Courtesy of Coach Rick
We’re in for a treat Saturday afternoon when two of the Eastern Conference’s best battle it out. The Philadelphia 76ers head to Wisconsin to take on the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at 3 pm ET. Online sportsbooks are sure to have a tight line on this one once it’s posted.
This will be the third and final meeting between the two teams. The first came back in March, with the Bucks winning 109-105 in overtime. The second was Thursday of this week.
Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid and Company
The Sixers are no doubt one of the best teams in the NBA this season. On pace for the top seed in the East, Philadelphia has finally found cohesion with the embattled Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Philadelphia finds itself near the top of the standings thanks to the strength of its defense. The unit is inside the top five in the NBA and continuing to grow stronger every week.
Before we continue on, Coach Rick nailed his last pick when he took the UNDER in this year’s Final Four matchup! Go check out our Houston vs. Baylor free pick.
The Sixers offense has been slipping a bit, down to 13th in the NBA.
Embiid has had an MVP-type season, averaging 29.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. What has brought Embiid over the hump has been his percentages, as he’s currently shooting at a 51/38/85% split. This might be a great game to consider betting the NBA race to 20 points!
Tobias Harris has also solidified himself as a strong third piece, averaging over 20 points per game. Simmons does a bit of everything with 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Milwaukee Bucks: Good at Everything
Milwaukee has been up-and-down this season, but it remains one of the best teams in the East. The Bucks are one of just four teams to be ranked inside the top 10 for both offense and defense. That balance should prove valuable when it’s time to turn it on for the playoffs.
The quality of this team starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak leads the team in all major categories, averaging 28.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. Antetokounmpo also chips in over a steal and a block every game – doing it all for the Bucks.
Khris Middleton is a solid second piece on this roster, scoring over 20 points a game on 48/43/89% shooting splits. The Bucks play fast and prefer to shoot threes, ranking fourth in the NBA in threes made.
On the defensive end, the team is one of the best at defending near the rim, ranking third-best in the league. The Bucks are a bit more susceptible to the outside shot, ranking 18th defending the perimeter.
Coach Rick’s Game Pick: Bucks Defense Has the Edge
The Bucks’ defensive strength aligns nicely with the Sixers’ preferred form of scoring. There’s reason to think life will be difficult for Embiid and Simmons on Saturday.
Antetokounmpo has the ability to erase one of Philadelphia’s stars on his own, which could go a long way. The pick here is for the Bucks to win at home in the final matchup between these two teams.
If Brooklyn can’t stay healthy, this has the potential to be an Eastern Conference Finals preview. We’re in for a good one on Saturday afternoon.