By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound after falling to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks who were looking to make a statement in the loaded Eastern Conference. The Bucks used a fourth quarter offensive explosion to beat the Sixers 118-116.
The Sixers had another slow start. They missed some makeable shots, and the Bucks took full advantage of the early power outage. Before the Sixers could even settle in, they were down by 11. When Philly needed it most, they got a big-time performance from James Harden. He scored 32-points (highest points total as a Sixer). Harden single-handedly kept the Sixers in the game. This was easily his best game of the season as Sixer and if he can build on this performance through the last seven games of the regular season. Philly could be a deadly team. His scoring was important tonight as Joel Embiid (29-points) did not have it throughout most of the night.
Despite the scoring explosion from Harden, the Bucks were able to battle back. They stormed back into this game thanks to Khris Middleton who had a scoring explosion in the fourth quarter to bring his team back into the game. He scored 22-points and hit three three-pointers in the game. Middleton took full advantage of the Sixers giving him space to put a shot up. Philly’s perimeter defense just was not where it needed to be tonight. The Bucks found holes in the defense throughout this game. Philly will need to improve on the defensive end if they want to make noise in the playoffs.
On what the turning point in the game was, “The game really changed when I went to the bench at the end of the third quarter.. we didn’t do what we had to do,” said Sixers Center Joel Embiid.
The Sixers were still in this game despite making some back breaking mistakes late in the fourth quarter. If Giannis Antetokounmpo (40-points) does not block an Embiid shot. This game may have had a different result. However, Giannis and the Bucks made the plays when it mattered, and Philly did not.
Philly will now prepare to face the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. They will need another balanced scoring night if they want to keep the young Pistons down. Additionally, they will need to have a better performance on the defensive end if they want to get their 47th win of the season.