Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s new career-high of 52 points, the Bucks were unable to find the pot of gold at Fiserv Forum, and fell to the Philadelphia 76ers, 130-125.
Whether it was fans being in a good mood from coming in from the Old World Third St. Patrick’s Day bar specials or the fact that this was a possible playoff preview, Fiserv Forum was rocking to start off. Both teams would come out hot and running, with dunks galore. An offensive rebound advantage played a part in Philadelphia taking a 31-28 lead into the second quarter.
Philadelphia would continue their strong shooting throughout the second period, while the Bucks couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Their 19 misses in the first half tied a season high.
The Bucks would chip away and chisel the lead to just seven after the third period. There was a brief scare when Giannis Antetokounmpo went down and held his ankle, but the MVP would gingerly walk it off and return to action. However, despite his heroic performance and a new career-high of 52 points, the Bucks were unable to fully complete any comeback effort, and fell 130-125.
For Philadelphia, Joel Embiid led the efforts with a team-high 40 points. Jimmy Butler made his presence felt by dialing in a 27 point performance.
I’m not worried about losing this game.
Scrolling through Twitter after the game and early this morning, I’m seeing many people express concern that the Bucks were unable to snag a win yesterday. Here’s my logic, plain and simple. Is it frustrating? Yes. But is it something you should be mad at? No. Is it something you should be worried about? No. In fact, one could make the argument that this Sixers team is less daunting than previously anticipated. Think about it. The Bucks took FIFTY threes. They hit just 16 of them. If two more of them go in, Milwaukee wins. Philadelphia needed 34 misses from deep from the Bucks to get the victory. The seemingly inevitable playoff series with Philadelphia sure is going to be entertaining, but I wouldn’t chalk this loss up as something to be concerned about.
Nikola Mirotic was a major no show.
Shooters have an off night every now and then, and unfortunately for Nikola Mirotic, it has happened yet again. The sharpshooter can’t really find a groove in Milwaukee, and he was unable to get anything going yesterday. He’d register just one field goal from the floor (1-of-7 to be exact) and go a putrid 0-for-6 from deep. Hopefully, he starts picking it up with Malcolm Brogdon out for a number of weeks. This also goes towards Khris Middleton as well, who couldn’t get much action by going just 3-of-9 from deep. Nobody on the Bucks could get any real sort of pattern going yesterday, so hopefully the basketball Gods are more kind Tuesday vs. Los Angeles.
It was so nice seeing DJ Wilson earning real minutes.
I think it’s safe to say that this Bucks team needs DJ. It still is rather incredible to say stuff like that, considering the 180 he made during the offseason. However, his worth showed tremendously yesterday. Off the bench, he tallied 16 minutes played. In those 16 minutes, he went 5-of-8 from the floor, 3-of-6 from deep, totaling 13 points. Oh, and his defense wasn’t too shabby either. With Brogdon’s injury, I’m sure (at least I hope) we’ll see him make more appearances. Like many of you, I was a bit confused as to why Bud wasn’t throwing him out there more. His defensive prowess definitely energizes the Bucks, and it’s going to be greatly appreciated down the stretch.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- The Bucks have the best home record in the NBA, so it’s always weird to hear “Three Little Birds” play throughout the arena after a loss. Regardless, Sunday afternoon sure felt like a playoff atmosphere at Fiserv Forum — and I hope it is. That was a very fun and entertaining game. If you were at the game, well done. The energy was top-notch and made me even more excited for the playoffs.
- I want to talk about Joel Embiid. I love him. I saw some people get mad that he was talking trash to the fans. Are you serious? C’mon. That’s one of the many things that makes sports so great. In the Philadelphia locker room postgame, Embiid was talking to a trainer, who asked what the fans were saying. According to him, they told him “you f*cking suck.” Hey courtside fans, if you’re going to say something to an opposing player, I’m not sure telling them they suck after dropping 40-15-6 is the route to go. To sum up, I love Embiid and his antics.
- Philadelphia initially was getting out in transition, so it was nice to see the Bucks shore up that issue. They ended up having only 13 points in that category, so kudos to Bud for making the necessary adjustments.
- The cold shooting for Milwaukee began early and didn’t fade away. I’ll sum it up in a nutshell — that’s basketball. Live by the three and die by the three is an old basketball adage that can be used to describe many Wisconsin basketball teams, as well as this year’s Bucks team (and many other basketball teams throughout the history of the sport). Regardless, that’s exactly what happened yesterday. Say yikes and move on to the Lakers.
- I’ll end this with my T.J. McConnell conspiracy theory: