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Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia: 76ers Crush Giannis-less Bucks, 116 - 94

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For the 2nd straight night, the Bucks lose a winnable game due to a lackluster 4th quarter.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The deep fog of sadness continues to engulf folks who want to Fear the Deer as they watched the Milwaukee Bucks fell hard against the Philadelphia 76ers, 116-94.

Milwaukee’s woes were apparent from the jump as Philadelphia’s offense was able to get whatever they desired during that opening quarter. With a balanced attack featuring Robert Covington, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the 76ers put up 37 points on 65% from the field and 67% from beyond the arc. Despite the Bucks also being decent on the offensive end, as they put up 29 points on 50% shooting, they were unable to keep up as they entered the 2nd quarter down by eight.

Over the next two quarters, the Bucks were temporarily able to clamp down on the defensive end and start to make their way back in the game. During that span, the Bucks held Philly to shoot 39% from the field and 23% from beyond the arc. Although their offense wasn’t necessarily great as they shot just 43%, it was enough for the Bucks to cut that 76ers lead down to four as the entered the final frame down 84-80.

However, that optimism immediately vanished once the 4th quarter started as the Bucks just crumbled on both ends of the floor. From an offensive perspective, the team were flatter than Kyrie Irving’s view of Earth as they only put up 14 points on an abysmal 27% from the field. Meanwhile, Philadelphia put up 32 points on 67% from the field, which ultimately featured way too many easy drives to the rim. Milwaukee’s struggles pushed them to an antagonizing 116-94 loss to the 76ers.

Three Observations

Sterling Brown continues to be good

In the first start of his short NBA career, Sterling Brown played a pretty solid game of basketball as he put up 14 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal on 5-9 from the field and 4-7 from beyond the arc. Most of Brown’s offensive production came in the opening quarter as he just nailed a trifecta of perimeter jumpers to help give the team an early boost. Although he remained hidden during the later stages of the game, Brown still played as good of a game that you can expect from a rookie that was selected in the 2nd round. Brown might’ve had his fair share of defensive lapses where he was out of position and ran into some screens. However, this game was a solid example of how Brown may wind up as a huge steal for the Bucks.

Milwaukee’s perimeter defense was atrocious

At this point in the season, bashing the Bucks defense is as common as the Patriots finding a way to get into the AFC title game every year. Saturday night was a different case as the 76ers shot 40% from beyond the arc on 25 perimeter attempts. Philly’s perimeter efficiency was largely due to how solid ball movement and drive-and-kicks are kryptonite to this Bucks defense. When you combine that with the 76ers having some solid shooters, it just becomes a full blown disaster.

The Bucks just gave up in the 4th quarter

That statement might seem extremely obvious when you know that the 76ers had a 32-14 advantage over the Bucks during that closing quarter. However, the issues go beyond just a point differential as the whole team just seemed lackadaisical after that Marshall Plumlee slam. From a defensive perspective, the players didn’t seem all that willing to close out on shooters and there was barely any help defense when there were cuts to the rim. On the other end of the floor, there didn’t seem to be any willingness to drive to the rim to create some easy buckets.

In a game that seemed winnable through the first three quarters, seeing that lack of effort was just debilitating as a Bucks fan. Although this was just a single game in late January, it was another sign of what we’ve been experiencing this year.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • MARSHALL PLUMLEE IS A THING! In his first game as a Buck, the last Plumlee really impressed as he has 6 points and 6 rebounds in only nine minutes played. More important than those stats is how Plumlee showed himself to be a great screener which is something that this Bucks team has desperately needed. However, that benefit will be rare as Plumlee is under a two-way contract which means that he’ll only be able to spend limited days with the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Khris Middleton posted his first career triple-double on Saturday as he had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. While it sucks to have this accomplishment come in such an atrocious loss, Middleton had a great game and its only right to give him the props that he deserves.
  • There were way too many times in this game where the Bucks just allowed actual good offensive players to just have the space they need to shoot. I think the best example is how John Henson guarded Joel Embiid. On any possession where Embiid had the ball, Henson usually stood around a foot or two away from the 76ers big. Although its understandable due to how solid of a driver Embiid is, he’s also a damn good shooter which was extremely evident during that game.
  • After this loss against the 76ers, the Bucks are currently 15th in the NBA Draft order according to Tankathon. While there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, this is probably the worst position for the Bucks to be in as the Suns would possess this pick due to lottery protections that were specified during that Eric Bledsoe trade.