The Sixers are in revenger mode as they face the Milwaukee Bucks yet again following their convincing loss Thursday night.
It won’t be easy for Philly, but they have their shot at redemption against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks following Thursday’s slow start. The Sixers are hopefully a bit more energized after their day of rest.
As unfair as it may be, everything falls on Joel Embiid (if he plays) once again, as Simmons will miss his fourth straight game. Tobias Harris is clearly not fully healthy, so he cannot be relied upon as the team is used to. The MVP hopeful does, however, have a chance to prove he’s deserving if he can lead his team to victory against a fully healthy Bucks team.
It was the combination of a slow offense and a porous defense that dug the Sixers into an early whole. Today should be about getting off to a hot start and establishing defensive dominance early.
While the Sixers managed to put up 117 points in Thursday’s loss, it took a bit to get going, especially for stars Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, who combined for four points in the first quarter. The Sixers cannot rely on Harris right now, nor should they attempt to. Focus on Joel Embiid, surround him with shooters, and let Shake Milton/George Hill run the pick and roll when Embiid is not posting up.
The defense will be the trickier fix. The Sixers allowed the Bucks to shoot 55.6% from the field on Thursday and an unreal 20/40 for a scorching 50% from three. The defense was obviously tired from the jump, and it’s understandable considering the team’s schedule. Understandable, but not excusable.
No matter what Doc Rivers claims, this cannot be a “scheduled loss.” While it’s true that you won’t win every game and want your players fresh for the playoffs, going in with a losing mentality or admitting to one after the game is not just inexcusable. It’s also not just because “it’s Philadelphia.” It’s inexcusable because the Sixers are a contender, or at least they’re supposed to be.