Tuesday, January 22, 8:00 PM (EST) at BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
22-28 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
25-25 (3rd Central, 7th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
THE ENEMY: B. Jennings | M. Ellis | E. Ilyasova | L.R. Mbah a Moute | S. Dalembert
by Max Rappaport and Liz Sim
MATCHUP TO WATCH
G Brandon Jennings vs. G Jrue Holiday
Brandon Jennings will likely be a primary focus of Coach Collins and his players in Wednesday’s meeting with the Bucks.
The 6-1 point guard struggled Monday against the Washington Wizards, scoring just seven points in 17 attempts after scoring 26 on 27 the game prior (vs. DET). Jennings is leading his team in 30-point games this season, with six, and is one of only nine players in the NBA with six or more 30+ games. One of those aforementioned performances was in a 105-96 victory over Philadelphia on November 12; he scored 25 and dished out seven assists in his team's most-recent meeting with the Sixers, a 110-102 win on January 22.
Despite seeing his shooting efficiency drop to 31.9% from the field, 29.0% beyond the arc, and 62.5% from the free-throw line over his last five, the 2009 first-round pick still had two 20+ point games during that stretch and has averaged 16.4 points and 6.6 assists.
The Sixers, though understand that Jennings is a threat to go off on any given night.
He and Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas are the only two players in the league with multiple 20-point quarter performances this season.
If any Sixer can go toe to toe with Jennings, it's Jrue Holiday. On the year, Holiday is 13thin the league in points per game (19.1 PPG) and fourth in assists per game (8.8 APG), a jump ahead of Jennings, who stands 16th in both categories.
Quickly gaining recognition as on of the league’s top guards, the 22-year-old Holiday became the youngest Sixer to be named to an All-Star game, when he was added as a reserve in the East for 2013.
The Sixers are 11-8 when Holiday records a 20+ points in a game, and he’s already had 19 such performances this season. That number nearly doubles his 20+ point mark in 2011-12 (10).
The Milwaukee Bucks are number one in the NBA in blocked shots this season. Led by big man Larry Sanders, who leads the league in that category, Milwaukee features a slew of shot rejecters in addition to the aforementioned Sanders – Samuel Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh, and John Henson.
Also ranking seventh in steals, the Bucks create offensive possessions and limit those of their opponents with their ability to make plays on the defensive end.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, their defensive anchor, Larry Sanders, will miss Wednesday's game with a back injury.
Trends and Connections
The Sixers have lost seven of their last 12 meetings with the Bucks and are 0-2 this season. However, the last time the Bucks have won three in a row against the Sixers was during the 2005-06 season.
Milwaukee center Samuel Dalembert spent eight seasons with the Sixers before being traded to the Sacramento Kings in 2010. Current Philly center Kwame Brown spent part of the 2011-12 season on the Bucks' roster, but did not play due to a pectoral muscle injury.
With the Sixers holding the ninth-best record in the Eastern Conference (22-28), a victory over eighth-seeded Milwaukee (25-25) would bring them within just two wins within a playoff spot. Should the Sixers and Bucks finish the 2012-13 season with identical records, Philly would need to win each of its two remaining games against Milwaukee in order to avoid handing the Bucks the head-to-head tie-breaker that would determine seeding.