Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks (21-18) welcome Jrue Holiday and the Philadelphia 76ers (17-24) to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the second of their four game series.
Sixers: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Dorell Wright, Lavoy Allen
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders
The Sixers surely have not had the season they had hoped for. They shook things up in the offseason, trading away their franchise cornerstone Andre Iguodala and acquiring Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard blockbuster deal. Bynum hasn’t played a game yet this season thanks to a nagging knee injury, and the Sixers have struggled immensely without the post presence they hoped would turn their franchise around.
The one bright spot for Philadelphia this year has been the emergence of point guard Jrue Holiday, who has upped his numbers in almost every category and is playing at an All-Star level. He has really elevated his game and is carrying the load for this struggling Sixers squad. The numbers tell the whole story:
The last time these two met was on November 12th in Philly. The Bucks won 105-96 behind a ridiculous stat line from Brandon Jennings; 33 points on 12-21 shooting, 8 assists and 4 steals with a +25 PER. As a whole the Bucks shot 51% in that game and won despite committing 23 turnovers. Jrue Holiday scored 26 points along with 8 assists and 4 steals that night.
If Brandon Jennings wants a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Stars, outplaying Holiday a second time would go a long way.
The Bucks will most certainly have the fresh legs in this one, as they are going on two days rest. On the other hand, the Sixers lost a 90-85 heartbreaker in Philly last night to the Spurs, in a game they had under control until San Antonio swung the momentum in the final minutes.
The key for the Bucks in this game is to attack the basket. With Bynum out, the Sixers have no true defensive presence in the paint. In their last meeting the Bucks dominated the Sixers’ front court, scoring 42 points in the paint on the game. If the Bucks can get to the rim and play solid defense, this is a game the Bucks will win.
Let’s just hope they don’t decide to extend yesterday’s holiday an extra day.