The Milwaukee Bucks (2-8), losers of six consecutive games, take on the Philadelphia 76ers (5-8), losers of four straight. Or to put it another way, the extremely movable object meets the very resistable force.
What to Watch For: Bucks
For many of you: nothing. This game isn’t covered on local TV. Ted Davis will have the radio call on WTMJ starting with a pregame show at 5:40 CT.
Otherwise, expect the Bucks to shake up the starting lineup. Whether it’s Khris Middleton, John Henson or Ersan Ilyasova, it doesn’t seem sustainable for the Bucks to keep starting Ekpe Udoh next to Zaza Pachulia. In nearly 20 minutes of play against Portland, Udoh notched 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls. If the switch doesn’t happen in this game — whether it’s because the 76ers are starting a big lineup or because Larry Drew is waiting for Ilyasova to get prepped for starting minutes — then wait to see it later in the week.
After a DNP-CD against Portland, I would also expect Giannis Antetokounmpo to see some minutes against the 76ers — and to see him play with a smile on his face. The teenager got to meet up with his older brother Thanasis last night. Thanasis was drafted by the 76ers’ D-League franchise, the Delaware 87ers, who play their inaugural game Saturday in Canton. The older Antetokounmpo is not be eligible to be called up to the parent team this season and will enter the 2014 NBA Draft next summer.
What to Watch For: 76ers
Thaddeus Young missed Wednesday’s game against Toronto and a practice on Thursday for personal reasons. He is not expected to play tonight.
The hot start of Michael Carter-Williams helped propel the 76ers to a 4-2 start to the season. In nine games played this season, the 6’6″ rookie point guard from has averaged 16.6 points and 7.4 assists per game. Against Toronto, he returned to the lineup following a four-game absence for a foot bruise, scoring ten points but fumbling away six turnovers.
Bucks: Larry Sanders and Carlos Delfino are out. Brandon Knight is doubtful due to his right hamstring injury, but he did make the trip to Philadelphia.
76ers: Arnett Moultrie (ankle injury) and Nerlens Noel (knee injury) are out. Thaddeus Young (personal reasons) is also listed as out.
PG Luke Ridnour
SG O.J. Mayo
SF Caron Butler
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Zaza Pachulia
PG Michael Carter-Williams
SG James Anderson
SF Evan Turner
PF Spencer Hawes
C Daniel Orton
Simon Gratz, Rasheed Wallace’s North Philadelphia high school, is now a charter school and the early results of the transformation have been very positive. NPR profiled the change, which some experts hail as a success story to emulate and others dismiss as a model of sustainable change.
Jeremy’s For Recreational Purposes Only Prediction (aka Betsketball)
Line: Sixers -3.5
We’re working on a name. I feel like maybe we can do better than Betsketball, which I’m partial to, I will say. It’s important to figure out a name for this part of the previews, because they will keep recurring … ESPECIALLY IF I KEEP DOMINATING THEM SO HARD.
Last game I predicted the Blazers would cover -4 and the total would be under 197. Nailed and nailed. Call me Jimmy Carter (because working with Habitat for Humanity would likely involve using a nail gun and he has been prominently involved with Habitat. I promise this makes sense.) Tonight, the Bucks are in Philadelphia playing the Sixers, who have only a slightly worse defense than the Bucks. Given Philly’s current fall back to Earth and Milwaukee’s existing health and desperation, I like the Bucks +3.5 and the over on 201.
On the year: 2-0 (1-0 spread and 1-0 over/under)
Choose the Form of the Destructor: Spencer Hawes
The tall baller from the G.O.P. is Philadelphia’s best rebounder, and rebounding is one of the Bucks’ biggest issues at the moment. The Bucks rank 25th in offensive rebounding rate (24.0%) and dead last in defensive rebounding rate (70.8%). Hawes, on the other hand, is averaging 10.2 rebounds per game — along with 18.2 points and 1.7 blocks.
Plus, it would be fitting for this Bucks season to include a Spencer Hawes World Domination Game.
The game isn’t on TV, so this negative nelly personally suspects that it’s the Bucks’ destiny to do something positive when a big swath of its fans can’t see it happen.