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Sixers-Bucks: What you need to know

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Sixers-Bucks: What you need to know

Sixers vs. Bucks - 7 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Records
Sixers: 27-43 (Ninth in Eastern Conference)

Bucks: 34-35 (Eighth in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The Bucks took the season series (and playoff tiebreaker) from the Sixers with a 94-92 victory in Milwaukee on Feb. 13. Led by 27 points from Monta Ellis and 21 points from Brandon Jennings, the Bucks overcame an early double-digit deficit to escape when Jrue Holiday’s jumper in the waning seconds bounced out.

Meanwhile, the Bucks are going for their first season sweep over the Sixers since the 1973-74 season (Sixers coach Doug Collins’ rookie season) and their first four-win season over the Sixers since 1985-86.

Who’s hot
Spencer Hawes’s string of double-doubles ended in the 107-91 loss to the Jazz on Sunday night, though he did lead the starting unit with 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting. Over the past 10 games, Hawes is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Dorell Wright led the Sixers with 19 points off the bench on Monday. In the last two games, Wright has scored 41 points on 8-for-18 shooting from three-point range.

For the Bucks, Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders are coming off double-double performances in a loss to Atlanta. Sanders has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in eight straight games and Ilyasova has averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his last four games.

Ellis has provided the scoring punch with at least 20 points in 13 of the last 15 games. Ellis ranks 11th in the NBA with 19.4 points per game, while Jennings ranks 20th with 18.0 points per game.

Who’s not
Evan Turner shot 2 for 6 for six points and zero assists in Monday’s loss in Utah. Since the All-Star break, Turner is shooting 39.1 percent from the floor and is just 7 for 14 from the foul line in his last 11 games. In the six games since scoring 15 points in a March 13 loss to the Heat, Turner has scored a total of 50 points on 22-for-54 (40.7 percent) shooting, including 3 for 8 from the foul line.

Probable starters

Sixers (last 10 games)

Thad Young (17.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg)

Damien Wilkins (12.8 ppg, 52.6 FG%)

Spencer Hawes (15.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg)

Evan Turner (9.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

Jrue Holiday (15.5 ppg, 8.4 apg)



Bucks (last 10 games)

Marquis Daniels (5.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Ersan Ilyasova (18.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg)
Larry Sanders (11.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg)
Monta Ellis (22.7 ppg, 6.2 apg)
Brandon Jennings (15.6 ppg, 8.1 apg)

Injuries
Jason Richardson and Andrew Bynum are out for the year.

For the Bucks, Mike Dunleavy (illness) is probable for Wednesday’s game. Luc Mbah a Moute (turf toe) is out indefinitely.

Markelle Futlz progressing, but not ready to return to Sixers yet

Markelle Futlz progressing, but not ready to return to Sixers yet

Updated: 2:45 p.m.

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Markelle Fultz isn't cleared to play just yet.

The Sixers rookie was reevaluated Sunday for right shoulder soreness and scapular muscle imbalance and will be reevaluated again in approximately 2-3 weeks, the team announced. 

His return date will be based on how he handles training and practices. An examination by Dr. Ben Kibler, Medical Director of the Shoulder Center of Kentucky at the Lexington Clinic, showed Fultz's soreness and muscle balance is improving. Fultz met with Kibler on Oct. 29 and has seen multiple shoulder specialists. 

The rehab plan is for Fultz to continue with physiotherapy treatment.

"Just the fact we expect to get back into full basketball activity soon," Brett Brown said after practice Sunday, "I don't know the exact timeframe of that, but the news is good in relation to the improvement of his shoulder, enough for us to put out a press release saying what I just said and look forward to bringing him into the team and playing basketball again."

The No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft has appeared in only four games this season, averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists off the bench. He has been battling the shoulder discomfort since training camp, and his shot was visibly affected by it.

Fultz has been traveling with the Sixers. He is staying engaged with the team during his own pregame warmups, assisting with rebounding after practices and staying incorporated with teammates off the court. 

Bayless to return
The Sixers anticipate getting one player back from injury Monday.

