After a whirlwind of a trade deadline that saw multiple NBA players change teams, the Sixers had to find a way to settle down and focus for the evening. Amidst all the excitement, a matchup against the #1 seed Bucks on national television was looming. The Sixers were riding a three-game losing streak heading into the matchup and desperately needed to respond.
Spoiler, they did not respond. The team looked flat and lifeless, losing to the Bucks by a score of 112-101.
The Sixers actually managed to keep things relatively close in the first 24 minutes of play. Down just three points at half, the team had seen some solid production from both Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons early on. Harris ultimately finished the game with a team-high 25 points and Simmons posted a near triple-double (11 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists).
However, the main talking point during the halftime show was the absolute abysmal performance that Joel Embiid put on. He shot 1-10 in the first half, his worst start to a game in his NBA career. Embiid looked completely flustered at times, getting abused down low by the Lopez brothers while failing to effectively slow down Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Things got out of hand at the start of the third quarter. Giannis really got into his offensive groove while guys like Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews began raining down threes. The Bucks went on a 14-0 stretch and the game seemed out of reach from that point on.
Embiid did his best to play some “hero ball” down the stretch, launching up a ton of threes while playing more aggressive down low. However, it was just too little too late. For every shot Embiid made, Giannis and the Bucks had an answer.
Embiid finished the night with 19 points and 11 rebounds on 6-26 shooting.
Jojo Gets Put On Blast
As previously mentioned, the Sixers were riding a brutal three-game losing streak heading into this one. Because of that, the TV duo of Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were extremely critical of Joel Embiid before, during, and after the game.
They called out his leadership, his conditioning, and his overall desire to win. The criticism will only continue to get worse and worse as the Sixers keep falling in the standings.
Built To Stop Giannis?
During the offseason, many fans and reporters alike pointed to the fact that the duo of Al Horford and Joel Embiid were built to “shut down Giannis”. While not a perfect match on offense, their overall defensive prowess against the Bucks should have in theory outweighed any of that.
Giannis recorded 36 points, 20 rebounds, and 6 assists, all while shooting over 50%. The Sixers not only weren’t able to stop the reigning MVP, but they couldn’t even remotely slow him down. Horford and Embiid looked completely outmatched against Giannis and his athletic abilities.
Help Is *Kinda* On The Way
Unless you haven’t checked Twitter in the last 36 hours, you’d know that the Sixers acquired two wing-players with above-average shooting abilities right before the trade deadline. While nothing groundbreaking, they should at the very least help the team reduce some of their spacing issues.
Read more about the trades here: “Instant Analysis: Sixers trade for Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III”.
The Sixers head back home on Friday to take on the Memphis Grizzlies (7PM ET). Without over-exaggerating too much, this is pretty much a must-win game for the team. Morale is at an all-time low and the fans are pissed off. You just can’t lose this one in your own building.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports