© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks-Sixers: the NBA's next big thing?

April 05, 2019 - 3:36 pm

All-Star big men. Three-point barrages. Thunderous slam dunks. Flaring tempers.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers have given fans their money's worth in their three meetings this season.

In their first meeting on Oct. 24, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid both had 30-point nights. Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons each had a triple-double, too. The Bucks cruised to a 123-108 win in Philadelphia.

The second time around on March 17, the Sixers had bolstered their starting lineup having traded for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. This time, the Sixers got even; they beat the Bucks in Milwaukee 130-125. Antetokounmpo drained a career-best 52 points, while Embiid scored 40. 

They met for a third and final time in the 2018-19 regular season on April 4. Again, the two teams did not disappoint. And with a season series tied at 1-1, bragging rights on the line, things heated up:

The Bucks battled back to win that game 128-122. Again, the big men stole the show. Antetokounmpo carried his team with 45 points, five blocks and three three-pointers. Embiid carried his team with a triple-double: 34 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. 

Both teams are primed with talent. They each had an All-Star starter (Antetokounmpo and Embiid) and an All-Star reserve (Khris Middleton and Simmons) in 2019. That just scratches the talent surface, too, with starters Butler, Harris and J.J. Redick for Phily and Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez for Milwaukee.

These teams are talented, and they know it. They are contenders, and they know it. They probably don't like each other, and they probably know that, too. Everything about the two teams, as they are currently constructed, points to the revival of a Bucks-Sixers rivalry from decades ago. A time when the likes of Marques Johnson and Brian Winters, Sidney Moncrief and Terry Cummings routinely battled the likes of Julius Erving and Maurice Cheeks, Charles Barkley and Moses Malone in the Eastern Conference. 

From what they showed this season, is Bucks-Sixers now becoming the NBA's best new (old) rivalry? Alex Boeder makes the case at Bucks.com.