The two Eastern Conference powerhouses will battle for the second time in the 2020-21 season. Coming into this matchup, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks hold a 1-0 series lead over their opponents. The Greek Freak was firing on all cylinders as he dropped 32 points to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 109-105 OT victory over the 76ers last month.
Both sides are favorites to clinch the East this campaign. The enticing fixture offers a glimpse of what could turn out to be an intense playoff series in the making.
The visiting Philadelphia 76ers sit atop the East with a 39-19 record behind them. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks will roll out at the Fiserv Forum arena with a 35-22 result on the season.
The nationally televised game could produce the fireworks fans expect from championship-caliber teams. Both sides are coming off two straight losses and this could serve as ample motivation for them to go all-out in Thursday's contest.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks - Prediction
The Philadelphia 76ers have been shaky in the recent stretch, winning only six of their past 10 games. Moreover, Doc Rivers' men have gone 17-12 on the road this season. Playing without Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, the Sixers fell to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
They will need their star-caliber players back on the floor to steal one on the road, especially against a contender like the Milwaukee Bucks.
Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have split their last 10 games. Mike Budenholzer's side fought valiantly against the Phoenix Suns in their previous outing but lost the game by one point in a thrilling overtime decision.
Giannis tallied 33 points in 35 minutes but had to leave the game due to a leg cramp. The five-time All-Star will need to be at his full strength to match up to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup.
Two MVP-caliber talents in Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo will face off for the second time in the 2020-21 season. The winner of their duel could help their side bring home the win. On that note, we predict that the Philadelphia 76ers will emerge as victors in this tie.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks - Combined 5
Point Guard - Ben Simmons l Shooting Guard - Khris Middleton l Small Forward - Tobias Harris l Power Forward - Giannis Antetokounmpo l Center - Joel Embiid
In this piece, we will take a look at the hypothetical combined 5 for the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. Both sides have star-caliber players on their roster in addition to the two top frontcourt players in today's game in Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers will join our list at the point guard position. The 2019-20 steals champ has made a reputation for himself as an elite defensive player. Simmons has played 48 games for Doc Rivers' side this season, averaging 14.8 points on a super-efficient 54.5% shooting display from the field.
Big Ben is also helping his teammates find open looks with 7.1 dimes per contest. On the defensive end, Simmons continues to shine bright with 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per appearance. The fifth-year guard was on the sidelines for the 76ers' previous outing due to illness.
The Philadelphia 76ers will hope to see Simmons lace up for this blockbuster matchup as he is their primary defender who shuts down the opposing team's best player on a nightly basis.
Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks will join our list at the shooting guard position. The ninth-year veteran reigns supreme with his mid-range game prowess. Middleton has displayed another strong showing for the Milwaukee Bucks this campaign.
The two-time All-Star is the only other player besides Giannis, who is averaging 20 points on the season. Together, Giannis and Khris have a combined scoring average of 48.7 PPG for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Middleton has played 55 games, averaging 20.2 points on 47.9% shooting from the field and 42.6% from the three-point line for the Milwaukee Bucks. The 6 ft. 7 in guard is also making an impact with his playmaking abilities, averaging 5.6 assists per game. On the defensive end, Middleton is averaging 6.1 rebounds to go along with 1.2 steals per contest.
Tobias Harris is having a breakout season with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The 10th year forward has taken his game to the next level and should have received his first All-Star honors this campaign.
The 28-year-old is the second-highest scorer on the team behind Joel Embiid. Harris has also been durable for coach Rivers, making 49 appearances so far into the season. The former LA Clippers player is averaging a career-best 20.5 points in 33.5 minutes per game while also adding 7.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest.
Tobias is shooting the ball at a phenomenal rate of 52.1% from the floor and a respectable 40.7% from downtown. Like Simmons, Harris was missing in action for their previous outing due to a knee issue.
The reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will join our list of hypothetical combined five at the power forward position. The Greek Freak leads the Milwaukee Bucks in most categories as he continues to fill up the stat sheet with incredible numbers on a nightly basis.
After a shaky start to the season, the five-time All-Star strived hard to bring the Milwaukee Bucks into the top three teams in the East. Giannis successfully did that with the Milwaukee Bucks solidifying their third spot in the second half of the campaign.
Giannis will look to finish off the season on a high note to give his side an advantage with a higher seeding. In 48 appearances for the Bucks, Giannis has averaged an impressive 28.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and six assists per contest.
The elite power forward is clocking a terrific 56.4% shooting accuracy from the field. However, Giannis has room for improvement from the charity stripe, where he's shooting at a rate of 68% this season.
Finally, at center, is the big man from Cameroon, Joel Embiid. Despite dealing with injuries this season, Embiid has displayed an MVP caliber showing with the Philadelphia 76ers. The four-time All-Star has been dominant in the post, overpowering his opponents with his size and skill.
Embiid has been the driving force behind the 76ers' success with several monster outings throughout the 2020-21 campaign. Armed with a championship-caliber coach in Doc Rivers, Embiid can lead his side to new heights in the postseason.
The long-time Philadelphia 76ers man has played 40 games, averaging 30.1 points in 32.2 minutes per game. Embiid is also adding 11.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks per contest. The 27-year-old is shooting at a stellar 51.5% rate from the field and 38.7% from beyond the arc. Embiid remains one of the front runners for bagging the MVP title this season.