The “Seven Sixers” take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at 7:30PM at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers (8-3) face off against the Bucks (4-6) on a back-to-back tonight in Philly. The 76ers are coming off a loss last night to the New York Knicks, while the Bucks are also coming off a loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday. The Sixers will be undermanned again, playing without three starters and down a total of six players on the roster. Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Isaiah Joe are all out due to health and safety protocols. Grant Riller is still out dealing with meniscus surgery recovery, while Ben Simmons still is ramping up for a return to play.
The Bucks have struggled a little bit to start the season and are dealing with some injuries of their own. Khris Middleton is out due to health and safety protocols, and Brook Lopez and Donte DiVencenzo are out due to a back injury and ankle surgery recovery. Giannis Antetokounmpo has tried to keep his team afloat by posting MVP-like numbers. Take a look at some things to watch for in tonight’s matchup:
The Sixers have been playing hard regardless of the injuries/COVID-19 issues they have been facing, but you can tell it is taking a toll on the players. Doc has been running seven and eight-man rotations, and guys are missing shots because of heavy legs. Tyrese Maxey has played 128 minutes in the last three games. He is a young player, but the minutes are taking a toll on him as well.
Coach Doc Rivers mentioned after the Detroit game that Tyrese Maxey looked to him to come out of the game in the early 4th quarter, but he couldn’t take him out because he needed to have a ball-handler on the floor at all times. Doc committed to playing ten players tonight to try to even out the minutes for the guys who have been carrying the load.
Guarding the Bucks
This Sixers team has fought hard to win games without key pieces, but they win games when they play hard on defense. Will they have enough energy on a back-to-back to play hard on both ends of the court?
Also, who will have the assignment of guarding the Greek Freak? Doc will more than likely lean on Drummond or Danny Green to guard him without many other options.
A bright spot early in the season for this team is the play of Furkan Korkmaz. He has improved tremendously and has become a major piece for the Sixers on offense. Korkmaz is averaging a career-high 13.1 points per game and is one of the league leaders in 4th quarter points.
In order for the Sixers to stay competitive against the Bucks, they will need Furkan to be firing on all cylinders. Hopefully, he has enough legs after playing heavy minutes in the last two outings.
You can catch tonight’s action on TNT at 7:30 PM and expect the Sixers to cover (+5.5).