The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117. The Sixers fall to 39-20 on the season and are now tied with the Brooklyn Nets for 1st place in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks improve to 36-22 and are now 2.5 games back of both the Sixers and Nets for 1st place. Joel Embiid finished with 24 points (9-21 FG, 6-7 FT), 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 blocks. In his return from injury, Tobias Harris had 18 points (8-16 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 assists, and 2 rebounds.
The Bucks were on fire out of the gate, hitting damn near every shot they put up. In the first 8 minutes of the game, Milwaukee went 13 for 14 from the field, including 6 of 7 from 3PT. As if near perfect shooting from the opposition wasn’t enough to overcome, the Sixers repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in the opening frame, turning the ball over left and right and putting Milwaukee on the line for 9 free throws. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Bucks led the Sixers 40-26.
The 2nd quarter was mostly more of the same. The Sixers’ offense got itself in gear, but the Bucks just could not miss. Milwaukee’s shooters were competing in a 3PT contest within the game and all of them were winning. The Sixers shot 53.3% from the floor, a rate which would give them a halftime lead most nights. They even hit 8 of 12 3PT attempts. But Milwaukee hit their shots at the blistering rate of 65.9%, including 13 3PT in 21 attempts. (Per Cleaning The Glass, the Bucks eFG% through the 1st half was 80.7%.) The score at halftime was 77-60 in favor of the Bucks, the most points the Sixers have given up in a half this season. You really just had to laugh after the first 10 3PTs.
Despite a ridiculously accurate shooting performance by the Bucks, the Sixers had some positives to build on heading into halftime. For starters, Matisse Thybulle was a +3 in 10:31 while the team trailed 17 thanks in part to his ability to be disruptive on defense. More of that. Shake Milton and Mike Scott, who have struggled lately, shot the ball well. And the law of averages would argue the Bucks have to cool off, right?
Coming out of the locker room, the Sixers just didn’t have the energy you see out of a team who could make a comeback. The Bucks’ shooting seemed to be coming back down to earth, but the Sixers couldn’t find that 10-0 run they needed to bring a win within reach and more importantly, displayed some questionable effort. But then Giannis Antetokounmpo left the floor late in the 3rd (and Thybulle stepped on), and the Sixers strung together an 8-0 run with some terrific scoring from Tobias Harris. Unfortunately, when it was Joel’s turn for a breather, Giannis re-entered the game and the Bucks rebuilt their lead. And then some. After three quarters, the Bucks led by 21 points, 108-87.
Following the 3rd quarter, some news.
Status note: Joel Embiid headed to locker room Thursday.
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) April 23, 2021
Already without Ben Simmons and Furkan Korkmaz and now Embiid (as far as I know, he left because the game got out of reach and was likely fatigued from the back-to-back), the Sixers never were able to climb back for the win. The bench unit fought valiantly through garbage time, bringing the game within 7 points before the final buzzer. But ultimately, Milwaukee’s efficiency and some lackadaisical play from the Sixers gave the Bucks the win, 124-117.
- After the 1st quarter, Doc Rivers was interviewed by the broadcast crew. Asked about his evaluation of the Sixers’ defense, Rivers remarked that the team was too concerned with individual matchups and not enough with providing help defense.
- With about a minute left in the opening half, Joel Embiid put the clamps on Jrue Holiday. It was very impressive.
An incredible defensive showing from Joel Embiid. There aren’t any seven footers that can keep up with one of the best ball handlers in the NBA like this: pic.twitter.com/MAeF7Sik0r
— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) April 23, 2021
- The Sixers were building momentum toward the end of the 3rd quarter when Tobias Harris nailed two really tough jumpers. Overall, a solid Tobias game tonight. They’ve missed him.
- Tyrese Maxey had a beautiful and-one layup early in the 4th quarter.
Tyrese Maxey has preformed so well as of late. Really making a strong case to be in the playoff rotation. pic.twitter.com/fAnuoyP9XG
— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) April 23, 2021
- Shake Milton had a solid game offensively, scoring 20 points on 8 of 14 from the floor and adding 4 assists. Good to see him turning things around some.
- The Sixers did not play well defensively and took plays off in this one. They were also on a road back-to-back and missing Furkan Korkmaz and Ben Simmons. With Ben’s perimeter defense, maybe the Bucks don’t get as many early good looks and this game plays out differently. You’d have liked to see a better effort from the Sixers in a game that matters for the Eastern Conference standings. But they’ll get their shot to redeem themselves this Saturday.
When: 3:30 pm ET, April 24th, 2021
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic