After a tough 126-117 loss in the season opener against Boston, the Philadelphia 76ers have a shot to reset and regroup in their home opener tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks. These two teams are not only both serious contenders – they have a surprisingly close all-time regular season record of 116-103 games favoring the Bucks. No doubt it’s the perfect Friday night primetime game on national TV.
Ring the bell
This will be the Bucks’ season opener, compared to game two for the Sixers. Hopefully, the team has spent the last 24 hours reviewing what went wrong, specifically in their defense, and getting their mindset back on track. After an offseason filled with proclamations of the team looking to become a defensive force, the Sixers spent most of the second half looking entirely lost while attempting to guard Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In fairness, the first game is always rocky, Tatum is notoriously tough to guard, and it’s hard to look like a solid defender compared to the literal reigning Defensive Player of the Year. But that said, keeping up with Tatum is a cakewalk compared to blocking Giannis Antetokounmpo, who put up 29.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game last year.
Onto the Bucks
The 76ers do have the advantage of Bucks All-Star F Khris Middleton missing tonight’s game as he continues recovery from his offseason wrist surgery. (Expect the Greek Freak and our old friend Jrue Holiday to carry the offensive load). Not to mention impressive offensive stretches by Tyrese Maxey. But if they’re going to be competitive, they’ll need a strong defensive showing, and a much more cohesive second unit than they had on Tuesday. Montrezl Harrell had more fouls (three) than points (2), Matisse Thybulle played just 23 seconds, and House and Melton combined for a mere six points.
The home opener gives the 76ers an opportunity for a fresh start to come together after a very patchwork game. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come together and play the way we know this team is capable of.
Bucks vs. 76ers Game Info
When: Thursday, October 20th, 2022
Tipoff: 7:30pm EST
Where: Philadelphia, PA | Wells Fargo Center
How to watch: TNT, NBA TV
F Khris Middleton (wrist)
F-G Joe Ingles (knee)
AP Photo/Ron Schwane