Despite a dominant first half from the Embiid-less Sixers, Giannis and the Bucks ultimately pulled out the OT win in Philadelphia.
Despite being ahead by as much as 19 at one point, the Sixers were ultimately unable to stave off Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. The game dragged on into overtime thanks to some late-game heroics from the likes of Furkan Korkmaz. Still, when it was all said and done, the effects of back-to-back games in under 24 hours was just too much for Philadelphia to handle.
The Eastern Conference affair started off beautifully for Philly, as the Bucks simply couldn’t buy a bucket during the first two quarters. Milwaukee was held to 18 points in the first quarter, followed by 13 in the second quarter. The Sixers did an absolutely phenomenal job defensively early on, highlighted by Ben Simmons holding Giannis to just 4 points in the first half.
However, primarily due to Joel Embiid still being out and an overall sense of fatigue, the Bucks were able to storm back in the second half. Giannis, in particular, had a strong second half and overtime, finishing the night with 32 points and 15 rebounds.
On the Sixers’ side of things, they were unable to get their usual offensive production from some of their key starters. Tobias Harris finished with just 19 on 8-23 shooting, and Seth Curry had to leave the game early due to a lower-body injury. Simmons did finish with a triple-double (13 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds) but shot just 6-16 from the field as he was primarily guarded by the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Giannis.
Danny Green chipped in 18 points on 6-14 shooting from behind the arc, Dwight Howard logged 13 points and an impressive 15 rebounds. The duo of Korkmaz and Shake Milton combined for an additional 26 points off the bench.
Korkmaz, in particular, had a night worth remembering, as he hit a game-tying corner three in regulation to send things into overtime.
While a loss against the Bucks is definitely less than ideal regarding the overall Eastern Conference standings, there are some silent positives you can take away from such a loss. The Sixers were obviously without their best player.
They’ll likely make some improvements before the trade deadline, and the Bucks simply didn’t look all that impressive tonight. The Giannis-Middleton-Holiday trio is one that the Sixers should be able to matchup against rather favorably should the two teams meet in the postseason.
If anything, the Bucks needing an additional five minutes of game time to beat the Embiid-less and exhausted Sixers is a bit of a “red flag” when it comes to assessing Milwaukee’s overall talent.
Regardless, a loss is a loss. The night ended with Giannis taking a seat in the middle of the Wells Fargo Center after icing the game late in OT – an image that Philly fans likely won’t forget come the postseason.
The Sixers are back in action against the Kings on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM.