The Sixers are still only one spot behind the Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, sure, but some 7 1/2 games separate the two with only 12 games left on the schedule for the Sixers.
Though this game does carry weight for the Bucks, who, despite being in playoff position, face swift, certain and merciless annihilation at the hands of likely first-round opponent Miami, who saunter inexorably through the league like Sherman's Army through the Georgia lowcountry brush, leaving defeated opponents and melted railroad lines in their wake the way a careless camper leaves candy wrappers in the woods.
But the Bucks are a game and half behind the Boston Celtics, who are engaged in their own inexorable march, though it resembles the Federal Grand Army less than it resembles Jim Broadbent in Cloud Atlas.
But I digress.
Back in January, it was Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, black of hair, the first of his name, who grabbed the Iron Thone and proclaimed himself king of the Andals and protector of the realm, causing serious matchup problems for the smaller Sixers wing players. Maybe Damien Wilkins, who's been getting more minutes of late, can bang bodies with Ilyasova, but that would require him to do other things in other facets of the game, so maybe you don't want that.
Another potential matchup issue for the Sixers is Bucks center Larry Sanders, who is semi-quietly having himself a Tyson Chandler-esque season on the defensive end. Sanders' NBA-leading 3.0 blocks per game (in only 27 minutes a night) might be a bigger issue if the Sixers ever had any attention of attacking the basket, but so it goes.
By the old gods and by Lucy the Giant Tanking Octopus, we welcome the final twelve games of the regular season. May spring bring renewal and light to our despondent city. And also lots of losses and a kickass draft pick. Amen.