Fresh off of a loss to the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers are back in action Thursday, traveling to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks. The Sixers enter first in the Eastern Conference with a record of 39-19, 0.5-game up on the Nets and 3.5 games ahead of Milwaukee. This head-to-head contest gives Milwaukee (35-22) an opportunity to close that gap, though they will remain in third place win or lose.
Thursday’s matchup marks the second time this season the Sixers and Bucks hit the hardwood, the Bucks winning the first in overtime, 109-105 (March 17). That result, though, should not leave Sixers fans pessimistic: not only did the Bucks need overtime for the victory, they needed it against a Sixers squad that was missing superstar Joel Embiid.
Without Joel, the Sixers shot the ball better than Milwaukee, had fewer turnovers, and rebounded at a higher rate. So, what explains the loss? The Bucks had 24 free throws attempts to the Sixers’ 8. Considering Joel leads the NBA in free throws attempted per game, it’s not unreasonable to feel like the Sixers would have come out on top had he played.
While the Sixers are on a back-to-back tonight, Joel Embiid is likely to play. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, both of whom have been out with illness and injury respectively, are nearing their returns to the court and could suit up against Milwaukee, though that’s yet to be determined.
Whatever the results of this contest, the losers will get a chance to redeem themselves as these two squads will face off again for a matinee game on Saturday, April 24 at 3:30 pm in Milwaukee.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
When: 7:00pm ET
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic