Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Bucks to 90-82 win over Sixers
The Philadelphia 76ers fell to the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 90-82 Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The loss drops the 76ers 28-52 on the season. Their final home game will be Monday night against the Indiana Pacers, and they’ll wrap the season up Wednesday in New York.
It was the 6th straight loss for Brett Brown’s team after having been ravaged by injuries of late. In addition to Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot), and Jerryd Bayless (wrist), the Sixers have also recently lost the services of starting small forward Robert Covington (knee), backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez (hamstring), and backup center Jahlil Okafor (knee) for the remainder of the season.
The Sixers were up for most of the first half, holding a 48-42 lead after 24 minutes of play. Rookie of the Year candidate Dario Saric led the way with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists at the half.
The Sixers were undone by a disastrous third quarter which saw the visiting Bucks outscore them 25-12 and take a commanding lead. The Sixers shot just 22.2% from the field, and just 1-10 from three-point range, in the decisive quarter.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 20 points (7-15 shooting, 6-11 from the line), 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Greg Monroe chipped in 17 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
The Sixers were able to get some quality looks against the Bucks aggressive use of weakside “I” defenders in their pick and roll defensive scheme, but weren’t able to convert those opportunities. The Sixers shot just 11-34 (32.4%) on uncontested field goal attempts for the game.
“The length, the switching length [makes Milwaukee tough],” head coach Brett Brown said after the game. “If you get stuck in mud and you’re not moving, or back-cutting, or front-cutting, or slashing the I’s, and you let the I’s stay stagnant, then you’re playing into athlete’s [strength]. Long athletes.
“If you said you were going to hold that team to 90 points you’d be thrilled,” Brown continued. “Offensively, we continued to not shoot like we’re going to have to shoot. We put up 31 three’s and made 8 of them. That’s not going to be good enough to get it done.”
Dario Saric led the Sixers with 14 points (6-12 shooting, 1-6 from three), 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Saric was limited to just 24 minutes and 6 seconds of playing time as the team looks to restrict his playing time to roughly 24 minutes per game as he deals with plantar fasciitis. Richaun Holmes chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his second straight double-double and 4th since becoming the regular starter in mid-March. T.J.McConnell (10 points, 10 assists) had a double-double as well for the Sixers.
With Milwaukee’s win, combined with Chicago’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Bucks clinched a playoff spot.
“Chicago, [the Bucks], we have Indiana coming in on Monday, these are all teams that are right on the cusp of the playoffs,” Sixers point guard T.J. McConnell said after the game. “They’re playing for their lives. You can definitely feel it.”
Sergio Rodriguez out for the year
Before the game the Sixers announced that backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez would be out for the rest of the year because of a left hamstring strain. Rodriguez last appeared in a March 26th loss to the Indiana Pacers, and finished the season with averages of 7.8 points and 5.1 assists in 68 appearances, averaging 22.3 minutes per game.
For Rodriguez it was his first year back in the NBA since the 2009-10 season. He spent the previous 6 years playing for Real Madrid in Spain.
“For me the biggest thing is, over the last 6 years I’ve been playing with the same players, the same coach,” Rodriguez said. “So adjusting to a different situation, it was not hard, but it wasn’t easy too. You need that time to get with everybody.”
Rodriguez is a free agent after this season, as he signed a 1 year deal last summer. He has expressed interest in returning to the Sixers.
“People ask me if I want to stay here? Of course,” Rodriguez said before the game. “When you see how the team is doing things, how they are pointing to the future, what kind of players that we have….
“It’s a good situation,” Rodriguez concluded.
Brett Brown refutes report that Ben Simmons is now 7′ tall
Before the game Sixers head coach Brett Brown was asked whether there was any validity to the report that Ben Simmons has grown 2 inches since the 76ers drafted him last June.
“No. He is not,” Brown responded when asked if he was now just under 7′ tall.
“Has he grown an inch?” Brown was then asked by a reporter.
“I don’t believe so,” Brown replied. “I wished he did, but he didn’t.”
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