On the 76ers:
The Bucks aim to avenge a bad November loss to the 76ers and push ahead of Philadelphia in the standings.
The first matchup. This was one of those games when Mike Redd made the Three Bucks. The Sixers just crushed the Bucks 90-79 in a frighteningly lame offensive display by Milwaukee, even by their "standards." The Bucks shot 33.8 % from the field, missed all 12 shots from beyond the arc, and most fans were spared since the game was not televised locally. Philadelphia came into that game with the worst record in the conference and had lost five in a row so it was one of the more shocking disappointments thus far.
Iggy. The 76ers won easily despite playing sans Andre Iguodala in the first matchup between these teams. Granted, the team is 5-7 without Iguodala compared to 10-16 with him, and he just returned to the lineup again on Tuesday to shoot 0-7 with 1 point in 33 minutes in a home loss to the Pacers... but his presence is not a good thing for Milwaukee, particularly if offense is at a premium and the team is forced to sub in Corey Maggette for Luc Mbah a Moute early on at the three.
Drive slow. In the preview of the postponed Hawks game, I wrote about how this Bucks team is the slowest team in terms of pace that Scott Skiles has coached in the NBA so far. Until last season, all of his teams had actually been fast -- they had all ranked in the top half of the NBA in pace.
Then the Bucks went out and played their very slowest game of the entire season against the Spurs -- an 84-possession dragger. And so from an efficiency perspective, this wasn't a terrible offensive game by the Bucks, and it wasn't a very good one defensively.
From 10-15. Philly takes more shots from 10-15 per game than any team in the NBA. They attempt 10.6 per game from that range, though they make a very average (15th) 37.6 % of them.
Not for the Meeks. The Bucks drafted Jodie Meeks 41st overall in the 2009 draft, part of first half of the second round that turned out pretty nicely, with 37-DeJuan Blair, 38-Jon Brockman, 39-Jonas Jerebko, 43-Marcus Thornton, and 44-Chase Budinger.
Milwaukee traded Meeks away last year, and it was understandable at the time and even in retrospect. Meeks made 28.1 % of his threes for Milwaukee, and that was supposed to be his thing. The Bucks added Jerry Stackhouse instead, and Stack was a really positive influence on the team in the locker room and even on the court more than a couple times.
But now Jodie is offering reminders of what could have been, as Jeremy Schmidt wrote the other day at Bucksketball. Meeks is making 40.2 % from deep this season, which would come in handy right about now for the Bucks. In his last three games, he is averaging 16.0 points while shooting 56.3 % from long range.
Then again, Meeks is shooting just 40.9 % overall from the field, which is even worse than Milwaukee's NBA-worst 41.7 % field goal percentage, though all of those threes do boost up Jodie's TS% to respectable levels.
No TO. The Sixers have the best turnover rate in the NBA -- 12.70 (through Dec. 8), which represents the percentage of their possessions that end in a turnover. The Bucks' previous opponent, the Spurs, is second overall. The Bucks are 10th.
Easy? This is the unofficial start of the "easy" part of the schedule for the Bucks. But keep in mind that the Bucks aren't even favored tonight... Philly opened as four-point favorites.