By: Kylan Watson
With six games left in 2022-2023 NBA regular season there are less and less chances for teams to really get statement victories as most teams have it on cruise control. That was not the case for the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks who still are trying to figure the top three seeds in the loaded Eastern Conference. Both squads traded haymakers but the Bucks shot the Sixers off the court in the first quarter and they could not really recover from it despite their best efforts. The Bucks were able to hold on to beat Philly 117-104.
The Sixers started this quarter off hitting their shots early in the game but they encountered an offensive hurricane from Milwaukee. The Bucks started this game off eight-for eight from the field and just could not miss in the first quarter they had a field goal percentage of 69.9%. Despite Philly’s defense forcing them to take some pretty difficult shots, they found the bottom of the net. The trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo (33-points, grabbed 14-rebounds, and had six assists), Brook Lopez (21-points), and Khris Middleton (19-points, had nine assists, and hit three three-pointers) led them they combined for 73 of Milwaukee’s 117-points and Philly could not stop them tonight. Giannis kept his team ahead tonight. He did whatever they needed him to do, to keep their offense going. He got Joel Embiid in foul trouble and when he was off the floor, he had the equivalent of a free lay-up line because he could overpower the smaller defenders. This game really was lost late in the third quarter when Embiid picked up his fourth foul and he was taken off the floor. Giannis was able to attack the basket and get wide-open high-percentage opportunities for his teammates that ended any chance the Sixers had to comeback in this game.
Philly weathered Milwaukee’s offensive surge and still had a chance to take this game from Milwaukee. The duo of Tyrese Maxey (29-points, hit six/seven three-pointers tonight) and Joel Embiid (28-points) led them they combined for 57 of the Sixers’ 104-points. The Bucks had no answers for either player, they got whatever they wanted from the field. Embiid and Maxey led a 10-to-nothing scoring run in the third quarter that cut the Bucks lead down to five-points. Had Embiid not picked up his fourth foul and rode the bench the rest of the quarter maybe we have a different result. However, the Sixers made the decision to sit him and the Bucks trusted their MVP candidate to not pick-up a fifth foul. That decision proved pivotal for the Bucks as Giannis put his fingerprints all over the game in the last few minutes of the third quarter and increased a five-point lead to a back-breaking 12-point lead for the Bucks and the Sixers could not overcome it.
The Sixers will now prepare for another playoff level match-up with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. They will need to continue to use ball movement to get high-percentage shots on the offensive side if they want to keep-up with the Celtics high-powered offense. Additionally, they will need to stay attached to their defensive assignment and force the Celtics to take difficult shots. If they can do these things, they will be able to get their 52nd victory of the season.