Bucks-76ers Preview

The Milwaukee Bucks take great pride in their defense, but

struggled on that end of the court against the league’s top-scoring

team.

They should have better luck Friday night against a Philadelphia

76ers team that is having major problems offensively and trying to

avoid a sixth straight loss.

Milwaukee (5-6) entered play Tuesday against the Lakers allowing

an NBA-low 89.4 points per game, while Los Angeles came in as the

league’s highest-scoring team at 112.5 points. The Bucks had held

their previous five opponents to 91 points or fewer, but the Lakers

reached that mark early in the fourth quarter and handed Milwaukee

a 118-107 loss, its first defeat in four games.

“They’re the No. 1 offensive team in the league. We’re the No. 1

defensively,” said center Andrew Bogut, who finished with 12 points

and a season-high 18 rebounds. “They won that battle, but I think

we just have to do a better job defensively.”

The Bucks allowed the Lakers to score an opponent season-high 44

points in the paint, make 10 of 16 from 3-point range and shoot

53.8 percent for the game. Los Angeles became the first team to

shoot better than 49.3 percent against Milwaukee, which had limited

three of its previous five opponents to 38.7 percent shooting or

worse.

“Defensively that’s not where we want to be allowing them to

shoot almost 54 percent from the field,” Milwaukee forward Drew

Gooden said.

The Bucks seemingly have a good chance of bouncing back with a

sound defensive performance against the 76ers, who are averaging

90.5 points on 41.4 percent shooting in their last four games.

Philadelphia (2-10) shot a season-worst 36.8 percent in

Wednesday’s 94-86 loss to Toronto in a matchup of the bottom two

teams in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers, playing without

starting guard Andre Iguodala for the fourth time in six games

because of right Achilles’ tendinitis, were 1 of 8 from 3-point

range and are shooting 29.5 percent from beyond the arc during

their five-game skid. Iguodala, who is averaging 12.8 points, is

also expected to miss Friday’s game.

“We’ve got to get it together,” said rookie Evan Turner, who had

his second double-double with 11 points and a season-best 12

rebounds. “Sometimes, you try to trust each other, but sometimes

you just have to play without thinking.”

Despite Philadelphia’s dismal offensive performance, Elton Brand

broke out of a brief scoring funk with a season-high 27 points. He

had 29 points combined in his previous three games.

Brand had even bigger problems in Philadelphia’s last two games

against the Bucks in 2009-10, totaling five points on 2-of-14

shooting. The Sixers split those games and the four-game season

series.

Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee against the Sixers in 2009-10

with an average of 15.8 points. The second-year star had a

season-high 31 points Tuesday and is averaging 22.0 points in his

last four games after averaging 12.8 in his first four November

contests.