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Sixers Face Unpredictable Bucks in MLK Matinee

Jan 16, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT

The Philadelphia 76ers look to have the advantage against the Milwaukee Bucks, but shouldn't assume a W just yet.

At first blush, the Milwaukee Bucks of today’s MLK Day matinee would appear to be the
latest in a long line of shabby Sixers opponents at the Wells Fargo
Center, another chance for an easy Philly W that says little about
whether or not the team actually deserves to be considered among the
cream of the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are just 4-7— with all seven
of their losses coming from their seven games on the road—and rank in
the bottom half of the league in both offense and defense, far behind
the Sixers’ top-rated D and third-rated O. Of their four wins, only the
Spurs ranks as impressive, and losses include the Kings, Suns and
Bobcats.

Naturally, there’s a “however” coming, and it’s this:
Center and nominal franchise player Andrew Bogut has missed five of the
Bucks’ games this year, all of which were losses for MIlwaukee. The team
is 4-2 in games where Bogut plays, and he is expected to play today
against the Sixers after missing the game against the Mavericks with
post-cocussion symptoms. As we’ve detailed here countless times,
opponents with size have caused problems for the relatively small Sixers
this year, most recently in Washington on Saturday, where
skilled-but-sloppy seven-footer JaVale McGee went off for 23 points, 18
rebounds, and five blocks.

Still, the Sixers have statistically been the superior team all year,
and of course are thus undefeated at the Wells Fargo Center in five
games at home. A key to the victory today will be winning the point
guard battle, as Bucks one-time rookie sensation Brandon Jennings has
been having his best year as a pro so far (18 and 5 on reasonable 44%
shooting) while Jrue Holiday has struggled greatly in his last couple
games, shooting poorly (36% over his last three games) and failing to
distribute effectively (just eight assists to go with seven turnovers
over that span), even causing Coach Collins to yank him early in the
Sixers’ blowout win against the Wizards on Friday. (“I made a couple
careless turnovers and they aren’t acceptable,” an understanding Holiday
said after the game. “He did what a coach is supposed to do.”)

2:00 tip from the WFC. It took the Sixers 25 games to get into double
digits in wins last year, they can nearly halve that in 2012 with a win
today. IIIIINNNN THE NAAAAAAME OF LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!


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