The Philadelphia 76ers’ first look at their made-over roster is coming against a forgiving opponent. The Milwaukee Bucks might be assessing the 76ers’ 10-game losing streak and having similar thoughts.
The teams with the two worst records in the NBA will meet Monday night with the host 76ers hoping to end their worst losing streak since dropping 12 straight in 2009-10.
"This situation, I don’t know how much worse it could get," 76ers forward Thaddeus Young said.
It’ll likely be difficult to get much more taxing than Friday’s 124-112 home loss to Dallas in which Philadelphia (15-41) used just eight players after unloading leading scorer Evan Turner, starting center Spencer Hawes and reserve Lavoy Allen as parts of four trades on deadline day.
Newcomers Danny Granger, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens and Henry Sims weren’t available, but Young gave the 76ers a chance by matching a season high with 30 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and six assists.
"I just tried to be very, very motivated, play hard and to finish it the right way and try to help my team win games," Young told the 76ers’ official website.
Michael Carter-Williams added 25 points while Tony Wroten scored 21 off the bench for a Philadelphia team that will be assessing its roster for 2014-15 in the final two months of the season.
"They played hard," coach Brett Brown said. "We’re trying to identify athletes and how they compete."
In the short term, a fair amount of emphasis might fall on defense after the Mavericks shot 62.3 percent. The 76ers are allowing 116.1 points per game and being outscored by 20.3 points on the losing streak.
Two games into a five-game homestand, the new players would like to get the streak out of the way and focus on the building process.
"I’m more than happy to come and grab this opportunity that’s in front of me right now," Sims said Saturday at practice.
The Bucks (10-45) have had a similar mindset for quite some time. They’re 3-21 in 2014 and dropped five of six on a homestand after Saturday’s 110-100 loss to Indiana.
"Defensively, just had breakdown after breakdown right when I thought when the game was within striking distance," coach Larry Drew said. ”But against good teams, you can’t make those kind of mistakes."
Brandon Knight had 30 points and eight assists after missing Thursday’s loss to Denver with a cut in his right heel, while Caron Butler sat out for the fifth time in seven games because of a sprained right ankle.
In his absence, small forward Jeff Adrien had six points and 11 rebounds in 18 minutes in his first game with the Bucks since being acquired from Charlotte along with Ramon Sessions for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.
"You’re not going to intimidate this kid, he’ll stand toe-to-toe," Drew said of Adrien. "I told him I didn’t care if he fouled out. I wanted him to be physical and be who he is."
The Bucks and 76ers have split two meetings this season with the home team winning each. Young had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the last game, a 116-106 Bucks win Dec. 21.
Carter-Williams is averaging 11.5 assists in the season series while Butler is averaging 30.0 points and 9.5 rebounds.