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News » Ilyasova rebounds Forward on verge of starting again

Ilyasova rebounds Forward on verge of starting again

Ilyasova rebounds  Forward on verge of starting again By CHARLES F. GARDNER

St. Francis - Ersan Ilyasova started the first two games of the preseason at the power forward position before going to the bench as coach Scott Skiles shuffled his lineup.

Now the 22-year-old may be on the verge of moving back into the Milwaukee Bucks' starting five after several strong performances.

Ilyasova played 33 minutes in a key reserve role Monday night and had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the Bucks' 115-113 overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the Bradley Center.

Hakim Warrick has started six straight games at power forward, but he has played just 12 minutes in each of the last two games.

The 6-foot-10 Ilyasova sank 7 of 13 shots against the Mavericks, including 4 of 7 from three-point range. And he did a decent job in taking his turn defending against Dallas all-star power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

"Ersan certainly deserves all the playing time he is getting," Skiles said after the team's practice Tuesday. "He's playing very good defense.

"He's shooting the ball when he's open, knocking down shots. He's rebounding."

Asked if he was contemplating a change in the lineup for Wednesday's home game against New Jersey, Skiles said, "We might."

After two years with FC Regal Barcelona in Spain, Ilyasova hardly looks like the wide-eyed youngster the Bucks picked up in the second round of the 2005 draft.

"He was a young kid trying to get acclimated to the NBA," Bucks veteran Michael Redd said. "He showed glimpses of potential.

"This year he came back stronger, more mature and he knows the game a little bit better. To compete against a guy like that (Nowitzki) and hold his own somewhat was encouraging for him."

Ilyasova nearly had another double-double in the Bucks' victory over Denver last week, when he had 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots in just 22 minutes.

"He was pump-faking too much early on, and he was passing up too many shots," Skiles said. "Now he's kind of letting them go in rhythm.

"At the same time, if guys are running at him, he's trying to pump-fake and take a couple dribbles. He's trying to make a play for himself or someone else."

Warrick had a big game off the bench in the Bucks' home opener Oct. 31, when he scored 21 points and made 10 of 15 free throw attempts. He responded with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) when he moved into the starting lineup in the third game of the season at Chicago.

But the former Syracuse star was more accustomed to coming off the bench in his previous four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"He's struggled on the defensive end," Skiles said. "He's got to make a lot of strides there. Offensively in some games he's been able to be a factor for us.

"We have high expectations. We don't let a lot of things slip. He's not in his normal role, which is just to come off the bench and score a few points and sit back down.

"We're asking for more, and we'll keep asking for it. We think he's totally capable of doing it."

Redd aiming for Friday: Redd went through non-contact drills Tuesday and was encouraged with his progress.

Redd, who has been sidelined for more than two weeks with a left patella tendon strain, said he is aiming to return in the finale of the Bucks' six-game homestand Friday night against Charlotte.

The 30-year-old Redd has missed six games and will be out for a seventh Wednesday.

"I was just running up and down, just making sure I can cut and run and sprint a little bit," Redd said after the Bucks' workout at the Cousins Center. "I'm going to try to give it a go Thursday in practice. They're throwing me to the wolves Thursday."

Delfino ailing: Small forward Carlos Delfino returned to the Bucks lineup Monday after missing one game with a stomach ailment.

He scored nine points in 17 minutes against Dallas.

But he said after practice that he was seeing a specialist later Tuesday because he still wasn't feeling well. Delfino said he was light-headed when he sat out the game against Golden State and has suffered from "low energy" for several weeks.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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