The Milwaukee Bucks are in a funk, partially due to injuries, but they’re also just generally playing funky while trying to acclimate their new arrivals while getting Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis back up to speed after their injuries. They have a chance to snap their two-game losing streak against a Philadelphia 76ers team that will be without its three best players and several reserves.
Where We’re At
The Bucks are sorely missing both Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton right now, but neither of them are gonna be walking through that tunnel anytime soon. Brook’s back issues haven’t come with a timetable while Middleton is still in the health and safety protocols due to his positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The frustrating part about the Wizards loss on Sunday was how the Bucks battled back to keep it close at the end, only for sloppy offensive possessions to cost them any chance of pulling it out. As a positive, Rebounding improved considerably with an 84.6 DREB%, but they allowed 20-26 shooting at the rim. Washington got whatever they wanted in the pick-and-roll. Giannis Antetokounmpo played 39 minutes as well, and this team will require even more of their superstar to find their way out of this little rut. Hopefully his presidential address on Monday lends him the requisite power to push the Bucks over the top.
In a stroke of good fortune for the Bucks, but quite unfortunate circumstances for Philly, Joel Embiid tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Hopefully he recovers to full health soon.
New ESPN story: Joel Embiid tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the fourth Philadelphia 76er to enter the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols in the past week and leaving the East-leading 76ers short handed entering a tough stretch of games. https://t.co/kUND3WTYcK— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 8, 2021
He joins Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris and Isaiah Joe as Sixers players out due to health and safety protocols. With no Ben Simmons either, this team is essentially a shell of itself for this contest. They’re also coming off a back-to-back after falling 103-96 against the New York Knicks on Monday. And yet, that shouldn’t mean any Milwaukee fan should feel confident. Not just because of how meh the Bucks have looked of late, but this Sixers team just pulled off a victory a little while ago without Embiid. That 113-103 win over Portland featured contributions across the board. Nothing can be taken for granted right now, but the Bucks should theoretically not be as abused either on the boards (outside of Andre Drummond perhaps) or inside at the rim. Still, this Sixers team has been shooting spectacularly, and lead the league in points per 100 possessions per Cleaning The Glass. Their 56.5% effective field goal percentage is best in the league too — something one would expect to regress as the sample size grows larger.
As I said earlier, the place Milwaukee could try to make hay is in the boards, Philly is bottom five in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. That should mitigate some of the Bucks issues of late, and hopefully they can capitalize against the Sixers with timely second opportunities on the offensive glass.
Donte, Khris and Brook are the only players listed on Milwaukee’s injury report. For once, they’re the health(ier) team in a matchup.
Player to Watch
Seth Curry went dynamite in last year’s playoffs and never looked back. He’s at nearly 50% from deep on five attempts per game, and his effective field goal percentage is 70%, 70 PERCENT! Add in the fact he’s been forced into a larger role without Simmons and Harris for most of this year, and it’s been an impressive start for the younger Curry. Milwaukee will have their hands full trying to prevent him from going off.
Game 11: Against Philadelphia, Milwaukee will...
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Win big (10 or more points)
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