Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
NBA: Saturday, February 22, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 8:30 PM ET
The Philadelphia 76ers head to Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Saturday night to meet the Milwaukee Bucks for the third time this season. The series is tied, as each team has been victorious on the home court. The 76ers beat the Bucks 121-109 as 3-point home dogs on Christmas Day, while the Bucks outlasted Philly 112-101 as 9-point home favorites on February 6.
Philadelphia brings a four-game winning streak into this clash, but the Sixers are winless in five straight outings on the road. Milwaukee has won six of its last seven games overall and is undefeated in three straight showings on the home court.
The Sixers barely outlasted the wounded NetsPhiladelphia is coming off a 112-104 overtime victory to the Brooklyn Nets this past Thursday. The Sixers overcame a 20-point first-half deficit, but it was a troublesome performance against the Nets who missed their best player Kyrie Irving. Phila hit only four treys out of 22 attempts from deep (18.2%), and the Sixers handed out just 19 assists. Still, Joel Embiid had a big night, accounting for 39 points and 16 rebounds, while Tobias Harris added 22 points, 12 boards, and six assists.
"Having fun means a lot of things," Embiid said. "This year, I haven't been smiling as much as previous years. That doesn't mean I'm not having fun or that everything is not going well. It's about playing basketball the right way. I feel like the first part of the season, I was trying to make sure that everyone was comfortable. But if we're going to go somewhere, I've got to be one of the guys and that starts on defense and playing hard, doing the little things."
The 76ers sit at the fifth spot of the Eastern Conference standings, just half a game behind the fourth-seeded Miami Heat. The third-seeded Celtics are four games ahead of them, but the Sixers would like to at least earn the first-round home-court advantage. However, the Sixers have been terrible on the road thus far. They’ve won only two of the previous 11 road contests. Phila scores 109.1 points per 100 possessions (19th in the NBA) on 46.5% shooting from the field (10th), surrendering 106.5 points in a return (5th) on 45.4% shooting from the field (12th).
The Bucks had an easy job against the PistonsMilwaukee is coming off a convincing 126-106 victory at the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. The Bucks stormed the front and built a 29-point lead until the break, so they had a relaxing second half at Little Caesars Arena. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a monstrous line of 33 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block, while the reigning MVP finished the game with a plus-39 rating. Khris Middleton had 28 points and eight boards, while Eric Bledsoe added 19 points and six dimes.
"That was a really impressive first half and I thought we did a lot of good things in the second half, too," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Our energy had been good the last two days, but that doesn't always equate to good play. There were a lot of positives for the first game after the break."
The Bucks are topping the Eastern Conference at the moment, seven games ahead of the second-seeded Toronto Raptors. Also, the Bucks are five games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the best record in the league. They allow only 102.0 points per 100 possessions (1st in the league) on 41.2% shooting from the field (also 1st) and 35.9% from beyond the arc (19th). On the other side, the Bucks score 113.7 points per 100 possessions (3rd) on 48.1% shooting from the field (2nd) and 36.1% from downtown (15th). Milwaukee is first in the league in total rebounds per game (51.8) and seventh in assists per contest (26.1).
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Philadelphia:
- 1-10 ATS in the last 11 games on the road
- 3-6 ATS in the last nine games overall
- 6-1 ATS in the last seven games overall
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games against the Eastern Conference
- 4-1 ATS in the last five home games against Philadelphia