Sixers Redeem Themselves Against Giannis and the Bucks

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball over Chicago Bulls Center Nikola Vucevic (9) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

In a possible preview of the NBA playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers faced off against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers were without James Harden on the hardwood, but the team’s new superstar still made the trip with the team to support from the bench.

It’s noteworthy as it was suggested to Harden that he should stay home and continue to rest through the All-Star game. For Harden, though, it was more important to be with the team and look to build chemistry.

It’s a good thing, too, that Harden decided to travel with the team. Not only is it encouraging to hear the focus of the team is building chemistry, but Harden immediately took it as an opportunity to coach up his teammates, specifically Tyrese Maxey.

Harden took the time to call Maxey over to instruct him about how to attack the Bucks’ defense and inject him with a shot of confidence. Since his arrival, there has been a special bond between the superstar and his new protege. Sixers fans should be excited by this bond as there may be no better teacher for Maxey than James Harden. This was easily seen by Maxey’s reaction to Harden’s instruction.

Maxey and Harden weren’t the only highlights of the game, as there was an absolutely dominant effort put forth by Joel Embiid. Once again, Embiid provided the Sixers with another MVP-caliber outing putting up 42 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists in a statement win over the Bucks.

Embiid has proved time and time again that he is the undisputed favorite and unquestioned leader in the NBA’s MVP race. Over Giannis, over Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid has dominated this season as few others have. Embiid dominance, in fact, is one of the few reasons the Sixers were even in this game late.

Had it not been for his explosive effort, the Sixers would not have been able to provide NBA fans with one of the best games this season has seen. With just over 40 seconds left in the game, Joel Embiid hit two clutch free-throws to put the Sixers up 120-116. From there, it was an absolute boxing match as the Bucks fought tooth and nail to stay in the game. The physical style of play contributed to the playoff atmosphere this game featured.

In the end, the Sixers would prove victorious as Tyrese Maxey risked it all going up for a rebound against former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Maxey pulled down the board and was subsequently fouled by the Bucks star and sealed the game with two made free throws.

After a demoralizing loss to the Boston Celtics, this win was just was the doctor ordered for the Sixers heading into the All-Star break. The team will now head into the break as the third seed in the Eastern Conference (35-23).

Sixers fans will still be able to watch some of their favorites this weekend as Tyrese Maxey will be participating in both the Clorox Rising Stars Game and the Clorox Clutch Challenge. Of course, Joel Embiid will be in the NBA All-Star game leading the way for Kevin Durant’s team. Focus on fun and relaxation this weekend, Sixers fans and get ready as the next time the team takes the hardwood, they will most likely be joined by James Harden.