A scorching first half for the Milwaukee Bucks looked to have them on track for another impressive road beatdown, but the Philadelphia 76ers fought back and made the Bucks dig deep to earn their third road win of the season and run their overall record to 4-2. Milwaukee shot almost 64% in the first half and held a 15-point lead midway through the third quarter before battling back a furious Sixers rally. Brandon Jennings was excellent, scoring 33 points on 12-21 shooting. Jennings also added 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Perhaps most impressive was his single turnover, a remarkable number considering the high-pressure defense he faced and the overall sloppiness of the game.
Milwaukee started the game with 8 consecutive made field goals and ran up an 8-point lead in the first quarter. The Bucks locked up the defensive boards and ignited their transition attack to perfection, and more than one player showed off crafty moves at the rim. The last two minutes of the first half turned into a showcase for Jennings, who assisted Monta Ellis on a dunk, then went on a personal 10-2 run.
But things changed halfway through the 3rd quarter when 76ers coach Doug Collins deployed a small-ball lineup that challenged Milwaukee's perimeter defense and unleashed a barrage of three pointers. Philly battled all the way back to enter the 4th-quarter down just one point, and Milwaukee didn't appear to have an answer.
Surprisingly, it would be the defense that saved the day. While Jennings continued to drive the offense (11 points in the final period), Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders played excellent interior defense while the Sixers' shooters cooled off. A late 5-point swing in favor of Milwaukee saw Sanders and Jennings erase consecutive Philadelphia possessions with blocked shots, while a Dunleavy three gave Milwaukee an 11-point lead with 2:45 remaining.
It was a formula that Bucks fans would be happy to see again and again: an electrifying scoring performance from Brandon Jennings combined with stifling defense from the Tubemen. Milwaukee still needs to cut down on the turnovers and get more consistency from the starting lineup, but the gritty resilience the team has shown on the road thus far speaks well to their mindset and preparation.
Milwaukee's next game is Wednesday when they host the Indiana Pacers. Philadelphia will welcome the Detroit Pistons to town that same night.