Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 18-25
(Probable) Inactives: Joe Alexander, Michael Redd and Francisco Elson
Philadelphia 76ers (Eddie Jordan) 15-29
(Probable) Inactives: Primoz Brezec and Jason Kapono
Game Time: 7:00 (CST)
TV: FS Wisconsin
Brandon Jennings vs. Jrue Holiday
The guy the Bucks drafted versus the guy they thought about drafting. It’s safe to say, that for this year the Bucks should be glad they went with Jennings. Holiday is already a better defender than Jennings, but not the playmaker or shot-taker (and occasional shot-maker) that BJ is. Holiday has only recently been given the keys to the car that is the starting line-up and is kind of taking on the “Royal Ivey Memorial Starting Point Guard” role. He’s getting around 15 minutes, is expected to play defense, distribute the ball and not make mistakes. It will be interesting to see if Jennings has a little extra pep in his step going at another rookie.
Charlie Bell vs. Allen Iverson
Iverson, everyone’s least favorite all star starter, is clearly no longer the threat he once was. He’s still quick, just not game altering quick. He can still hit some tough shots, just not as many or as tough. He can still get a few steals, just not enough to make up for his otherwise poor defense. In short, Iverson isn’t scaring anyone these days and is just an undersized talented scoring guard. He can’t shoot it from deep, but will still get to the line on occasion. I’m nowhere near as worried about him as I should have been about Jason Terry when it comes to undersized two’s. I’m still bummed about how many shots Terry drilled Tuesday night, he was a beast. Iverson? Not such a beast, at least I don’t suspect he will be. As far as Bell goes, I’d love to see him make his open shots. It’d be great.
Carlos Delfino vs. Andre Iguodala
I was worried about Shawn Marion attacking the Bucks Tuesday night, as they don’t really have anyone who could match his athleticism, but that never really came to fruition as he took just eight shots. I don’t think Iggy will be as limited in his shot attempts Wednesday night and his athleticism is no joke either. Delfino is a good defender, but could see some foul trouble if the ball is frequently in the hands of Iguodala. Surprisingly, Iguodala is only getting around four shots at the rim per game, so it seems like he’s a little too content to pull-up rather than use his handle and hops to get to the bucket. The Bucks will be glad to let him bomb away from 20-feet so long as he’s not getting to the free throw line. As far as Delfino goes, let’s just hope this hot streak becomes something more than a streak. It’s getting closer with each passing game to becoming normal.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Elton Brand
It’s not often LRMAM is going to have to deal with real traditional post-up power forwards, but that’s what he’ll be facing against Philly. Brand is still a throw back; he can pound it down low, but hit the 16-foot jump shot with some regularity. After a rough first couple months again this year, Brand has picked it up some in December and January, getting his shooting percentage back over 50 percent for the first time in a long time. He’s not grabbing quite as many rebounds these days, but that may have something to do with Sam Dalembert grabbing most of the available rebounds out there. Brand is as strong a power forward as the undersized Mbah a Moute has had to deal with in some time so it’ll be interesting to see if the Sixers try and take advantage of that.
Andrew Bogut vs. Samuel Dalembert
After a career high scoring effort, Bogut gets to deal with an old nemesis in Dalembert. Traditionally a load on the defensive side of the ball if not such an offensive force, Dalmbert has been true to form over his last few games. In his last three efforts the Haitian Hero has shot just 2-13, but grabbed over 10 rebounds and had at least three blocks and steals combined in each game. Dalembert has been doing some great work for the people of Haiti after the recent earthquake devastation and continues to play while dealing with that aftermath. He can be looked at as an inspiration during these trying times for those in need over there. Bogut will need to get right into the Sixers long, athletic center and knock him back a little before trying to float his short hooks over him, otherwise Dalembert my really disrupt the Bucks big man’s touch.
Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour, Jerry Stackhouse, Kurt Thomas and Hakim Warrick
Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Willie Green and Mareese Speights
Holy young and talented bench! Look at the Sixers! Their bench sums up a lot of their current problems actually, a bunch of athletic guys who can play a few positions well but don’t really fit so well together in the system they’re in right now. If the Sixers had a true point guard to bring everything together they’d benefit quite a bit, but Lou Williams couldn’t fill that role and neither can Iverson. Speights is a beast and would be a great fit next to Bogut on the Bucks frontline. I dream. I’d think Warrick might be in line for some tick against an athletic squad like the Sixers, but his time recently seems to have depended on whether or not Ilyasova plays well upon entering the game.
Prediction: Bucks 103 – Sixers 99
Looking at the Sixers record and the Sixers talent doesn’t quite make sense, but like I said that’s the power of having someone to bring together a bunch of multi-talented players. They’re like a talented orchestra with no one to conduct. That being said they could still give the Bucks a great run based on the talent mismatches alone, so it’ll be important for Milwaukee the be hustling for loose balls, forcing turnovers and making open shots against the Sixers. If Milwaukee is missing and the Sixers can get out and run off long rebounds things could spiral out of control for the Bucks.