As we know, the Sixers are in a tight race for pings right now and cannot afford any surprise-wins. The last time these teams met in Milwaukee, the Sixers lost, but it was a little too close for comfort. Elton Brand dominated the entire game - to a tune of 26 points and 10 rebounds - but missed a wide open game-tying layup. However; the Bucks are a different team since then, and so are the Sixers.
The Bucks are 15-2 since trading for John Salmons, including 8-0 at home with wins over: Boston, Cleveland (w/o LeBron), Utah, and Atlanta. And the Sixers will be without Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young for the second straight game. All signs point to a Bucks win, but wait:
- Who's going to stop Elton Brand? At times this season Elton has shown the ability to score in bunches, and he's averaging 22 points, 8 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against the Bucks. If I remember correctly, the Bucks guard EB with Luc Richard Mbah a Mounte. LRMaM has a reputation as an all-world defender, but he's shown that he can't stop Elton Brand - unless of course he performs the 'FU', dislocating his shoulder in the process.
- Jrue Holiday only played 21 minutes the last time these teams met. Tonight he'll probably play 40+.
- Jennings, Salmons, and Bogut provide most of the Bucks offense. All three guys might have trouble against Holiday, Iguodala, and Dalembert. Bogut is averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds on 39% shooting against Dalembert and co. this year. Salmons is averaging 16 points on 46% shooting against Iguodala and co. And Jennings has torched the Sixers this season, but hasn't played extended minutes against Holiday yet.
Do I still think the Sixers will lose this game? Absolutely, but it might be closer than people think.
Two things I'm looking forward to tonight are the Jrue/Jennings matchup, and Jodie Meeks return to Milwaukee. Will he get enough minutes to torch the Bucks for 7 threes? Probably not, but I can dream. Here are the lottery standings going into the night:
And tonight's games of note:
Wizards @ Pacers
Kings @ Nets
76ers vs Bucks coverage