PHILADELPHIA, PA -- It's going to be a fun and unique Christmas in South Philly this year. For the last few seasons, Philly sports fans have been fortunate to watch their beloved Philadelphia 76ers in the comfort of their homes on the 25th of December. This year though, the Sixers were issued a home game on the holiday -- playing none other than the Eastern Conference's top dogs, the Milwaukee Bucks.
So far this season, the Sixers have had the opportunity to get a swing at some of the top competitors within the East. However, Wednesday afternoon will be the first time they get the chance to go toe to toe with the best the NBA currently has to offer. Sitting at the top of the East and beyond, the Bucks possess an impressive record of 27-4.
The Sixers are well-aware of their competition on Wednesday. In fact, their head coach, Brett Brown, referred to the Bucks as "NBA royalty" just hours before tip-off. While the 76ers are prepping themselves up, to attempt to gain a statement win at home on Christmas, Coach Brown knows it goes beyond just beating the best.
"I reminded our team, people in America have more appreciation for this day in the NBA," Brown said in regards to the Christmas day matchup. "This day matters in my background. We're grateful for the opportunity."
Playing on such a popular holiday while being broadcasted on prime time is a sweet feat for the 76ers. But defeating the top dogs is undoubtedly the priority. Brown knows it won't be easy for the 76ers, who have been a bit shaky as of late -- but Philly has been looking forward to this matchup the moment their game against Detroit wrapped up on Monday night.
"As it sits, they are the best team in the NBA," Brown said. "[The Bucks] are NBA royalty." While Milwaukee's record might instill fear into some, the Sixers coach has a pretty good grasp on what to expect when playing against the Bucks on Wednesday.
Lately, the 76ers have struggled against the zone defense. Thankfully for them, Milwaukee isn't a team that has enough experience to kill the Sixers momentum if they plan to switch over to that any time throughout the game. However, if they do go to the zone, Brown mentioned the Sixers "feel comfortable" after being tested the last few games.
Those are some little concerns for Brown and the Sixers, though. The primary worry happens to be obvious -- how does Philly stop the wrath of defending MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo? With another MVP-Esque season in the works, the 'Greek Freek' is easily the biggest concern for the Sixers on Wednesday.
"He's a runaway train," Brown said while describing the reigning MVP. "He has added threes to his game now. I'm told 80-percent of their offense is generated through him, either scoring or assisting. They have loaded up with shooters all over the place around him."
This season, the Sixers have been tested, but they haven't faced a superstar who is playing at the same level as Giannis this year. Therefore, they will need everybody on board to be on their A-Game in order to tame one of the league's best on Christmas afternoon.