The Philadelphia 76ers have averaged nearly nine points more than their season mark over the last two games but have nothing to show for it. They may not need to score that much against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Philadelphia looks to avoid dropping three straight for the first time in almost two months when it hosts the offensively challenged Bucks on Friday night.
The Sixers (15-23) scored 109 points and 105 points in a pair of home wins over Washington and Chicago last week. They put up another 109 and 103 in their last two games but lost both.
That’s because Philadelphia’s defense hasn’t been nearly as impressive. While they’ve been able to score at a decent clip, the Sixers allowed an average of 111.5 points in the back-to-back defeats.
The Bucks (14-22) probably won’t come close to hitting that mark, as they are averaging a league-low 91.1 points and shooting an NBA-worst 41.7 percent from the field.
Milwaukee had one of its worst scoring outputs at Philadelphia on Nov. 19, shooting 33.8 percent and missing all 12 attempts from 3-point range in a 90-79 loss.
The Bucks did score a season-high 115 in a 23-point road win over last-place New Jersey on Saturday, but they returned to their low-scoring ways with a 91-84 home loss to NBA-leading San Antonio on Wednesday.
Milwaukee scored 33 points in the second half after taking an eight-point lead at halftime.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them but we started the second half a little bit slower offensively,” coach Scott Skiles said. “In five possessions we had four turnovers and it hurt us. I wouldn’t say they were forced, I thought we just made some questionable decisions and we got a little bit tentative after that.
“We still hung in there but they kind of took it over mentally at that point in the game.”
Philadelphia found itself in the opposite position Tuesday at home, trailing Indiana by eight at the half. The Sixers responded with a 32-point third quarter before scoring 22 in the fourth en route to a 111-103 loss.
“We were just flat,” coach Doug Collins said. “We had zero, zero energy and we got so far behind.”
Andre Iguodala(notes) returned to the Sixers starting lineup after missing the previous seven games with tendinitis in his right Achilles’, but he shot 0 for 7 and finished with one point, seven assists and four rebounds.
It was Iguodala’s lowest point total since also scoring one at Houston on Dec. 4, 2004, in his rookie season.
“I thought he was rusty,” Collins said.
Iguodala also missed the first meeting of these teams this season due to the injury.
Philadelphia, which hasn’t dropped three straight since Nov. 23-26, has won eight of 10 against Milwaukee. The Bucks are averaging 89.1 points over that stretch.
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