A fifth straight win on the road for the Milwaukee Bucks couldn't have come any easier against one of the worst teams in the entire league. The Bucks sailed past the Philadelphia 76ers 97-77, improving their record to 19-18 on the season and 12-10 away from the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton both finished with 18 points each, while Milwaukee held the Sixers to 30.1 shooting from the field -- the lowest figure for an opponent since 2005. Five players for Milwaukee finished in double-figures, with two of them coming off the bench (12 from Jerryd Bayless, 15 from O.J. Mayo).
The Sixers couldn't make a shot from the opening tip, finishing just 2/25 from distance and 30% overall as the Bucks rolled to a 27-11 lead after one. Philadelphia had four players (Robert Covington, Henry Sims, Tony Wroten, Michael Carter-Williams) attempt at least seven shots in the first half with only one made basket. That contributed to a 28.3 percentage from the field, while JaKarr Sampson and Covington were the only two players to nail a triple for the Sixers, as they shot just 13 percent from that spot as a team.
Not to be overlooked was Nerlens Noel, who was the team's only bright spot. Noel scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and pulled down five rebounds after two quarters. He still finished the game with only 13 points, though.
On the other end, the Bucks were a bit of the opposite. Milwaukee received a solid 23 points off the bench on their way to a sharp 59.5 percentage from the field, and 57 from three. The only negative to take away from the first half for the Bucks was the fact that Milwaukee allowed Philly to pull down 10 offensive rebounds that led to 10 second chance points.
Much of the success from the first half continued in the second, with Milwaukee shooting 60 percent at the end of the third. The ball moved really well on the offensive end during the third, with the Bucks finishing with seven dimes in the quarter. Zaza Pachulia led the team in assists with 7, while the team finished with a grand total of 32 (a season-high) compared to just a sad 14 for the Sixers. Philadelphia never led in the entire game and the Bucks were up 31 at one point.
The Bucks return home tonight and will have tomorrow off before facing Minnesota on Friday night. It's the only break this week for Milwaukee, which is currently enduring a four game stretch in five nights ahead of their trip to London next week.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (3/9 fg, 7 pts, 3 rebs) sat out the third and fourth quarters after a frustrating first half, reportedly due to the Bucks' comfortable lead rather than injury. A pretty self-explanatory move from Jason Kidd with his team up big after halftime (the Bucks led 53-39), and Giannis didn't seem to mind. Say what you want about his age, but Giannis -- just like any player -- can still afford to be rested with a comfortable lead like that during a rough stretch. He started the game with a monster two-handed slam and a mid-range jump shot, but also missed three close-range attempts and finished just 3/9 from the field.
- The Sixers and Bucks each came into the game among the league leaders in both forcing turnovers defensively and coughing it up offensively, so a whopping 50 combined turnovers isn't quite as surprising as it might normally be. Sloppy passing and ball-handling triggered countless first half runouts for the Bucks, who racked up a 17-12 fast break advantage despite turning it over 26 times themselves. The primary culprits: Knight (5), Johnny O'Bryant (5), Zaza Pachulia (4) and John Henson (4) combined for 18.
- Philadelphia came into the game as one of the worst shooting teams in the league across the board and lived up to their billing. Their 30.1 percent shooting from the field was only their third lowest of the year, just squeaking by a 29.9 percent performance against the Dallas Mavericks on November 13.
- It was a strong overall game from Zaza, who finished with his fifth double-double of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists). Pachulia also led the Bucks in minutes.
- Three players for the Sixers made only one jump shot tonight (Covington, Carter-Williams, Sims). All of them took eight or more attempts.
- John Henson was the only player to block a shot for Milwaukee, and he ended up rejecting four of them. He's had a block in seven of his last nine games.