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76ers vs. Bucks preview: Elite Philly defense takes on fast-paced Milwaukee offense

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The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers have played a similar brand of basketball over the past three years. Don't expect a barnburner.

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

2012/2013 NBA Season
Mil_medium
(3-2, 2-0 away)
vs.
Phi
(4-2, 1-1 home)
November 12, 2012
Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
6:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Jennings PG Jrue Holiday
Monta Ellis SG Evan Turner
Tobias Harris SF Dorell Wright
Ersan Ilyasova PF Thaddeus Young
Samuel Dalembert C Lavoy Allen
2011/12 Advanced Stats
95.2 (3rd) Pace 91.0 (26th)
102.3 (14th) ORtg 97.5 (26th)
101.8 (17th) DRtg 97.1 (3rd)

On the 76ers: Liberty Ballers | SB Nation Philadelphia | Philadunkia

System dopplegangers. The Sixers employ a system Bucks fans should be very familiar with. Like Scott Skiles (pre-Monta Ellis, obviously), Doug Collins has an intense reputation that can wear on teams over time. He emphasizes the "next stop" over the "next shot," and the Sixers have so far fallen in line, winning games with a stout defense (3rd in points-per-game - 89.4), complemented by an offense that leaves much excitement to be desired (23rd in pace - 94.3).

Neither team is particularly good at scoring, which is a problem because scoring is required to win at basketball. The Sixers rank sixth in defensive efficiency (95.8), but sit at 27th in offensive efficiency (93.1). Philly ranks 28th in effective field goal percentage (44.47% efg), and is actually slightly worse than Milwaukee at drawing fouls (27th in free throw rate - 20.4). In short, come for the defense (Milwaukee averaged 88 ppg against Philly last year), stay for the crunch time play calling.

On Holiday. It's too easy to pick the point guard matchup as the one to watch, but dammit if I'm not an easy pleaser. Jrue Holiday has been the Sixers' biggest offensive threat in the absence of Andrew Bynum, averaging a very Chris Paul-ian 18.6 ppg (49.3% efg, 40.9% 3fg), 10.4 apg, 4 rpg, 1.6 spg. He's been very effective playing on an island (1.48 PPP, 60% fg on iso plays), and is the biggest reason the Sixers enter Monday's game on a three-game winning streak.

Holiday has been an incredible finisher (4.8 shots at the rim, 70.8% fg) and three point shooter (65% efg), but he also leads the NBA in turnovers (34). Not so coincidentally, Brandon Jennings is the NBA leader in steals (17) and steals-per-game (3.4). According to Synergy Sports, 41.4% of Holiday's overall production has come from the pick and roll (also where he commits a turnover 28.3% of the time), so Jennings and his merry band of big men should have plenty of swiping and transition opportunities.

No Bynum? No rebounding problem! Andrew Bynum is officially ruled out of Monday's game and word this afternoon is that he's now expected to be out until January, which surely has the Bucks' exhaling with relief. But even without Bynum, Philadelphia ranks 5th in the NBA in defensive rebounding rate (76.17), with Spencer Hawes (27 DRR) banging down low, and Dorell Wright (20.9 DRR) and Evan Turner (25.9 DRR) sneaking in from the perimeter to grab most of their boards.

Likewise, Milwaukee takes the league's second spot in defensive rebounding rate (77.78), thanks to the surging Larry Sanders (28.3 DRR), and expectations-meeting Samuel Dalembert (24.1 DRR). Mike Dunleavy actually leads the team in this category (28.9 DRR), but most of us would agree small samples sizes are the main offender for this anomaly.

There will be misses, there will be rebounds, there will be no scoring in the triple digits. Welcome to the modern era of Sixers-Bucks games.