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Sixers Vs. Bucks Preview: Not As Easy As It Appears


The Sixers have lost seven of their last nine games, many coming in devastating fashion. The offensive execution has been poor and even poorer in "clutch" situations. The "clutch" issue will continue to rear its ugly head plenty as the season goes on, and the half-court execution will probably remain poor-ish – especially against quality opponents – until Spencer Hawes returns.

Fortunately the Sixers are set face bad Milwaukee Bucks team on Monday night, and as they've done all season, they need to take advantage of the weaker teams (i.e. the Bucks). Yet another brutal stretch of games is coming up (Celtics, Jazz, @Knicks, @Pacers, Heat, @Bulls).

The Bucks are 14-23 on the season, and much like the Sixers, have been losing games like it's going out of style lately. They've recorded wins in only two of their last 11 games – against the Nets and Wizards – and are coming off a 16 point loss to the Magic in Orlando.

Milwaukee has been without both Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson for the last six games, but neither was really producing at a high level when they were playing.

Bogut only played in 12 games this season, before suffering a broken ankle, but in those 12 games he had a PER of 15.5 (slightly above average) and had a true shooting percentage of .465, which is awful for a big man.

Jackson has appeared in 26 games for the Bucks this season, with a PER of 9.5 (well below average) and a TS% of .459. The player that one man, who formerly frequented the LB neighborhood, claimed was a "superstar" and "better than Andre Iguodala" has killed the Bucks offensively during his time on the court, shooting low percentages and turnovers the ball over. In fact, he's recorded -0.3 win shares this season, if you're in to that sort of thing.

As for the guys who will be playing tonight, Brandon Jennings is always a guy to watch out for. Although wildly inconsistent, he can certainly go off. The match-up between him and Jrue is always fun, although Jrue hasn't quite been Jrue this season.

Ersan Ilyasova is the other Buck to keep an eye on. He ranges from adequate-to-slightly-above-average offensively and rebounds better than any player on the Sixers – both offensively and defensively.

The Bucks play at a surprisingly fast pace (seventh in the league) and take care of the basketball (fourth). Luckily – even with Illyasova – they're one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA.

Ultimately, the Bucks are another bad team the Sixers should handle with ease. The two things working against the Sixers on Monday will be the fact that they're playing in Milwaukee – where the Bucks are a respectable 8-8 – and they'll be playing in the second of a back-to-back.

At first glance – bad opponent without known guys like Bogut and Jackson – Monday's contest looks like an easy Sixers win on paper, but a back-to-back on the road, against a decent home team could represent a challenge for the struggling 76ers.

Let's hope they don't take this game, or this team, lightly. Tip is scheduled for 8:00 EST.

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