Sixers/Bucks: Preview

Sixers (3-9, 1-5 road, 12th East) @ Bucks (7-4, 6-0 home, 3rd East)

Gametime: 7:00 PM CT
TV:  FSN Wisconsin/League Pass/NBA Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @ NBA.com
Bucks Gameday
Sixers Gameday

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Desmond Mason / Yi Jianlian / Andrew Bogut

Sixers Lineup: Andre Miller / Willie Green / Andre Iguodala / Reggie Evans / Samuel Dalembert

Bucks Injuries: Mo Williams and Desmond Mason both sprained ankles on Saturday. Williams came back to finish with 19/10, while Mason is optimistic he'll be ready for Tuesday. Mike Ruffin is out another 2-4 weeks with a fractured wrist.
Sixers Injuries: Kyle Korver practiced Monday and has been cleared to play. Calvin Booth missed practice with an ankle injury.

06/07 Series: 2-1, Bucks. The home team won each game, the Bucks winning 98-94 on November 22 and 109-90 on February 24. The November game was missing Mo Williams, Charlie Villanueva, Allen Iverson and Chris Webber, with Redd scoring 32 in an ugly game for both teams. Philly won their home game 110-97 despite 20/24 from Andrew Bogut. Willie Green went off for 30 on 13/19 fg.

Key Points:

  • This game will feature teams going in opposite directions. Philly comes in losers of three in a row and seven of eight, while the Bucks have won five in a row, seven of nine, and all six of their home games. This is the kind of game the Bucks must win if they want to establish themselves as a real playoff team: at home against a weaker conference foe. Losing tonight wipes out a lot of the momentum built up over the past two weeks, though the Bucks can't afford to dwell on this game (positively or negatively) given they play tomorrow night in Atlanta.
  • The Sixers lost to Golden State 100-98 in OT at home on Saturday, dropping their record in games decided by five points or less to 1-5. In contrast, the Bucks are 3-1 in close games. Iguodala led the Sixers with 26/11 along with five steals, while Andre Miller scored 23 on 9/15 fg. Louis Williams scored 18 points off the bench and has averaged 19.3 ppg in his last three outings.
  • The Sixers rank 27th in the league in scoring (95.8 pts/100 possessions), but have been solid defensively, ranking ninth at 99.9. The Bucks meanwhile rank score 104.0 and allow 104.6 per 100 possessions (13th/21st). Both teams rank in the bottom third of the league in pace, and the Sixers come into the game leading the league in fewest transition points allowed. That's one of the quirky stats that I don't have an official source for, but the Sixers website claims it. If memory serves correctly, the Bucks were close to the top of that category earlier in the season.
  • Both teams are in the top ten in rebound rate, the Sixers at 6th (.518) and the Bucks 8th (.516). The Sixers are led by Reggie Evans (9.0 rpg, 19.7 rr), who perennially is among the league's most efficient rebounders.
  • Iguodala is among the talented fourth year players who turned down contract extensions before the season but haven't really improved so far this year (Josh Smith, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor and Luol Deng being among the others). His scoring average is the same as last year (18.2 ppg) but his accuracy from the field and line are down and he's turning the ball over a whopping 4.5 times per game. Still, he's also averaging nearly seven rebounds and five assists per game. Iguodala went from being largely underutilized before the Iverson trade to now needing additional help offensively. Tom Enlund found a couple gems from Iguodala after their recent loss to the Wizards:

    "Just the same old thing," forward Andre Iguodala told reporters after the loss to the Wizards. "It's like mass confusion out there on the court. The whole game, we just were never really on the same page. We were just awful."

    Oh, and by the way, "We suck in practice too," said Iguodala.

  • Redd, Williams and Bogut have been the keys during the five game winning streak. Redd is averaging 28 ppg on 53% shooting during the streak, while Williams is averaging 15.6 ppg and 10 apg. Bogut has averaged 17.2 ppg, 9 rpg and 3.2 bpg on 59% fgs. The Bucks have have averaged 25.2 apg and a 1.97 assist/TO ration in that span. To put that in perspective, Detroit leads the league with a 1.94 a/to ratio and Utah leads the league with 26 apg.
  • Bogut averaged 14/13 in three games against Philly last year, including his monster 20 point/24 rebound effort.
  • Sixers GM Billy King was one of Yi Jianlian's biggest fans on draft night and reportedly offered the Bucks a package including both of his first round picks, which he eventually used on SF Thaddeus Young (12th) and SG Daequan Cook (21st). Cook was then sent to Miami in a deal for Jason PF Smith. Both rookies have been coming off the bench, with Smith posting 5.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 0.8 bpg in 17 mpg while Young is averaging 4.4 ppg and 3 rpg in 10 mpg.
  • In the last two games we've seen brief glimpses of Yi and Charlie Villanueva playing together at the C/PF slots, and the Sixers could offer another favorable matchup for that combo. Behind Samuel Dalembert their only real center is former Buck Calvin Booth, who isn't much of a post threat obviously.
  • For more on the Sixers, check out our buddies at Sixers 4 Guidos; yes, Ricky and Raffaele are actually two Sixers fans from Italy.
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