Brown expects Jerryd Bayless (left wrist) will play against the Jazz. Bayless went through practice Sunday. Brown looks forward to having Bayless' veteran experience, playmaking, and on-ball defense back in the mix. Bayless has missed the last six games and doesn't plan to have any minute restrictions on his return. 

"It's feeling OK," Bayless said of his wrist. "It's feeling like it's ready to go. I'm excited to play and be back out there." 

Justin Anderson (left leg) and Nik Stauskas (right ankle) remain sidelined. As a result of all the injuries, guards T.J. McConnell and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot have seen a bump in minutes. 

Young Sixers learn crucial lessons from 2 losses to NBA elite Warriors

Young Sixers learn crucial lessons from 2 losses to NBA elite Warriors

BOX SCORE

The Sixers received a crash course in top-caliber NBA basketball from the Warriors with two games in eight nights against the defending champions. 

Both were winnable games for the Sixers in the first half. Both were blown open by the Warriors in the third quarter. Both resulted in a Sixers loss.

This time, it was a 124-116 loss Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).

Instead of taking silver linings and pats on the back, the Sixers are absorbing lessons, tried-and-true experience-based lessons from competing against the best in the league and watching it slip away. 

“They didn’t flip a switch,” Joel Embiid said Saturday. “We were just bad in the third quarter. But you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They were aggressive and they were physical with us, especially in the second half. They did what they had to do, and they got a win.”

Protect the third quarter
On Saturday, the Sixers scored a scorching 47 points in the first quarter and led the Warriors 74-52 at halftime. That edge far surpassed their one-point deficit in last weekend’s game and put them on a commanding path at home.

The Warriors quickly dashed any hopes of an upset by outscoring the Sixers, 47-15, in the third. Steph Curry scored 20 of those points. That quarter set the tone for a Warriors' comeback win. Similarly, the Warriors outscored the Sixers by 15 points in the third during their 135-114 victory on Nov. 11.

“After coming out of halftime, we knew what we were getting into,” Embiid said. “We knew that the first game, we knew that tonight, that needed to stay locked in. We didn’t do a good job the first time and then the second time we definitely didn’t do a good job.”

Play aggressive and smart at same time
The Sixers committed seven of their 12 turnovers in the third, which led to 14 of the Warriors’ 47 points. Ben Simmons echoed Embiid’s opinion of needing to be more focused. The rookie point guard also noted the Sixers should have been better with defensive assignments and played more aggressively. The Sixers shot 1 for 7 from long-range and didn’t get to the foul line once in the third.

Simmons only attempted one field goal in the quarter. Brett Brown noted he played Simmons the entire second quarter and the first eight minutes in the third. The combination of a shorthanded eight-man rotation and the effects of coming off a West Coast road trip factored in. 

The Warriors, meanwhile, stayed cool and collected in the face of a 22-point halftime deficit. They bounced back to shoot 62.2 percent from the field in the second half. The Sixers noticed the Warriors’ unwavering self-assurance even as they fell further and further behind in the first half.

“There’s a confidence that they have in what they do and who they are that over the course of a full game," JJ Redick said, "if they play the right way, they’re going to have a chance to win."

Breaking the double team
The Warriors stifled Embiid in their first matchup (12 points). After watching his 46-point performance against the Lakers, which head coach Steve Kerr deemed “terrifying,” the Warriors knew they had to be extra cognizant of the big man, especially on his home court.

They once again swarmed Embiid with a double team, a defensive look he’s still adjusting to. Embiid felt the pressure. He committed three turnovers in the game-changing third quarter (five on the night). 

“I’m more impressed by what they do defensively,” Embiid said. “Especially for me, they really had me guessing. They double-teamed me the whole night, from the top, from the baseline, from the post fader. They really had me guessing.”

Remember what caused the loss
The Sixers had chances to hand the Warriors a loss, both at home and on the road. When they plan for the rest of the season, the months and months ahead, they can point to what they did right and just as importantly what went wrong in competing against a team as dangerous as the Warriors. 

"We feel good about how we played for large majorities of the game and then you just blink and you get hit in the mouth," Brown said. "The repetition of playing the NBA champs and feeling like you're there and then all of a sudden to zoom in and say why aren't we? Why weren't we? Where did the game change? And understand that better and try to fix it, try to arrest it. That's the benefit to playing them in close proximity."