The Milwaukee Bucks got their revenge for last Saturday’s loss in Philadelphia, toppling the Sixers 107-95 in the Bradley Center tonight. The Bucks fell behind early in the first quarter but managed to regain some ground and trail by only two entering the second. That flipped to a two point advantage for Milwaukee heading into half as Giannis poured in 16 points including 6-6 from the free throw line. Milwaukee pulled away in the third to forge an eight point advantage before salting it away in the end, although they kept their starters in their till near the bitter end.
Milwaukee needed this win, particularly with no Joel Embiid and Giannis returning in an inverse of the two teams last matchup when the Bucks’ star was absent. Not only did it keep their momentum rolling into another back-to-back against the Timberwolves and Knicks Thursday/Friday, but it came on a night when Eric Bledsoe missed most of tonight’s game. Not that Bledsoe’s contributions have been as significant lately, but a win without one of your better players is always welcome.
Giannis took full advantage of his first opportunity of the year against the Sixers, netting 31 points, 18 rebounds and six assists in the process. His performance on the defensive glass (15 total) made up for a night where few other Bucks contributed on that end, with Middleton as the next closest Buck at six.
Eric Bledsoe played only three minutes before leaving the game with could be an ankle injury, but there was no official word from the team during the contest.
Eric Bledsoe was listed as probable earlier today with left ankle soreness. As of right now he's still considered to be available but that left ankle could be playing a role in his absence. For now, he's on the bench.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) January 30, 2018
Tony Snell started the second half in his place and finished off with a tidy 11 points. Khris Middleton stepped up to notch 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for another across-the-board performance that supported Milwaukee’s lack of playmakers with Bledsoe’s absence. Malcolm Brogdon scored just four points with four rebounds and assists each in his 22-minute return from injury.
For Philadelphia, no Embiid meant they needed plenty of contributions across the board. Ben Simmons poured in 16 points, six rebounds and five assists, with a number of heady finishes at the rim to keep the Sixers close in the fourth. Unfortunately he didn’t get much assistance with Dario Saric as the next high man at 19 points and nine rebounds.
Stat that Stood Out
The 3-point shooting stood out most prominently tonight, particularly the gulf between Milwaukee’s respectable 39.3% (11-28) mark and Philadelphia’s horrid 7.7% shooting performance going just 2-26 from deep. They had several open looks that they botched, but even that doesn’t make up for what was a truly abysmal performance from all of Philly’s shooters tonight. What was a bit embarrassing was that the game was so close at half despite the Sixers being 0-15 from three to that point, but the Bucks forged a strong enough lead late to fend off Philly. Even more prominent is the fact Milwaukee got outscored by 22 in the paint but still won handily. I supposed Philly had to score somewhere.