WOW. What an impressive game. In a back-and-forth matchup at the Bradley Center, the Bucks came out victorious, getting a very well-needed victory at the hands of the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, 118-110.
Well, yeah. I’m not going to go into detail about that first quarter. Let’s just say it ended with Philadelphia holding a 43-31 lead (those 43 points tied the most points the Bucks allowed in a quarter this season, right next to the 43 Toronto put up).
A 30-10 run by Milwaukee would put a big dent in that lead, putting some life back into the crowd (that weren’t part of the Sixers fan group). However, a late run from Philadelphia would extend their lead back to double digits at 72-60.
A 27-3 run would propel the Bucks allllllll the way back in the third quarter. When the buzzer sounded, they found themselves holding a 93-86 lead. They’d end up holding that same lead when the final horn sounded, doing enough to keep the Sixers comeback efforts at bay and finally ending this horrendous skid.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the power in charge, generating a game-high 35 points on the evening. Eric Bledsoe was the only other Bucks scorer with 22+ points on the night, tallying 22 of his own.
Dario Saric was the leading scorer for Philadelphia with 25 points. Joel Embiid was held to 19 points and eight boards on the night. Ben Simmons finished an impressive 15 assists (including eight in the first eight minutes) with 12 points.
Basketball is a game of runs and last night exemplified that.
That has always been said about the game, but I’m not sure I saw it more epitomized than during last night’s game. A literal pattern evolved as the Bucks kept going down by double digits, including 20 points at times, and marched back each time doing so. Obviously, the fact that they’re down that much in the first place is frustrating. But you have to tip your cap at where credit’s due, and coming back from two 20+ point deficits definitely yields that. We’ve always seen this Bucks team crumble in past games, so the fact that they never gave up and kept showing a sign of resilience definitely warrants some recognition.
Man, how about that defense?
The Bucks forced the Sixers to commit a season-high 26 turnovers in last night’s matchup, generating 36 points off of those said turnovers. I asked Joe Prunty postgame how they were able to achieve that and what their gameplan was, and he attributed it largely to clogging up the passing lanes. Ever since Jason Kidd was released from his duties, the Bucks have done a tremendous job of not overcommitting to certain plays and passes out on the floor. Instead, by sitting back and playing with a more relaxed approach, they can utilize their length on opposing offenses. They definitely wreaked havoc on Philadelphia last night, and it was at a time they needed that performance the most.
Wow. Talk about a gutsy performance from Tyler Zeller.
When the Bucks needed a spark in the second half, Tyler Zeller was one of the people who answered the bell. The first half saw him put forth just four points, but he added six more in the second half. That was before he’d be injured going up for a dunk attempt and catching a bit of Joel Embiid, causing him to slam on the floor. And I mean slam. Zeller told us in the locker room that pretty much every part of his body hurt. I’m not going to get in the specifics of whether or not it was dirty but let’s just say it reminded me exactly of Andrew Bogut’s incident with Amar’e Stoudemire. Nonetheless, this applies now:
Tyler Zeller earned instant folk hero status on that sequence.— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) March 5, 2018
Just the fact that he stayed out to shoot the free throw almost brought a tear to my eye. I can’t imagine how much that act of dedication and toughness meant to all of his teammates.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- As I’m probably all of you are aware by now, the Sixers had a large representation of fans at last night’s game. They were loud and raucous throughout the game, giving the Clutch Crew a good run at their money. One of the many displeasures they voiced? Their continued disdain at Malcolm Brogdon beating out Dario Saric for the Rookie of the Year. Well Sixers fans, I have something to say myself:
Sixers fans are still ticked about Saric not winning ROY? Well I'm still ticked at how the 2001 ECF's were rigged— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 5, 2018
- To begin the second half, the Bucks picked up four fouls — on one possession. I would’ve never guessed that was possible. I was literally in my seat for a minute and Philly was already in the bonus.
- Going back to Tyler Zeller, his off-ball presence was always impeccable — especially his cutting. It always seemed as if he was making the perfect cut to receive a pass from the lanky hands of Antetokounmpo and was always in the right place at the right time. The Bucks were in desperate need from a strong game from a player at the center position, and thankfully Zeller stepped up on both ends of the floor last night.
- Who’s back of the week? Giannis’ jump shot. He was cooking with it last night, hitting jumper after jumper. We just have to hope that he can find that on a consistent basis because -- I know it’s cliche -- watch out if he does. Just the sheer amount of energy Antetokounmpo could save by not driving to the rack alone would make it worth it.
- How about that performance from Jason Terry? 40 years-old and contributing with a +29. In the first half, he kept hitting big shot after big shot. He’d eventually cool off, but every single point of his nine points proved some importance for Milwaukee. His minutes in Malcolm Brodgon’s absense have definitely helped keep the ship headed in the right direction, as there’s plenty of fuel left in the JET.
- And now, perhaps the most important part of this recap. I present to you all my TJ McConnell conspiracy. Here he is at Arizona:
Now, here he is with the Sixers:
Are we sure the Sixers didn’t bring another guy over from Europe and just give him the name TJ McConnell as an alias? Just a little connecting the dots...