonight?
When the Suns and Bucks met on Groundhog’s Day, Andrew Bogut missed the game with an injured knee. Marcin Gortat scored 19 points and 11 rebounds with the Bucks minus Bogut in a game the Suns led from start to finish. Bogut is injured tonight as well, as is Ersan Ilyasova, who played 33 minutes in the last meeting between the two teams. Then again, no Ilyasova is good Ilyasova compared to Ersan’s performance in that game – he went 7 for 20 from the field, including 1 for 5 from deep. Ilyasova is out tonight due to a concussion recurrence. We wish him the best as well.
The Suns’ dark magic number (the number of remaining games we project they can lose and still make the playoffs) is down to 9 after the loss to Boston on Wednesday. Tonight’s game against a depleted Milwaukee team is a game the Suns need to win to stay on track for the playoffs. A repeat of the disappointing loss to a Sacramento team with DeMarcus Cousins would by no means end the season, but it would frustrate both player and fan alike.
Except maybe Vince Carter. …I just can’t help myself!