Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Milwaukee at Philadelphia
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 20, 2018
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia 76ers' hot stretch pushed them into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference halfway through the season. The Sixers will try to leapfrog another team in the standings when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

An 89-80 win at East-leading Boston on Thursday gave Philadelphia six wins in its last seven games and marked the squad's second consecutive victory over the conference's elites, having topped Toronto at home three days earlier. "We feel like we're right there with them," center Joel Embiid told reporters of the Celtics and Raptors. "I don't know what seed we're going to be, but that's a potential matchup in the playoffs, so you always want to come out and like try to dominate, let them know that it's not going to be easy." Embiid might be licking his chops going up against a Bucks team that can struggle at times against big men, a trend that played out when Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside went for 27 points and 13 rebounds in a 106-101 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Sixers and Bucks are meeting for the first time this season after splitting four encounters in 2016-17, with the road team winning each time.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), NBCS Philadelphia

ABOUT THE BUCKS (23-21): Milwaukee has a leader in do-everything forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, but coach Jason Kidd is hoping to see a bit more from point guard Eric Bledsoe, at least from a vocal standpoint. "He's just telling me things that he's done throughout his career," Bledsoe told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He's been a leader, man. It's easier said than done, but at the same time leaders aren't always liked on the team. Sometimes you've got to be a little (expletive) out there on the floor, so the team can respond to that. It's really not to show you're better than anyone or anything like that; they always know it's coming from a good place." Bledsoe was 2-of-13 from the floor in the loss to Miami and is 8-for-34 from 3-point range over a span of six games.

ABOUT THE 76ERS (21-20): Embiid celebrated his first All-Star Game nomination by shooting 10-for-19 at Boston, while his fellow starters were 13-for-33. Backup point guard T.J. McConnell continued a hot stretch of his own with 15 points - all in the second half - and he is averaging 15 points while shooting 59.4 percent over the last three games. Meanwhile, starting point guard Ben Simmons is at 12 points and 3.7 assists in the same span, both well below his season averages in each category.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Philadelphia F Dario Saric has scored in double figures in 21 straight games after failing to do so in 10 of his first 19 contests.

2. Antetokounmpo averaged 21 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists against the Sixers last season.

3. Milwaukee won 11 of the last 13 meetings.

PREDICTION: 76ers 108, Bucks 102
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Milwaukee 23-21 L1 14-9 9-12 2-1 21-20 4-6 11-15
Philadelphia 21-20 W2 10-9 11-10 2-2 19-18 3-6 10-10
Last Meeting
Milwaukee Philadelphia
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/8/17 MIL 90 PHI 82 90 43 44.3 82 47 35.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 20 46.7 6
Philadelphia R. Holmes 17 54.5 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 10 0 10
Philadelphia R. Holmes 10 2 8
Assists Player  
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 6
Philadelphia T. McConnell 10
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 1207 54.8 311
Philadelphia J. Embiid 764 48.7 208
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 428 98 330
Philadelphia J. Embiid 352 71 281
Assists Player  
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 194
Philadelphia B. Simmons 314
Quickchart Matchup
Milwaukee Milwaukee Off vs  Philadelphia Philadelphia Defense
Milwaukee Off vs Philadelphia - Points For 104.9 Points For
Milwaukee Off vs Philadelphia - Points Against 107.5 Points Against
Milwaukee - FG% 48.0 FG%
Philadelphia - FG% 43.8 FG%
Milwaukee - Reb 38.7 Reb
Philadelphia - Reb 42.6 Reb
Philadelphia Philadelphia Off vs  Milwaukee Milwaukee Defense
Philadelphia Off vs Milwaukee - Points For 108.1 Points For
Philadelphia Off vs Milwaukee - Points Against 105.9 Points Against
Philadelphia - FG% 46.2 FG%
Milwaukee - FG% 47.1 FG%
Philadelphia - Reb 47.4 Reb
Milwaukee - Reb 41.7 Reb