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News » Warrick to stay in lineup Skiles wants better play at power forward

Warrick to stay in lineup Skiles wants better play at power forward

Warrick to stay in lineup  Skiles wants better play at power forward By CHARLES F. GARDNER

St. Francis - Hakim Warrick moved into the starting lineup Tuesday night as Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles continued to seek a solution at the suddenly troublesome power forward spot.

Kurt Thomas, who had started the first two regular-season games at power forward, did not play a minute in the Bucks' 83-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Ersan Ilyasova played just seven minutes and lofted an ill-advised three-pointer in the final seconds.

Skiles said he expects to keep the 6-foot-9 Warrick in a starting role, at least through the team's games Friday night at Minnesota and Saturday night against New York at the Bradley Center.

"We need more out of that spot," Skiles said. "We need to shoot the ball better from that spot; we need more defensive rebounds from that spot."

Warrick contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes against the Bulls, but he was just 5 of 15 from the field. And he was among a Bucks frontcourt rotation that could not keep Bulls forward Luol Deng from grabbing a career-best 20 rebounds.

"There are clips on the film where Deng is just throwing us under the basket," Skiles said. "Nothing against Luol, but he's a 3 man (small forward)."

Dan Gadzuric has emerged as the primary backup at center to Andrew Bogut, leaving the 37-year-old Thomas as the odd man out, at least for now.

"You start going to five or six big guys, and it's hard to get everybody in the game," Skiles said. "We didn't particularly like Kurt and Bogues out there together. It seemed to slow us down. We're still searching a little bit."

The good news for the Bucks on Tuesday was the improved play of Bogut, who posted his first double-double of the season (16 points, 13 rebounds) while taking 14 shots and playing 38 minutes.

"When he went into his move and he drew some help (defense), he kicked the ball out," Skiles said. "I thought he had a much livelier body. That's along the lines of the type of game we need from him."

Gadzuric played 13 minutes against the Bulls and had two points and five rebounds, after playing 12 minutes against Detroit and producing eight points and five rebounds.

He scored on a fast-break dunk off a behind-the-back pass from point guard Brandon Jennings in a highlight-reel play Tuesday.

"He's always on the glass," Skiles said of the 31-year-old Netherlands native. "For whatever reason, he had a year or two where he got a little out of kilter. Now, every time he plays he does something positive.

"Danny can make open shots. He occasionally gets in trouble if he tries to do a little bit too much, but lately he's just been passing the ball out and going out and setting screens."

Alexander vows to keep working: Bucks forward Joe Alexander said he believes he has a good future in the NBA, despite not having his third-year contract option picked up by the team Monday.

The move will make Alexander, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 draft, an unrestricted free agent after this season. And it makes it quite likely he will play somewhere other than Milwaukee next season.

"This doesn't deter me at all, no way," Alexander said Wednesday.

"Whether or not they want me doesn't really affect how I approach my rehab or how I approach my game."

Alexander suffered a right hamstring injury during an informal workout in late September and aggravated the injury while running. On Oct. 22, the team announced he would be out 8 to 12 weeks.

He said he has not begun running again, but is working on the bike and shooting.

On Monday, Bucks general manager John Hammond informed Alexander the team would not pick up his $2.76 million option for the 2010-'11 season.

"The opinions of the coaches here, that weighs really heavy on my mind," Alexander said. "However, the rest of management, I really don't give too much thought to that."

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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