Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin
By ANDREW GRUMAN  |  Last updated 11/8/13
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Ever since the Milwaukee Bucks andDallas Mavericks swapped shooting guards in free agency this summer, the firstmeeting between the two teams has been circled on the calendar.Saturday night will mark Monta Ellis' first trip back to theBMO Harris Bradley Center since leaving the Bucks to sign as a free agent withthe Mavericks, while O.J. Mayo will face his former team for the first time."I find nothing interesting about that," Mayo saidafter practice Wednesday. "That's the way the business goes. We're here toplay the game."While Mayo downplayed the game having any special meaning,Bucks coach Larry Drew expects both players to have some extra juice Saturdaynight."It will be interesting to see Monta coming back herehaving been here last year, and certainly O.J. having played in Dallas lastyear," Drew said. "I'm sure both guys are going to be geeked up cometomorrow night. I know shots are going to be flying all over the place. Itshould be exciting."You have to hold the reins because both guys areexplosive scorers. They want to do well playing against their previous team.I'm sure I'm probably going to have to pull O.J. to the side a bit. Both guysare scorers and will look to get back at their old team."Traded from the Warriors to the Bucks in March of 2012 asthe primary piece in the Andrew Bogut trade, Ellis always had a particularlytenacious attitude when facing Golden State.Ellis averaged 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.3steals and shot 42.6 percent from the field in three games with Milwaukeeagainst Golden State, leading the Bucks to a 3-0 record against his old team.In his last trip to Oakland, Ellis scored 26 points on10-of-19 shooting to help the Bucks to a 103-93 victory."Most players are like that when they play theirprevious teams," Drew said. "I'm sure he's going to be geeked upabout coming back to Milwaukee having played here. Certainly he wants to putthe dagger in us. We have to be ready."Acquired along with Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh in exchangefor Bogut and Stephen Jackson, Ellis played 103 games in Milwaukee. Startingall 82 games last season, the 28-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 3.9 reboundsand 6.0 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field.In June, Ellis opted out of the final year of his contractthat would have paid him 11 million for this season.According to a league source, Ellis turned down a two-yearextension with the Bucks worth a total of 36 million last fall. The deal wouldhave required and included the 11 million player option plus an additional twoyears.Ellis ended up signing a three-year deal worth 26 millionwith the Mavericks in July and has thrived in Dallas thus far. His 32 points inthe team's season opener was the most by a player in their Mavericks debut.Through five games, Ellis is averaging 24.0 points, 3.8rebounds, 4.6 assists and shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.Last year, Drew coached against the good Ellis and the badEllis. Ellis scored 27 points with 17 assists in one game against Atlanta, butscored just five on 2-of-14 shooting in another. How does Drew prepare forEllis?"First of all, he's going to get enough touches wherehe's going to score the ball," Drew said. "Sometimes you can focus alittle bit too much on one guy and you are leaving other guys open. We justtried to make it tough for him and make him earn every basket. He's anexplosive scorer."He can make shots, he can get into the paint, he's astrong finisher. We just tried to make his scoring opportunities tough. Guyslike that are going to have many opportunities to score the basketball. We justcan't let him have any easy ones."Mayo spent one season in Dallas before declining the playeroption for this year. He wasn't pursued in free agency by the Mavericks andended up signing a three-year, 24 million deal with the Bucks.He had his best game this season Wednesday againstCleveland, scoring 28 points and connecting on 6-of-7 3-point attempts."I don't think nothing at all," Mayo said ofplaying the Mavericks. "It's just another game for us to get ready for onthe schedule."Injury update: The Bucks were without power forward ErsanIlyasova (sore right ankle), center Larry Sanders (sprained right thumb) andpoint guard Luke Ridnour (back spasms) at practice Friday.Ridnour and Sanders are listed as doubtful for Saturday'sgame against Dallas, while Ilyasova is listed as probable. Brandon Knightreturned to practice Friday for the first time since straining his righthamstring in the season opener Oct. 30 and is probable for Saturday."He seemed to be moving around OK," Drew said ofKnight. "We'll see how he is tomorrow. I was told he will be apossibility. We wanted to see how he did through today's practice. Tomorrowwill be the big test."Even if Knight is able to play, Drew may still start rookieNate Wolters at point guard. It would allow Knight to ease back from the injurybut also keep the hot hand on the court at the beginning of the game."Brandon has been out a little while, and we seem tohave a little rhythm with the group we've been starting," Drew said."I may lean to stay with that until we get everyone back healthy."Though Ilyasova is listed as probable, he'll need to makeprogress in order to play. Drew said he won't rush Ilyasova back and wants tomake sure the team gives him the necessary time to let the ankle fully heal.Bucks small forward Caron Butler left in the middle ofFriday's practice after tweaking his ankle. Drew is hopeful to have him againstthe Mavericks. Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter
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