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Bucks, Sixers face off in what could be playoff preview

Sunday presents an opportunity for the Milwaukee Bucks.

“What opportunity?” you might ask.

An opportunity to show the naysayers.

Never mind the fact the Bucks have led the NBA’s Eastern Conference nearly the entire season, the “experts” on so many of the national studio shows keep talking up the Philadelphia 76ers as though they’re the favorites to come out of the East.

Sunday’s pregame show on ABC was more of the same, as Jalen Hill came out of the chute saying the Sixers were better built for the playoffs.

Never mind the Bucks being a full eight games ahead of the Sixers, they’re still not getting respect for what they’ve accomplished.

So Sunday presents an opportunity.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, the opportunity arrives on the heels of some tough news on the injury front. Malcolm Brogdon underwent an MRI Saturday and it was discovered he has what is called a “minor” tear in the plantar fascia of his right foot. Brogdon has been playing despite some foot pain, but some estimates have him missing 6-8 weeks.

Whether he actually misses that much time remains to be seen. Brogdon’s absense will end up making the Bucks bigger, as both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton will see more time at guard as a result, and Eric Bledsoe may log an extra couple of minutes, also. Pat Connaughton, George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown, Nikola Mirotic and D.J. Wilson figure in as part of the equation for increased minutes.

The Sixers (44-25) boast as many as four top players in the conference with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. JJ Redick also ranks as one of the conference’s top outside shooters. Harris and Redick are both former Bucks, once traded for each other.

In a curious bit of scheduling, the two teams have not met since Oct. 24, a 123-108 Bucks victory at Fiserv Forum. They’ll have their only meeting in Philadelphia on April 4.

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