Bucks vs. Sixers Preview: Two Offensive Defenses

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Looking to snap out of a recent slump and inch closer to the seventh seed, the Milwaukee Bucks will take on a Philadelphia 76ers team also in the midst of an offensive surge and defensive slump.

2012/2013 NBA Season
Phi
(27-43, 20-17 home)
vs.
Mil_medium
(34-35, 16-18 road)
March 27, 2013
Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
6:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Jrue Holiday PG Brandon Jennings
Damien Wilkins SG Monta Ellis
Evan Turner SF Marquis Daniels
Thaddeus Young PF Ersan Ilyasova
Spencer Hawes C Larry Sanders
2012/13 Advanced Stats
90.9 (21st) Pace 94.6 (4th)
101.5 (27th) ORtg 103.6 (21st)
105.8 (15th) DRtg 105.1 (11th)

On the Sixers: Liberty Ballers | Philadunkia

A battle of offensive defenses. The Milwaukee Bucks have lost six of eight, but the ninth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers may just be the spoon full of slurry that cures what ails them. The Bucks have won three straight against the Sixers, who sit a mere seven games back of Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. In a very un-Doug Collins fashion, over their last five games Philadelphia has been as bad on defense (107.6 DefRtg) as they've been good on offense (99.9 OffRtg). Opponents have feasted on Philadelphia's Bartleby, the Scrivener-like approach to perimeter defense, shooting 42.3% beyond the arc and 46.1% from 15-24 feet. Of course, the Bucks haven't faired much better over the same stretch (99.5 OffRtg, 106 DefRtg), allowing 37.9% 3fg and 40% from 15-24 feet.

Pythagorean Wins. In case you missed it about two months ago, Brew Hoop alum Alex Boeder wrote an excellent article at Bucks.com explaining expected wins and losses, and how they apply to the Milwaukee Bucks. Updating that story, the team's current expected record is 31-38. Their "real" record is 34-35. I'm not sure if it's better to be the worst playoff team or the best ping-pong ball in the NBA Lottery. Nevermind; they're the same thing.

Ersan Ilya-soma holiday from mediocrity. Like the flavor profile of a Sour Patch Kid, we started sour and end sweet. Ilyasova, around his recent back injury, has strung together a nice offensive run over his last four games, averaging 21.5 points on 50% shooting (33.3% 3fg), and 12.5 rebounds per game. Most striking, Ilyasova is getting to the line at an increased rate (4.8 ft vs. 2.3 ft on the season), and hitting a lot of mid-range jumpers (65% fg between 9-23 feet). Of course, his game has always been one rife with spot ups and the sporadic bailout put back, but his recent shot selection from the least desirable spots on the floor has been pretty solid. Now, about that defense...

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