76ers Look to Bounce Back in Milwaukee

by Lauren Rosen

The 76ers (39-19) have a chance to bounce back quickly Thursday on the second night of their back-to-back, as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks (35-22).

The Bucks, however, will be well rested awaiting the Sixers’ arrival, as Milwaukee last took the court Monday in a 128-127 overtime loss to the Suns. 

Thursday’s matchup marks the opener of a two-game set between two of the league’s best, with the Sixers atop the Eastern Conference, and the Bucks occupying the No. 3 spot [with the No. 2 Brooklyn Nets (39-20) sandwiched in between].

“We’re going to show up and try to win them both,” Doc Rivers said Wednesday, following the Sixers' 116-113 loss to Phoenix. “That’s our goal.”

Both the Sixers and the Bucks will be looking to snap two game skids. 

“These are big games coming up,” Danny Green (18 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast) said postgame. “These are good challenges for us, that we need, against these types of teams.”

The Sixers were without both Ben Simmons (non-COVID illness) and Tobias Harris (right knee soreness) in their losses to Golden State and Phoenix, respectively. Seth Curry (left hip flexor recovery) missed Wednesday’s meeting with the Suns.

The starters’ absence led to opportunities for extended minutes for some Sixer reserves. 

George Hill, who made his Sixer debut versus Golden State, had an impressive second outing against the Suns, finishing with 11 points (4-5 FG, 2-2 3PT) in 23 minutes.

In his seventh start of the season, Matisse Thybulle recorded two steals and three blocks, plus three rebounds and three assists. He was primarily assigned to All-Star Devin Booker, who shot 6-for-14 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep.

“I thought [Matisse] was unbelievable overall,” Rivers said. “I thought he chased [Devin] to exhaustion. I don’t know if anyone’s done a better job on Devin.”

Tyrese Maxey scored a bench-high 14 points, plus three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.

Thursday’s matchup tips at 7:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday’s rematch tips at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks in scoring (28.5 ppg - 5th in NBA), rebounding (11.2 rpg), and assisting (6.0 apg) this season.

The Bucks also lead the NBA in scoring per game this season, averaging 119.3 points, plus 48.3 rebounds per game (2nd in NBA). Milwaukee is also shooting 39.2% from long range this season, the second highest rate in the league.

Milwaukee won the first meeting between the Sixers and Bucks, 109-105 in overtime on March 17.

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