This Friday edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent the Brandon Jennings-less Milwaukee Bucks.
There’s really not much to say about the game tonight down at the WFC other then the fact that it’s a HUGE game as we believe it to be an absolute must-win for the 76ers. Philadunkia’s home team is coming off two of their worst Ls of the year — @ Detroit and vs. Indiana – so Collins & Co. must get the ship righted right now, otherwise this season will go down the toilet!
You can forget us trying to give you any of the X&O’s or matchups to be exploited in this preview, because we don’t care how the Sixers get a W tonight. All we want from this squad is for them to come out with some energy and intensity, play tough defense and jump all over this struggling Milwaukee squad (2-4 in January) from the opening tip until the final horn. Tonight the Sixers need to make a statement – to the fans, themselves and the League — by posting a double digit, coasted home in the 4th type of win. Anything less would be unacceptable.
For a little more insight into the Bucks team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Jeremy Schmidt @ bucksketball.com to answer two questions on this Milwaukee squad from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on the Bucks from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : The Bucks are 2-4 in January vs. a brutal schedule and without Brandon Jennings, but what bright spots if any have you seen over that stretch?
Jeremy Schmidt @ bucksketball.com : Even when the Bucks have played their worst, they’ve still been a consistent defensive squad, never lacking for energy on that end of the court. They’ve typically held opponents, even during this particularly tough stretch, below their norms in terms of shooting percentage and offensive efficiency. They stick to their principles defensively throughout possessions and have a number of strong rebounders that help them finish out and get stops. When Milwaukee is allowing offensive rebounds, that’s often when they get in the most trouble.
Philadunkia : The expectations were high for the 2010-11 Bucks, but they have struggled thus far. In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue for the Bucks this season?
Jeremy Schmidt @ bucksketball.com : The biggest issue has obviously an offense that’s been bad all season. Milwaukee’s ranked last in offensive efficiency. None of Milwaukee’s primary threats on offense are making better than half their shots and a number of key players, point guards Brandon Jennings and Keyon Dooling and shooting guard John Salmons are all shooting below 40%, while Ersan Ilyasova and Corey Maggette are just barely past that threshold. Few teams are capable as missing most of their open jump shots as the Bucks.
Two Points of Analysis from Jeremy Schmidt @ bucksketball.com :
1) When the Bucks are playing well, they are typically getting strong play from their wings. John Salmons has picked up his play of late, but Milwaukee will need either Corey Maggette or Chris Douglas-Roberts to help him score and create off the wing. Andrew Bogut is about as close to a consistent performer that the Bucks have, so he’ll need at least two of these three to complement him for the Bucks to be functional on offense.
2) Earl Boykins is tiny, but he’s packed quite a punch on offense since Brandon Jennings has been out with a foot injury. He’s scored in double figures in eight of the 11 games Jennings has missed (Boykins was suspended for one game in this stretch). One of the league’s most creative shooters, Boykins has consistently kept the defense off balance and drawn a number of crafty fouls using a dizzying array off fakes that offset his diminutive stature. At some point this evening, he’ll get a much larger Sixers defender to look foolish.