Key Test Awaits Against Bucks
A major test - and potential opportunity - await the 76ers (44-25) in Milwaukee, as they face the league-leading Bucks (52-17) for just the second time this season, and first time since acquiring both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.
The teams last met October 24th in Milwaukee, with the Bucks defeating the Sixers, 123-108.
With a win Sunday afternoon at Firserv Forum, combined with a loss by the Charlotte Hornets, the Sixers would clinch a playoff berth for the second time in as many years.
The Sixers will also seek their fourth consecutive win, which would tie their longest winning streak of the season. The team swept its recent home stand against the Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings.
All five starters scored 18 points or more in the team’s 123-114 victory over the Kings Friday - a first for the franchise since 1986. Butler scored a team-high 22 points, along with six rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and a block.
“He was particularly aggressive,” JJ Redick (19 pts, 4 ast) said. “He made plays… it wasn’t just scoring the ball. It was driving, creating havoc.”
Joel Embiid recorded a strong 21-point, 17-rebound double-double on Friday, sharing three assists and blocking four shots, while Ben Simmons added 18 points, two rebound,s and five assists.
Harris finished with 19 points, seven boards, four assists, a steal, and a block.
“We got the shots that we wanted and we had a good balance too, having all starters get going," he said.
Harris has scored double-digits in each of his 15 games as a Sixer, a stretch that began on Feb. 8 against Denver.
In his last meeting with the Bucks, Harris scored 20 points and grabbed 11 boards in the Clippers’ 128-126 overtime win on Nov. 11.
“You want to feel good about potential playoff opponents and how you match up,” Redick said of the Bucks. “They been fantastic this season.”
The Bucks’ 52 wins is the highest total in the NBA. Milwaukee also leads the league in rebounding (49.4 rpg), and is second in scoring (117.6 ppg). All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo leads his team in points (27.4 ppg), rebounds (12.6 rpg), and assists (6.0 apg). The Bucks beat the Miami Heat (32-36) Friday in a dramatic fashion, coming back from a 20-point halftime deficit and holding the Heat to just 18 points in each of the third and fourth quarters. They final score was 113-98.
• Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network
• Video: ABC / WatchESPN