They’re up to six straight wins after their latest victory on Tuesday against the New York Knicks, as the Sixers prevailed after a slow start on offense to win, 99-96. It’s a tall order, and a big test for a Sixers’ defense that’s ramped up lately and now ranks 2nd in the NBA. It’s also another chance for Simmons to make a statement in his campaign for Defensive Player of the Year, the only individual accolade Simmons has said he wants to pursue this season.
While the Bucks’ defense has still been good, they’ve dropped off after having the NBA’s best defense last season and currently rank 10th. They’ve tried mixing up their drop-reliant defense somewhat by bringing up their bigs higher against more pick-and-rolls and using a bit more switching, but Brook Lopez hasn’t been as good this year and simply can’t be as effective shifting outside as when he’s dropping back at the rim.
This game would be a challenge for the Sixers even if they had Embiid and weren’t playing on the second night of a back-to-back.