Playoff matchup

May 22, 2001|By MILTON KENT

Eastern Conference finals

No. 1 Philadelphia (56-26) vs. No. 2 Milwaukee (52-30)

Playoff path: The 76ers defeated Indiana, three games to one, in the opening round, and eliminated Toronto in seven games in the conference semifinals. The Bucks beat Orlando in four games in the first round and knocked out Charlotte in seven games in the semifinals.

Season series: The teams split four games, with each winning on the road.

76ers outlook: Allen Iverson averaged 37 points in his three meetings with Milwaukee and hit 44 percent of his three-pointers. ... Dikembe Mutombo averaged 14 rebounds in three games against the Bucks, including 16 in his first game with Philadelphia after the Feb. 22 trade from Atlanta. ... The Philadelphia defense forced Ray Allen and Sam Cassell (Dunbar) into a combined average of 9.5 turnovers in their four games, almost double the 5.5 they averaged against the rest of the league. ... Aaron McKie, who averaged 11.6 points in the regular season, is averaging 16.5 in the playoffs, and he scored 18 per game against the Bucks this season.

Bucks outlook: Milwaukee has been crashing the boards in the postseason, ranking third in rebounding, both overall and offensive. Ervin Johnson averages nearly 11 rebounds. ... The Bucks have made their past 27 free throws and made all 20 foul shots in the fourth quarter of their Game 7 win over Charlotte. ... Glenn Robinson is shooting 93 percent from the free-throw line in the playoffs. ... Allen averaged 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6 assists in four games against Philadelphia, while shooting 55 percent, and he has hit at least two three-pointers in each playoff game this season.

Keys to victory: With George Lynch out with a fractured left foot and Iverson suffering from a right hip and buttocks contusion, suffered in Game 7 against Toronto, the 76ers will have to quickly find other offense to stay with Milwaukee's potent attack. Johnson and Scott Williams will have to keep Mutombo engaged and out of the lane on both ends to give Allen, Cassell and Robinson some room inside.

Bottom line: The Bucks just have too much firepower for the game but ailing 76ers to counter. Milwaukee in six.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.