Milwaukee Bucks Game Preview: Last Rites in Philly?

Nov 12, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Marquis Daniels (6) during the third quarter at the Wachovia Center. The Bucks defeated the Sixers 105-96. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks are locked in two very different playoff races and they can stick a dagger in one of them with a win in Philadelphia tonight.

On the one hand, they are chasing Boston in an effort to avoid the Heat in the first round.  Boston lost last night, and plays again tonight in Cleveland.  Milwaukee trails Boston by only 1.5 games despite losing six of their last eight contests.  Throw in the fact that Kevin Garnett is out for the next week or two, and the Celtics have even more chance of losing ground in one of the most pathetic seeding battles in NBA history.

The Bucks are also trying to seal the lottery fates of Washington, Toronto, and Philadelphia.  The Bucks have a 7.5-game lead over the 76ers, and 8.5-game leads over Toronto and Washington.  A win tonight over Philadelphia would bump the Bucks’ lead over Philly to 8.5 games and make a near-certainty of their first playoff appearance in three seasons with just 12 games left in the season.

Milwaukee has won the three games it has played against the 76ers this season, including a 94-92 victory at home on Feb. 13 in their most recent contest.

Projected Lineups

76ers: Jrue Holiday, Damien Wilkins, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders

Injuries

Luc Mbah a Moute traveled with the team to Philadelphia and is listed as questionable with a turf toe injury. For the 76ers, Andrew Bynum and noted Bucks killer Jason Richardson are both out following knee surgeries.

Some numbers

For starters, here’s one to ponder: Marquis Daniels has converted 20.0% of his field goal attempts between 16 and 24 feet.  To his credit, he’s done well to make himself a decent corner three-point shooter this season (10-of-27), but my gosh, 20% on long twos.  Twenty freaking percent!

As for the team stats, the two teams compare rather evenly.  The Bucks are better on the offensive glass and at creating free throw attempts.  Other than that, the differences are negligible.

Offense Four Factors Defense Four Factors
Rk Team SRS ORtg DRtg Pace eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA eFG% TOV% DRB% FT/FGA
19 Milwaukee Bucks -1.87 103.6 105.1 94.6 .475 12.7 27.9 .179 .491 14.4 71.2 .203
24 Philadelphia 76ers -3.70 101.5 105.8 90.9 .481 12.6 24.8 .144 .497 13.8 73.8 .206
League Average 0.00 105.7 105.7 92.0 .495 13.7 26.6 .204 .495 13.7 73.4 .204
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2013.

Finally, one optimistic note (for Bucks fans) from the 76ers media guide:

Opponents have scored 20+ points off turnovers in four of the past five games and are averaging 18.5 points off turnovers over the past 12 games, up from an average of 13.7 the first 58 games of the season.

76ers head coach Doug Collins inserted guard Damien Wilkins into the starting lineup nine games ago, so they may be a correlation between his increased minutes and the extra points off turnovers for Philadelphia’s opponents.

Even more than usual, the Bucks need their guards to defend.

Topics: Damien Wilkins, Luc Mbah A Moute, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers

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