Preview: 76ers face Bucks on the road in heavyweight matchup on prime-time
The 76ers are coming off one of their most embarrassing regular season losses in recent memory. Now, the Sixers head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks in their final game before the All-Star break.
The Bucks come into tonight’s contest with a 36-23 record, good for the third spot in the East standings. This will be the Milwaukee’s first matchup of the season against the 76ers with Joel Embiid healthy, with the last contest occurring back in early November.
The 76ers currently hold a 34-23 record, which slots them into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Philly is just a half-game behind the Cavs and a full game behind the Bucks with the All-Star Break right around the corner.
- Wesley Matthews (Probable)
- Grayson Allen (Doubtful)
- Brook Lopez (Out)
- Pat Connaughton (Out)
- George Hill (Out)
- James Harden (Out)
- Jaden Springer (Out)
Get Offense Going Early
While this is certainly a concept the 76ers have struggled with all season, tonight against Milwaukee it is especially important Philly gets the offense going early on. The Bucks are dealing with a ton of injuries that has effectively thinned out a lot of their depth.
If the Sixers can get their offense going out the gate and tire out the starters, the defending champs are going to have a much harder time keeping up with the likes of Joel Embiid.
This logic also follows for getting starters into foul trouble, something Joel Embiid has an elite ability to do. Brook Lopez isn’t suiting up for this game, and the likes of Bobby Portis and Serge Ibaka have the very tough task of guarding the MVP front runner.
Embiid averages 9.3 free throws a game, and against the Celtics on Tuesday shot 16 free throws. If Joel can knock one of Portis or Ibaka into early foul trouble, the Bucks don’t have anyone else to put out there with their current injuries issues.
Take away one of Milwaukee’s Big Three
Certainly a big ask, but if the 76ers want any chance of taking a game off the defending champs without James Harden out there, it has to be done. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.4 points a game (best in the league currently) and 11.4 rebounds a game.
Middleton and Holiday each average 19 and 18 points a night respectively. Outside of those three, with the injuries the Bucks are dealing with, the talent level takes a serious drop off.
The 76ers aren’t going to be able to take away all three of the guys mentioned earlier, but do have a shot if they can target one. Giannis does a lot of things on the court for the Bucks, but has his poor shooting nights from the field and the line. Khris Middleton has been in a slump recently due to his three ball not falling, an integral part of his offensive game.
If Matisse Thybulle or Joel Embiid can force one of those two into a bad night combined with the multiple injuries on the Bucks roster, the 76ers could pull off the upset.
Tonight’s odds brought to you by Parx Sportsbook, the official gambling partner of The Liberty Line.
|Philadelphia 76ers||+220||+6.5 (-110)||O 223 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-278||-6.5 (-110)||U 223 (-110)|
This is one of if not the toughest game of 2022 for the 76ers, and the odds reflect that with the most points Philly has gotten all year. I expect the Sixers to keep the game somewhat close due to the depth issues for the Bucks, but no Harden against the big three of Giannis/Middleton/Holiday will be too much to pull out the win.
Just remember no matter how rough this game gets, the next time the 76ers play basketball James Harden will be making his debut, and the real run for a title begins.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Slocum.