The Bucks can't seem to win at home, but the road continues to look rather inviting.
A night after dropping their fourth straight home game, the Bucks visit Philadelphia tonight looking to end the Sixers' season-best one-game home winning streak (yes, they're 1-14 in the City of Brotherly Love) and extend their road winning streak to five games.
Larry Sanders did not travel with the team after rejoining them on the bench last night, so it will be business as usual for Jason Kidd and his short-handed Bucks up front.
Could the tanktastic Sixers make it two straight seasons not at the bottom of the league standings? Two days after taking down the LeBron-and-Kyrie-less Cavs for their first home win of the season, the Sixers are 5-28 and four games up (down?) in the loss column on the worst-in-the-universe Knicks. However, they're still the worst home team in the league, sporting an ugly 1-14 record at the Wells Fargo Center.
Of course, losing a lot doesn't mean the Sixers aren't interesting. Nerlens Noel's size and athleticism haven't translated to big-time production yet (9.7 PER, 42.9% TS), but the Bucks saw in their home opener what he's capable of doing as a rim protector and athletic finisher. Aside from that, Michael Carter-Williams is a walking triple-double threat, K.J. McDaniels might be the league's most surprising rookie, Tony Wroten is equal parts fun and maddeningly inconsistent, and the rest of the roster is peppered with young reclamation projects like Robert Covington (44.3% from three, 58% true shooting, 12.3 ppg).
Former Buck Luc Mbah a Moute is questionable with turf toe; he's averaging a career-best 12.2 points per game and has started 28 of 29 games for Philly, but his efficiency numbers are below even his own mediocre standards (11.0 PER, 47.8% TS). Hollis Thompson is still out after losing a reported 20 pounds due to a respiratory infection. Speaking of weight, Joel Embiid appears to have gained a fair bit of it while recovering from foot surgery, though on the plus side he's back on a basketball court -- even if it's just for basic shooting drills.
As for the Bucks? Still no Larry Sanders. Still no Ersan Ilyasova. That means we'll presumably see the now-familiar starting combo of Johnny O'Bryant and Zaza Pachulia up front.
Philly is dead last in eFG%, three point percentage, free throw percentage and turnover rate. So yeah, no surprise that they're currently dead last in overall offensive efficiency. Defensively they're a fair bit better, though like the Bucks their defense is keyed off effort-induced chaos. The Sixers lead the league in forcing opponent turnovers, helping offset a little the fact that they're in the league's bottom third in eFG% allowed, defensive rebounding, and free throw rate allowed.
Matching Up: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. K.J. McDaniels
I'm not sure how much we'll see Giannis and McDaniels matched up one-on-one, but hopefully it'll happen at some point. While McDaniels lacks Giannis' ridiculous length and ball-handling knack, you'll be hard-pressed to find a stronger, more explosive 6'6" guy anywhere.