Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 5-6
Inactive: Chris Douglas Roberts, Michael Redd, Darington Hobson
Philadelphia 76ers (Doug Collins) 2-10
Inactive: Andre Iguodala
Game Time: 6:00 PM (CST)
The Other Guys: Philadunkia
Brandon Jennings vs. Jrue Holiday
For as impressive some of Jennings’ games have been, Holiday is a better comparison for him than the Russell Westbrook’s and Derrick Rose’s of the world. While Jennings has had significantly more success in the league than Holiday, their numbers matchup pretty closely. Holiday’s perimeter shooting, thought to be his biggest weakness coming into the draft last season, has come around this year. He still isn’t likely to hit more than one or two in a game, but he must be paid attention to all over the court. His size and athleticism have people projecting great things for him defensively. Jennings is coming off a very good game against the Lakers and has been the Bucks best offensive player lately.
John Salmons vs. Evan Turner
Turner hasn’t had the instant impact on the league the way John Wall has, but there have been some signs that he could be productive. His rebounding numbers have been good and he’s improved over the last two games in getting to the free throw line, attempting 14 after taking just 19 in the first 10. Surely he won’t give Salmons the same troubles that Kobe Bryant did on Tuesday, which could result in a better effort from Salmons. Milwaukee’s shooting guard seemed worn down by the fourth quarter on Tuesday, making some terrible decisions that seemed to be him taking the easy way out.
Luc Mbah a Moute vs. Andres Nocioni
For everything Mbah a Moute does defensively, he still hasn’t brought much to the table on the other end this season. He’s down to 36.7% shooting on the season and sometimes it’s painfully clear that small forward is not a position that suits him, at least offensively. It’s a peculiar situation that he’s in. An impact defensive player will always find a way to get minutes on Scott Skiles coached teams, but if he hasn’t improved virtually at all now in his third year in the league, one has to wonder if he’ll ever manage to be a productive offensive small forward. Bruce Bowen he ain’t, and he probably never will be. And yet, I’d still rather be starting him than Andres Nocioni. Hmm.
Drew Gooden vs. Elton Brand
No, the Sixers aren’t very good this year, but don’t blame Brand. He’s finally coming back to life after three years of surgeries, injuries and inconsistent performance on the court. If the Sixers can find a capable center to pair him with in the front court, suddenly they don’t look so much like a 2-10 team. He’s back up over 50% shooting for the first time in four years and has been a young Sixers team’s best player through 12 games. Gooden’s coming on himself though, posting back-to-back double doubles against the Warriors and Lakers.
Andrew Bogut vs. Spencer Hawes
What better way for Bogut to get back on track offensively than to face Hawes, possibly the worst defensive center in the league. On top of his defensive liabilities, Hawes drifts around, being capable of shooting from all over, but not really good at it. His issues have limited him to just 15 minutes-per-game this season and that says a lot about him, as he has just Tony Battie and Marreese Speights behind him. If the Bucks can get their perimeter players going, Bogut may be best served for a while posting up less and just doing garbage work around the rim for points, at least until he feels a little more confident in his right hand. He won’t be healthy this season, but with each passing day, it likely isn’t getting worse. Fortunately, he’s still been a dominant defender, even if his offense has been a problem.
Corey Maggette, Keyon Dooling, Earl Boykins, Ersan Ilyasova and (maybe) Larry Sanders
Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Jason Kapono, Thaddeus Young and (maybe) Jodie Meeks
Lots of athleticism and sporadically big games mixed with a little shooting on the Sixers bench. On paper they have an attractive looking group here, but they rarely get consistent production out of the group. Ready for a crazy stat: Kapono has attempted just one three in 70 minutes this season. Bizarre. Everyone’s on pins and needles (not really though) to see if Sanders can get a few more minutes and be productive again after a nice run against the Lakers, while the Bucks backup point guard position remains in the tiny grasp of Boykins as Dooling continues to struggle.
Prediction: Bucks 102 – 76ers 87
Milwaukee’s defense should recover and their offense should remain adequate against a very mediocre Sixers squad. This is a great opportunity for a blowout win on the road, anything less would be a disappointment.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (to the right).