Photo By: Jeff Hanisch – USA Today Sports
Coming off a tough nail-biting loss at the hands of Chris Paul and the Suns (the rims have a personal vendetta against the Sixers), the Sixers are looking ahead to Thursday when they face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. In the last matchup between these teams, it was the Sixers falling to the Bucks in overtime, as Giannis sat on the floor of Wells Fargo Center and smiled. A win against the Bucks is necessary, as the Sixers are only half a game in front of the Nets for first in the East
As it always is, the Sixers main key to winning against the Bucks is going to be slowing down Antetokounmpo. Normally this isn’t a giant issue for the Sixers, as if it’s a big man, Embiid and Howard can handle him, and if it’s a guard or normal forward, Simmons, Green, and Thybulle handle him. Antetokounmpo, however, is a matchup nightmare, as he is too strong for Simmons to handle on his lonesome and too quick for Joel. The Sixers' best course of action is to switch up looks, throwing not only different defenders at Giannis to keep him on his toes, but also switching to a zone every now and then.
Of course, the Sixers can hold Antetokounmpo scoreless, and it would mean nothing if they couldn’t score themselves. The Sixers are hoping to get back Harris and Simmons, as they both were out against Golden State. The scoring provided and created by those two will be a big boost to the Sixers, and if Simmons, Embiid, and Harris can put up solid scoring nights, Green continues to hit a great clip from deep, and one or two bench players like Hill or Milton can chip in 10+ points, the Sixers should leave Fiserv Forum Thursday with a win.
While the Sixers have played against every powerhouse in the league, they have not played very many of them at full strength. This, combined with the fact that the Sixers lost to a full-strength Bucks in March, is leading to growing criticism against the team's inability to win against the toughest teams. Whether the Sixers can silence the critics and beat Milwaukee on Thursday is yet to be seen, but it is sure to be a good game.
Game Time: 7 pm
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