Tonight two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference will square off on an uneventful Thursday night. The Bucks will head to Philadelphia for a 3rd and final meeting with a talented 76ers squad. Embiid and Giannis are two of the best young talents in the league, and they certainly have showed up to play each time they’ve met this season. Tonight’s certainly going to be a fun one!
Game 1: Milwaukee Bucks (58-20) @ Philadelphia 76ers (49-29)
Assuming nothing crazy happens, Milwaukee will finish as the 1st seed and Philly will claim the 3rd heading into the playoffs. Their two meetings earlier this season have certainly been entertaining. The Bucks took the first game, 123-108, although that game was played back in October. The 76ers took their last meeting, 130-125 just a few weeks ago in Milwaukee. Whoever wins tonight will win the season series.
The Bucks are such a good team this year that they can withstand an injury to a key player and keep winning games without skipping a beat. Now they have just 4 games left in the season, and they only need to win half of them to reach 60 wins on the year. Milwaukee certainly has given good reason to fear the deer once again, and are certainly looking like favorites to make it out of the East.
- 26-14 road record this year, top 2 in the entire league.
- Simply dominant against the rest of the East. 38-11 for the year.
- Giannis is always ready to tangle with the 76ers. He’s averaging 42 points, 17 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals on 54% shooting in their 2 games. And in their last matchup that Milwaukee lost, he posted a career high 52 points!
- Tony Snell is out, and Khris Middleton is probable to play tonight. Snell has been a non-factor, but Middleton is averaging 22 points and 5 assists against Philly, although on just 39% shooting.
- The Bucks have been superb as a cover team all year, and lately has been the same story. They’ve covered the point spread in 5 of their last 6 games, and 7 of their last 10 overall.
The 76ers arguably have the most talented starting lineup in the East, but that might not be obvious when you look at their record. Lately they’ve fumbled a bit, but that is mostly due to resting star Joel Embiid. The reality is that they’re likely to finish with the 3rd seed no matter what, so resting their best player prior to the playoffs is a solid plan. Embiid is playing tonight though, and he certainly loves to show up against star players and good teams.
- Very good at home this year, 30-9.
- 29-19 against the rest of the East, picking up a good chunk of their wins against the Western Conference.
- Embiid has played great against the Bucks. In 2 games, he’s averaging 35 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 1.5 steals, although he is shooting it at just 44%.
- Just 2-4 in their last 6 games, but Embiid did rest in half of those matches.
- Philly hasn’t been a good cover team lately. They have only covered twice in their last 7 games, and have covered just 4 of their last 10 games overall.
Pick: Milwaukee -2.5
For all the talent Philly has on their roster, they aren’t winning as many games as they probably should. To their credit, Embiid and Simmons are both very young, but being surrounded by veterans should be helping their maturity. Unfortunately they just lost last night to the Hawks, a game Embiid did rest in, so he’ll be fresh tonight unlike the rest of his team. The 76ers are a great team, but the Bucks are unstoppable this year. Giannis deserves an MVP and he’ll show why tonight. Expect the Bucks to win.