By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound after being dominated by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks in their last game before the All-Star break. Philly was able to use a late-game offensive explosion to beat the Bucks 123-120.
Philly was able to jump on the Bucks from the opening tip-off. They hit their shots early in the game and were able to keep up with the explosive offense of Milwaukee. Later, in the game the Bucks exploded and went on a 19-to-six scoring run to take a 12-point lead. They were threatening to run the Sixers off the floor again. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32-points and led them during this scoring run. He could not be stopped, and it did not matter who Philly put on him. He used his strength and athleticism to overpower them. Philly did make an adjustment by having Joel Embiid and Georges Niang take turns guarding him and that limited him later in the game.
Despite the offensive explosion from Antetokounmpo, Philly weathered the early storm and used an offensive surge to retake the lead. Tyrese Maxey (19-points) was a big part of this second quarter scoring run that allowed Philly to take an eight-point lead by half-time. He started taking full advantage of the speed advantage that he had over the Bucks defenders. He attacked the basket and got them in foul-trouble. Maxey’s continued development has been a big part of this season for Philly. He has improved so much he is now a key cog instead of just a role player in the Sixers offensive scheme.
Late in the game both teams traded buckets and it was Joel Embiid (42-points) who got his team to the finish line. He hit some clutch buckets and free throws to keep the Bucks at bay. Also, shutdown Giannis late in the game by forcing him into some tough shots that he could not hit.
Philly got another statement win as they head into the All-Star break and with the imminent arrival of James Harden. Things are looking up for Philly and if Harden can be his old self. Philly will be a problem for the rest of the league.